Further easing of coronavirus restrictions will go ahead as planned on 17 May, meaning people will be able to meet indoors for the first time in months.
The government said the UK has met all requirements necessary to continue to ease lockdown measures next week, gradually bringing more normality to everyday life.
The changes will mean that from 17 May, up to six people or two households will be able to meet indoors, paving the way for hospitality and leisure businesses to get back on their feet after a challenging start to the year.
People will also now be given a choice on whether to socially distance with close family and friends, but have been urged to remain cautious of the risk of transmission from physical touch.
Indoor entertainment will also resume, including cinemas, museums and children’s play areas, and theatres, concern halls, conference centres and sports stadiums can all re-open from the 17th, with larger events in these settings able to resume with capacity limits.
Speaking at a press conference this evening, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK was on track to be able to move forward as planned on 21 June with another easing of restrictions, and that more information would be given on the changes later this month.
Infection rates are at their lowest level since last September, according to the latest data, and deaths and hospitalisations are at their lowest level since last July.
In addition, the vaccine rollout has been hugely successful, with more than two-thirds of UK adults vaccinated, and 17 million people having received their second dose.