Up to six people will be allowed to meet outside “as long as they respect social distancing rules,” in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, he said.
“At the moment, as you know, people can meet in parks but not in private gardens — this was a cautious first step — but we know that there is no difference in the health risk,” he added.
However, people from different households should still not meet inside homes. From Monday, they will be permitted to meet outside, he said — “provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.”
To the relief of many British parents, schools will reopen to more children, starting with nurseries, pre-school, kindergarten and some grades in elementary schools.
“Closing schools has deprived children of their education and, as so often, it is the most disadvantaged pupils that risk being hardest hit,” Johnson said.
“On Monday, we will start to put this right in a safe way by reopening nurseries and other early-year settings and reception, year one and year six in primary schools. A fortnight later, on 15th of June, secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for years 10 and 12,” he added.
And outdoor markets “where social distancing is easier” and car show rooms can now open. The restrictions will loosen further as of June 15 when retail and nonessential shops can open their doors, as Britain “begins to re-start it’s economy,” Johnson noted.
The relaxation of lockdown rules comes after the death rate in the UK has fallen consistently. From a peak of 943 deaths on April 14, the UK announced 256 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday — a significant but diminishing toll.
In his speech, Johnson credited citizens for heeding social distancing guidelines when the pandemic was at its height in the UK, and emphasized the need for the virus to remain under control.
“I cannot and will not throw away all the gains we have made together and so the changes we are making are limited and cautious,” he said.