Home Coronavirus: News and Advice How to meet friends and family safely in Step 3

How to meet friends and family safely in Step 3

by Guy Murphy

From 17 May, you can meet up to six friends and family, or one other household, indoors. It is also up to you on whether you wish to keep your distance, with close contact (such as hugging) permitted.

However, it is really important that everyone remembers that the virus is still in circulation. With some parts of the UK experiencing small increases in the number of cases, we’re urging Knowsley residents to remain cautious and take steps to make any meetings COVID secure.

COVID-19 spreads mainly among people who are in close contact (within 2 metres). The further away you can keep from other people, and the less time you spend in close contact with them, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19 and pass it on to others. Close contact, including hugging, increases the risk of spreading COVID-19.

There are actions you can take to reduce the chance of spreading COVID-19 and help keep you and your loved ones safe. This includes:

  • Meet outside – When people are outside and physically distanced from each other, the particles containing the virus that causes COVID-19 are blown away which makes it less likely that they will be breathed in by another person.
  • If you do meet inside, make sure the space is well ventilated. Open windows and doors, or take other action to let in plenty of fresh air. Bringing fresh air into a room and removing older stale air that may contain virus particles reduces the chance of spreading COVID-19. The more fresh air that is brought inside, the quicker any airborne virus will be removed from the room.
  • Take the vaccine when you are offered it and encourage others to as well. Vaccines reduce (but do not eliminate) the chances of catching COVID-19 and passing it on, and of serious illness. Consider whether you and your loved ones are vaccinated and whether there has been time for the vaccine to take effect before being in close contact.
  • Remember that some people are more vulnerable than others to being seriously ill from COVID-19. The risks from COVID-19 and therefore of close contact are greater for some people than others, for example because they are clinically extremely vulnerable, pregnant or older. For example, you might choose not to have close contact with an elderly relative at this point, particularly if one or both of you are not vaccinated.
  • Minimise how many people you’re in close contact with, and for how long. The more people you are in close contact with – particularly if they are from different households – the higher the chances of you catching or passing on COVID-19. Longer periods of close contact increase the risk of transmission but remember that even brief contact can spread COVID-19 and there is no such thing as a fully safe period of close contact.
  • Get tested twice a week, even if you don’t have symptoms. Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus do not show symptoms, so can spread the virus to others without knowing. Testing regularly will help to reduce risk, particularly before meeting people from outside your household. You can order free home tests for you and your loved ones that give results in 30 minutes. Find out more about testing.
  • Wash hands and clean surfaces regularly to remove virus particles.

You should always make space for other people to keep their distance if they want to.

Remember that you are not permitted to interact with anyone outside of your group of six (or two households) indoors, or outside of your group of 30 outdoors, unless an exemption applies.

In some settings, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family. This is important to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 to other people such as staff and other members of the public. You should always follow guidance associated with the setting you are in (for example in education, health, or care settings).

COVID-secure rules, including social distancing requirements, continue to apply in the workplace, and in businesses and public venues. This guidance does not affect a site owner’s responsibility to calculate the number of people that can be accommodated with social distancing in place.