17th May – Stage 3 of the Roadmap Out of Lockdown

The third stage of England’s roadmap out of lockdown is scheduled for Monday 17th May, when the next set of restrictions will be eased. Within these easings of restrictions, pubs and restaurants will be able to open indoors, entertainment venues like cinemas will be able to open, and up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, wakes and funerals.

In this guide we provide an overview of what these new rules mean and what you can expect from 17th May.

All information correct at time of writing (12th May).

[Information correct at time of publishing. For the latest updates on local Covid-19 measures and announcements, view our coronavirus news articles.]

Monday 17th May – The Next Stage

To summarise the changes coming into effect from Monday 17th May:

  • Most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted, but gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
  • Indoors, the rule of 6 or a larger group of up to 2 households will apply.
  • Indoor hospitality and entertainment venues – including pubs, restaurants, cinemas, museums, galleries, theatres, children’s play areas, hotels and indoor exercise classes – will be allowed to open.
  • Large indoor performances and sporting events with a maximum capacity of 1,000 people will be allowed.
  • Outdoor large performances and sporting events will be able to have a maximum capacity of 4,000 people or must only be half full (whichever is lower). Bigger sports stadiums will be allowed 10,000 people or can only be a quarter full (whichever is lower).
  • Weddings, wedding receptions, wakes, funerals and christenings will be allowed with up to 30 people.
  • Remaining university students to return to campus, with new home testing kits to be provided to increase testing uptake and help limit virus transmission.

Guidance on meeting family and friends will be updated. The public can make informed, personal decisions on close contact, such as hugging, with their friends and family. Close contact continues to carry a risk of catching or spreading COVID-19, and people must consider the risk to themselves and to others. COVID-secure rules remain for the workplace and businesses, such as in shops and hospitality.

Meeting Socially

Limits on seeing friends and family will be eased, allowing people to decide on the appropriate level of risk for their circumstances. Outside, groups of 30 will be able to meet up legally, and inside, the rule of 6 or 2 households will apply. This means you can spend time together in a house with no more than 6 people from different households. Or if it is just 2 households meeting up, more than 6 people can be together.

Indoor Hospitality

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be able to serve people indoors. And unlike when restrictions were eased last year after the second lockdown, customers won’t be required to order a ‘substantial meal’ with alcoholic drinks nor will there be a curfew. Customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated, however.

The Royal Oak, which has been closed since November 2020, will be re-opening its doors on May 17th. Other pubs and restaurants in Nailsea which have been serving outdoors since April, such as The Old Farmhouse, and Ring O Bells, as well as those that have not yet opened, like The Moorend Spout, are all expected to welcome customers inside from May 17th too. Booking may be required for some venues – please visit each venue’s website or social media platforms to find out how to get a table.


Organised indoor adult sport, such as badminton, will be allowed to resume from 17th May. Indoor exercise classes will also be able to resume.

Scotch Horn and At The Gym have both announced that their group exercise classes will return from 17th May.

Weddings, Funerals & Other Events

A maximum of 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, wakes, funerals, christenings and other types of significant life events.

Hotels & Holidays 

Hotels, hostels and B&Bs will be able to reopen from 17th May for overnight stays within England. 6 people from multiple households, or any number from 2 households, will be able to go on a domestic holiday/staycation.

International travel can begin to reopen, allowing people to go on foreign holidays to ‘green’ list countries. Strict border control measures will remain in place, including pre-departure tests and a PCR test on or before day two of arrival back in the UK.

Indoor Entertainment

Indoor entertainment venues like children’s play areas will be able to reopen from 17th May.

Sporting Events & Performances

Indoor performances and sporting events will be able to take place with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full (whichever is lower).

Outdoor venues will be able to open with a capacity of 4,000 people or half full (whichever is lower). For the larger outdoor seated venues where crowds can be spread out, 10,000 people or a quarter of the maximum capacity (whichever is lower) will be able to attend.

Stage 4 – 21st June

The fourth and final stage of the roadmap out of lockdown will be introduced no earlier than 21st June. The government hopes to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact, meaning nightclubs and other premises that have not yet been able to reopen will be able to open their doors. Restrictions on large events and performances will also be eased.