What are the new rules around sunbathing and picnics?

Almost two months after England was placed under a strict lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, prime minister Boris Johnson has announced plans to begin slightly loosening some of these restrictions.

While most non-essential businesses will remain closed, many people will view relaxed guidelines around exercisesunbathing and park gatherings as good news – especially as temperatures reached record highs in parts of the country over the bank holiday weekend.

Under the new guidance, the once-a-day exercise rule has been lifted, and sunbathing will be allowed in parks – as long as social distancing measures are adhered to.

From visits to parks to driving to beauty spots for unlimited exercise, this is what you need to know about what is allowed under the new lockdown guidelines.

Can I sunbathe or have a picnic at the park?

Under the new guidelines, people who are alone or with other members of their household will be allowed to sunbathe in parks as long as social distancing guidelines are followed.

Mr Johnson said: “You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

“You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.”

Previously, government restrictions barred individuals from sunbathing in parks – even if they were alone – with police having the ability to hand out fines to those violating the guidelines on essential movement.

The prime minister did not reference whether or not the new guidelines would allow for people to have picnics in their local parks.

Can I exercise more than once a day?

As confirmed by the prime minister, England has removed the once-a-day exercise restriction, meaning citizens are allowed to spend more time outdoors cycling, walking, or running.

Under the new guidelines, people will be allowed to leave the house repeatedly – in contrast to restrictions that saw citizens only allowed to leave for one form of exercise a day; shopping for essentials; travelling to and from work and for medical needs.

Travel by car to the countryside for exercise will also be allowed.

Mr Johnson said: “From this Wednesday, we want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.”

Does this mean pub gardens will be open?

While many of the relaxed guidelines focus on outdoor spaces, due to the belief that transmission of the virus is less likely, pub beer gardens and coffee shops with outdoor seating will not reopen as of now, as it is believed it would be difficult for them to enforce social distancing.

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