When can we hug again in England?

10 May 2021, 10:30

When can you hug again in England
When can you hug again in England. Picture: Getty Images

When are we allowed to hug again in England this year? All the May 17 rules explained...

Boris Johnson is announcing the Third Stage of the lockdown easing in England this week.

It is expected the Prime Minister’s speech will confirm people will be able to meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors, while six people or two households can meet indoors.

Pubs and restaurants will also be allowed to open their indoor seating, while gyms can start up exercise classes again.

And with another step closer to normality, it may also be announced that families and friends can hug again.

But what are the rules on hugging and when can we hug our family and friends again?

Hugs could be allowed on May 17
Hugs could be allowed on May 17. Picture: Getty Images

When can we hug again in England?

Boris Johnson is expected to say the data supports a further relaxation of measures, which could mean it will be OK to hug friends and family on 17 May.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told the BBC: "As we move into Stage Three of our roadmap, it will be the case that we will see people capable of meeting indoors.

Read More: All the lockdown changes Boris Johnson is set to announce for England today - including hugs and sleepovers

“And without prejudice to a broader review of social distancing, it is also the case that friendly contact - intimate contact - between friends and family is something we want to see restored.”

Asked if that meant hugging from May 17, he replied: “Yes”.

Health Minister Nadine Dorries also said ‘the data is looking extremely positive’ when she was asked if the government guidance would allow hugging.

She said: "We've all missed the hugs, we've all missed the close and intimate contact we've had with friends and family and so I'm hopeful that we will be hugging and kissing again indoors.”

Prof Cath Noakes, a member of the Sage committee who advises the government, has since warned that ‘hugs should be selective, short, and avoid face-to-face contact’.

The expert also warned we shouldn’t "perpetuate an awful lot of additional close contact that could spread the virus".

She added: "The reality is that when you hug someone you are very close to them and we know the virus is in people's breath and you are very close to that breath at that moment."

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