This is when you could stay overnight with family in England - and the current socialising rules

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:02 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2021, 4:03 pm

The Prime Minister’s roadmap announcement included dates for the reopening of shops and hospitality and changes to measures on travel and socialising.

Fortunately, people will be able to have greater contact with their friends and family from early March as restrictions on meeting each other outdoors could be eased then.

Yet Boris Johnson’s dates are dependent on the continued success of the vaccinations programme and infection rates in the country.

So, when will you be able to stay over at someone’s house again?

Here is everything you need to know.

What are the current rules for socialising?

Right now, nobody in England can meet anyone from outside their household or their support bubble indoors.

Outdoors, the rules are slightly different, with people able to meet with one other person in a public place for exercise.

That includes parks, beaches, countryside and forests, botanical gardens and heritage sites, and public playgrounds.

However, you are not permitted to meet up with anyone else just to socialise under the strict stay at home order.

Guidance on the government’s website reads: “You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so.

“This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home, caravan or boat, if that is not your primary residence.

“This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.”

When will overnight stays be allowed?

Restrictions will only be eased in England if the four “tests” are met.

These focus on the progress of the vaccination rollout, the efficacy of the vaccines, infection rates and the existence of new variants of the virus.

Based on the tests, the first easing around socialising will happen from 8 March.

On this date - the same in which schools will reopen for all pupils - two people will be allowed to socialise outdoors.

That means friends will be able to meet outside for a coffee or bite to eat.

Then from 29 March, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or two households will be permitted, including in private gardens.

However, at this stage overnight stays are not permitted.

People could be able to stay overnight away from home during the second stage of the roadmap, from 12 April if the tests are met.

Yet this will only be allowed in self-contained accommodation with members of the same household.

The earliest date that people will be allowed to stay over with friends or family is 17 May, when indoor mixing could be permitted for up to six people or two households.

That is the same time that cinemas, indoor restaurants and hotels could reopen, as well as large crowds allowed at sports venues and performances.

A few weeks after that, on 21 June, the government aims to end all legal limits on social contact so people can hug their loved ones again.