06:17 GMT14 April 2021
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    England is taking its first tentative step out of the third lockdown to be imposed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. From Monday, 29 March, the “stay at home” order is lifted to allow groups of six people or as two households to meet outdoors but people are being urged to “stay local”.

    Groups of up to six people - but from no more than two households - can meet up and congregate outdoors from today after a three-month lockdown is eased by Boris Johnson’s government.

    The move coincides with an improvement in the weather this week and there are fears it could lead to parks and other open spaces becoming congested, making it hard to abide by social distancing guidelines.

    ​The #RuleOfSix is trending on Twitter, with people in England taking a light-hearted view of the changes.

    ​Thousands of people filled beaches and beauty spots on Saturday after the authorities in Cardiff lifted restrictions which been in place since December.

    In England non-essential businesses remain closed and pubs, restaurants, gyms, cinemas, theatres, museums and sports stadiums will remain closed until 12 April and only then will they be allowed to open outdoors seating.

    ​There have been more than 126,000 COVID-19 deaths in Britain and although deaths have dropped sharply since Christmas and the UK recorded only 3,872 new cases on Sunday - the lowest daily figure in six months - there is a fear of another wave this spring.

    Boris Johnson said: "Despite today's easements, everyone must continue to stick to the rules, remember ‘hands, face, space,’ and come forward for a vaccine when called."

    ​More than 30 million people in Britain have received a first vaccine dose.


    Boris Johnson, lockdown, pandemic, COVID-19
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