Public reminded to stay safe and keep following the rules as restrictions change on 17 May
Following the Prime Minister's confirmation of the move to Step 3 of the Government's roadmap on 17 May, and the reopening of more businesses, Wiltshire Council is asking people to keep following the current rules until they change on 17 May.
Currently people can only socialise indoors with people they live with or who are in their support bubble. It is also possible to meet outside in groups of up to six people or two households. People are also asked to work from home if they can and minimise travel.
However, the Government has confirmed that from Monday 17 May, restrictions will be further eased. This means that some limits on seeing friends and family will be lifted, so that indoors the rule of 6 or two households will now be permitted. Restrictions on meeting outdoors will also be lifted, although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.
In addition to this, most remaining businesses can reopen, including indoor hospitality businesses such as pubs and restaurants; indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas; and hotels and B&Bs.
Kate Blackburn, Wiltshire's Director of Public Health, said: "It's great news that we're moving ahead with Step 3 of the Government's roadmap, and it's particularly pleasing that many more of Wiltshire's businesses can reopen and we can see more people.
"However, it is vital that we all carry on following the current Government guidance for another week as this will help to keep the rate of COVID-19 transmission in Wiltshire down and save lives. The last year, and particularly the past few months, have been a very challenging time for everyone, but please keep following the rules until the restrictions are eased further on 17 May.
"If we all play our part, we're much more likely to receive better news in June, when we hope we can move to Step 4 on the Government's roadmap."
Indoor hospitality must have new COVID-secure measures in place from 17 May, and businesses can only cater for groups of six people or two households. Venues will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks; nor will there be a curfew, but customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated.
Funeral venues will be allowed to decide how many mourners they can accommodate, adhering to social distancing rules. Up to 30 people will be allowed to attend wakes.
A maximum of 30 people will be able to attend weddings and receptions. This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events including bar mitzvahs and christenings.
Kate Blackburn added: "I would like to thank everyone across the county for their ongoing resilience and patience through these difficult times. The way people have pulled together to look out for each other and protect the most vulnerable is truly remarkable.
"The vaccination programme is progressing well and thousands of people in Wiltshire have already received their first dose of the vaccine, with many also receiving their second dose. Across the county uptake has been incredibly high with the vast majority of people accepting the offer to be vaccinated. It is incredibly important that everyone accepts when they are contacted and makes an appointment to get vaccinated.
"Council staff are currently working from home and will continue to do so, and we would urge local businesses to adopt the same approach where possible. We would also ask that residents continue to only make essential face-to-face visits to our hubs if they have safeguarding issues that cannot be dealt with over the phone."
Full details of the changes to restrictions from 17 May can be found on the Government website at
COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 (Summary) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)