Garden parties and barbecues to be allowed next month, raising hopes people can see parents again

Signalling a potential change in the rules on Sunday, Mr Johnson suggested lockdown restrictions will be eased to allow greater social contact. He said: “We are making good progress, but that progress is conditional, provisional. We must keep reducing the incidence of this disease.”

The social distancing rules were relaxed slightly a fortnight ago to allow members of one household to meet a maximum of one person from a different household in a public place provided they stay two metres apart.

The Government’s roadmap out of lockdown suggested that “social bubbles” could be created, meaning Britson would be able to allocate another household to socialise with.

The roadmap says: “The intention of this change would be to allow those who are isolated some more social contact, and to reduce the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions, while continuing to limit the risk of chains of transmission.

“This could be based on the New Zealand model of household ‘bubbles’, where a single ‘bubble’ is the people you live with. As in New Zealand, the rationale behind keeping household groups small is to limit the number of social contacts people have and, in particular, to limit the risk of inter-household transmissions.”

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman previously confirmed that the possibility of easing restrictions outdoors was under consideration by ministers. He said there was mounting evidence showing “there is less likelihood of transmission of this disease outdoors than indoors”.

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