Lockdown easing on May 17 will mean so much to so many of us
- Credit: Wisbech Tweet
Make no mistake - the Fens can't wait until May 17 and the easing of lockdown.
Shops, pubs and hairdressers are already welcoming back customers – but from that day you can enjoy breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner inside your favourite café, pub or restaurant.
Here is what can reopen at Step 3 of the government roadmap.
Further easing of Covid-19 lockdown rules is planned for Monday May 17, and the main change is that indoor hospitality will be allowed again.
And the government will announce next Monday (May 10) whether relaxing the restrictions as outlined on the roadmap will go-ahead.
Quite a few businesses and events have plans for this next stage.
Loafers Coffee Shop, for example, on the Market Place in Wisbech is among the spots hoping to re-open on May 17.
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Some pubs, including The Locomotive in Lynn Road, Wisbech, opened last month and have already been serving customers outdoors.
It is now recruiting experienced bar staff ready for when indoor hospitality is permitted.
Other pubs have chosen to wait until Step 3 of the roadmap was given the green light before opening their doors.
The Red Lion in Wisbech, for example, is counting down the days to May 17 when it will open and serving beer for the first time this year.
It will close on Monday and Tuesday evenings to start, and will be offering 10 per cent off food bills for the rest of the month.
For film fans, The Luxe Cinema in Wisbech says it will reopen on May 17.
Godzilla vs Kong, Mortal Kombat and Nomadland are among the movies listed on its website for the first week.
The Light Cinema in Wisbech says it will reopen later in the month on May 28.
Meanwhile, further afield, the Showcase de Lux Peterborough hasn’t yet announced whether it will reopen this month.
Cineworld in Ely posted on its Facebook page in October that it would be closed until further notice – and there hasn’t been an update since.
Yet Cineworld Huntingdon is currently recruiting staff but has not yet released any reopening information.
Quite a few events are also set to go ahead ranging from village dog shows to larger organised events.
There will be restrictions and rules in place – but there will certainly be more going on this summer compared to last year.
The Peterborough United ground plans to host The Greatest Showman Outdoor Sing-A-Long event on May 28.
The film will begin at approximately 9:30pm, an hour after sunset. Tickets are priced between £9.50 and £48.
Burghley Game and Country Fair is set to take place over the same Bank Holiday weekend on May 29-31.
Between 10am and 6pm, there will be two arenas of country sports and pursuits, dog events, sports as well as various demonstrations and activities.
Tickets are £15 for adults (£14 over 65s) and £4 for children aged between four and 15 inclusive.
Closer to home, a Fun Dog Show is due to take place on Sunday, May 30 at the Car Boot Field Emneth.
The event will also raise much-needed funds for charities and other causes which have been hit hard during the pandemic.
On June 19, a Grand Reopening of Wisbech Castle is being organised by Wisbech Town Council as part of the events and activities planned for Fascinating Fens 2021.
The following month, on July 15, Wisbech Words is hosting an open mic night at the castle.
Fenland writers, poets, performers and rap artists will be welcome to perform.
Many event organisers warn venue dates and showtimes are subject to coronavirus restrictions and any tier changes that may be introduced.
What is Step 3 of the roadmap?
Provided the number of coronavirus cases continues its downward trend, Step 3 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of coronavirus lockdown is scheduled to take effect from May 17.
From that date, pubs and restaurants should be able to serve customers inside, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen along with other indoor attractions, and hotels and holiday accommodation can welcome guests again.
Groups indoors, for example in pubs and restaurants, will still be restricted to six people or two households and table service will be required.
Meanwhile, up to 30 people will be able to gather outdoors.
Organised events at large venues can go ahead for up to 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the venue’s capacity, whichever is smaller.
Indoor events can open for up to 1,000 people or again at 50 per cent capacity, whichever option is lower.
Also at Step 3 of the roadmap, up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events including wakes.
The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) said yesterday (May 3) that the legal limit of 30 mourners will now be removed as part of the next stage of lockdown easing.
Instead, the capacity will be determined by how many people venues, such as places of worship or funeral homes, can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing.
This includes both indoor and outdoor venues and all organisers must continue to be Covid-secure and follow social distancing rules.
While venue capacities will vary, many will allow "significantly" more than 30 people to attend, the MHCLG said.
There are four steps to the national roadmap and these are designed to apply to all regions of England at the same time.
If the easing of restrictions is successful at this stage, the rules can be relaxed further over in June.
When can pubs open indoors?
Indoor areas of hospitality venues such as pubs, cafés and restaurants will reopen from Step 3.
Hospitality businesses across the country will be able to open up indoors from Step 3, May 17 at the earliest, albeit with some restrictions still in place.
After eating and drinking al fresco since Step 2 of lockdown easing on April 12, there will be no need to check the weather forecast every time you head to the pub or restaurant from May 17.
Pubs can welcome back customers for a pint inside, rather than outdoor service only, while indoor dining will also resume across the hospitality sector.
As outdoors, table service will be still be required. So check in advance, and don't forget to pre-book your table.
As in Step 2, venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a curfew.
However, customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated.
What indoor attractions can open at Step 3?
Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will be allowed to reopen from Step 3, no earlier than May 17.
According to Cabinet Office guidance on www.gov.uk, this will include:
- Theatres (including outdoor theatres) - The Angles in Wisbech hasn’t yet announced when it plans to reopen. The New Theatre in Peterborough has comedians Frank Skinner and John Bishop listed as appearing in September. Brothers AJ and Curtis Pritchard, both dancers, plan to bring their variety to show to the theatre that month.
- Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
- Bingo halls
- Bowling alleys
- Snooker and pool halls.
Indoor as well as outdoor attractions will also reopen at the following:
- Museums and galleries - For example, Chatteris Museum is set to reopen from May 22 on Saturdays only. Wisbech and Fenland Museum has not yet announced whether it will reopen, but throughout lockdown it has organised online events and workshops.
- Adventure playgrounds and activities
- Skating rinks
- Games and recreation venues, including laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing and recreational driving facilities
- Play areas, including soft play centres and inflatable parks
- Model villages
- Trampolining parks
- Water and aqua parks
- Theme parks and film studios
- Zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions
- Botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes
- Sculpture parks
- Landmarks including observation wheels or viewing platforms
- Stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites.