PEOPLE will be able to meet indoors and finally hug their loved ones from today, Monday, May 17, as part of the latest lifting of coronavirus restrictions.
The Government has confirmed Stage 3 of its Roadmap out of Lockdown will go ahead with groups of up to six people or two households allowed to socialise in each others’ homes for the first time this year.
The rule will also apply in indoor hospitality settings including cafes, pubs and restaurants - though customers will need to order, eat and drink while seated. Socialising outdoors will continue with people allowed to meet in groups of up to 30.
The easing of Covid-19 restrictions will allow the reopening of the accommodation sector including hotels, B&Bs and hostels.
And indoor group exercise and sports will be allowed to recommence. Meanwhile, the public toilets on Piel Island will open to cater for day trippers.
In Barrow, The Dock Museum and the popular coffee shop at The Forum will reopen while a new programme of exercise classes will begin at Life Leisure Barrow Park, in Greengate Street.
Councillor Ann Thomson, the leader of Barrow Borough Council, said: “This is a very significant and welcome point in the roadmap as it brings with it something so many people have been waiting for - the chance to spend time with our loved ones, family and friends indoors - either at home or in a pub, a restaurant or a cafe.
“We have many excellent hospitality and accommodation businesses across the borough and this particular easing of restrictions will be a real boost to them.
“Our message to residents is to please continue to shop local and support local wherever you can.
“Restrictions around social distancing and wearing a mask in public places remain in place though and it’s essential that we all continue to follow these rules so we can get back to normal as soon as it’s safe to do so.”
Stage 3 in the Government’s recovery roadmap was confirmed by the Prime Minister last week.
It was announced that school children will no longer be required to wear masks in the classroom.
The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions will also allow up to 30 to attend significant life events such as weddings and christenings with no limit on funerals. However, exact numbers will be determined by individual venues according to how many people can be accommodated within social distancing regulations.
Barrow’s Thorncliffe Cemetery and Crematorium, in Thorncliffe Road, can seat 45 people for cremations with social distancing in place. Masks must be worn inside with anyone attending outside asked to adhere to social distancing requirements. Up to 30 people can attend burials on site.
Cllr Thomson said: “We all want to see normality resume and we’re certainly making good progress towards this.
“We’re getting so close now but we’re not quite there yet. My thanks go to everyone for their efforts so far - whether that’s in helping to roll out the vaccination programme across the area, having your Covid vaccination or wearing a mask and washing your hands. Every action counts in the fight against this disease.
“Please continue to be vigilant so we can move onto Stage 4 at the earliest opportunity.”