What can open in Hackney when lockdown rules ease on May 17?

A selection of plates available at Barge East. Picture: Supplied

Seasonal dishes from, Hackney Wick's Barge East - a cozy floating eatery on the River Lea. - Credit: Archant

Hackney residents will be wondering what can reopen at Step 3 of the government's roadmap on May 17, following the reopening of non-essential shops, pubs and hairdressers recently.

A further easing of Covid-19 lockdown rules is planned for Monday, May 17, 2021. The main change is indoor hospitality will reopen, there will no longer be the need to worry about the weather ruining your dinner plans. 

The government will announce one week in advance of this date whether restrictions will be relaxed as planned, so expect confirmation on May 10.

Pub-goers at the George and Vulture pub.

Hackney people at The George and Vulture pub on the April 12 reopening. - Credit: Xindi Wei

What is Step 3 of the roadmap?

As long as the data continues its downward trend, Step 3 of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown is scheduled to take effect from May 17.

From that date, pubs and hospitality should be able to serve customers inside, cinemas and theatres will be allowed to reopen such as The Rio in Dalston, Hoxton Hall and The Castle Cinema, along with other indoor attractions. 

The Rio Cinema in Dalston. 

The Rio Cinema in Dalston. - Credit: The Rio Cinema.


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Hotels and holiday accommodation can also open their doors again.

At this step, up to 30 people will be able to attend weddings, receptions, funerals, and commemorative events including wakes.

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The four steps set out in the national roadmap are designed to apply to all regions of England at the same time.

Following the move to Step 3, further settings will be permitted to open.

Unless a specific exemption exists, these must only be attended/used in line with the latest wider social contact limits – in a group of six people or two households indoors, or in a group of no more than 30 people outdoors.

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 May 17, 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.

While Hackney has many great pubs and restaurants with beer gardens and outside areas, such as Strongroom bar on Curtain Road or the Crooked Billet in Upper Clapton, many others do not have outdoor spaces and will now be able to reopen their doors. 

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.

The Adam & Eve in Homerton.

Customers will no longer be confined to the borough's beautiful beer gardens like The Adam & Eve's in Homerton. - Credit: Miranda Shutler

Can I go and see a gig? 

According to the Government’s roadmap, indoor, socially distanced gigs with limited capacities can return from May 17, while some outdoor venues have already start hosting events with music from April 12.

Hackney music venues have been hit hard by the pandemic, with performance spaces like the Waiting Room critically threatened by the risk of closure and many others have survived through crowdfunders.

Independent venues like Paper Dress Vintage support independent music. Artists and bands starting ou

A gig, remember those? At Paper Dress Vintage in Mare Street, Hackney. - Credit: Zig Criscuolo

What indoor attractions can open at Step 3?

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will be allowed to reopen in Hackney from Step 3, no earlier than May 17.

According to Cabinet Office guidance on www.gov.uk, this will include:

  • cinemas (outdoor cinemas will also be permitted to open)
  • theatres (outdoor theatres will also be permitted to open)
  • concert halls
  • amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
  • bingo halls
  • casinos
  • bowling alleys
  • snooker and pool halls

Indoor as well as outdoor attractions will also reopen at the following:

  • museums and galleries
  • 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.
The Castle Cinema screen. 

The Castle Cinema screen. - Credit: The Castle Cinema

What else can open from May 17 when lockdown eases?

Conference centres and exhibition halls will also be able to open, and private dining and banqueting events, subject to the capacity limits set out by the government.

Remaining holiday accommodation including hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen, as can saunas and steam rooms, which are currently closed.

Indoor adult team sports and group exercise classes at gyms will return.

Other events and activities that are able to commence from Step 3 (no earlier than May 17) include:

  • Business functions such as conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality
  • Air shows, historical/battle re-enactments, live animal performances such as falconry displays at events, and non-elite and professional sporting events.

How many people can attend events?

Indoor events and remaining outdoor events, such as elite sports, business events, cinemas and live performance events, will be permitted from Step 3.

Attendances will be restricted though.

Events recommencing at Step 3 will be subject to the following capacity caps:

  • 1,000 people or 50 per cent of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, for indoor events
  • 4,000 people or 50 per cent of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower for outdoor events.

For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25 per cent capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.

What children’s activities can open from May 17

Families will be delighted to know indoor children's activities, such as soft play areas, should be open again from May 17.

Places that can open include play areas, including soft play centres and inflatable parks.

How many households can mix from May 17?

As part of Step 3, no earlier than May 17, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible.

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal for now.

Indoors, the 'Rule of 6' or two households will apply but the government is keeping this under review.

Does social distancing still apply from May 17?

A Pucker mask from it's Staycation collection called The Bournemouth Beach. Picture: Pucker

A Pucker mask from it's Staycation collection called The Bournemouth Beach. Picture: Pucker - Credit: Pucker

The government is due to update advice on social contact between friends and family, including hugging.

But until this point, people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble.

Before Step 4 begins, the government will also complete a full review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut coronavirus transmission, such as the wearing of face coverings.

How many people can attend my wedding from May 17?

As part of the Step 3 rules, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in COVID-19 secure venues that are allowed to open. This is up from the current number of 15 people. 

This limit will also apply to other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Government guidance says receptions can also go ahead with up to 30 people in a COVID-19 secure indoor venue, or outdoors. This includes private gardens.

Further details on receptions at this step will be updated by the government. 

At Step 4, the government hopes to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions.

This will be subject to the results of the Scientific Events Research programme.

How many can attend a funeral?

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, whether indoors or outdoors.

This number does not include anyone working at the funeral.

When is Step 4?

The fourth step of the government's lockdown easing roadmap is scheduled for no earlier than Monday, June 21.

In Step 4 – five weeks after Step 3 – the government hopes to reopen remaining venues, such as nightclubs.

Moving acts into pubs and bars, queer club performers have developed their on stage skills.

LGBT+ Venue The Glory on Kingsland Road. - Credit: The Glory

It also hopes to lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3, enabling gigs, festivals and theatre performances to attract crowds above the Step 3 capacity restrictions.

This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures.

Officials will also look to relax COVID-secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.

All Points East is returning to Victoria Park from May 22-31 with two weekends of live music and a c

All Points East may look a little different this year but it is set to kick off on May 24 with London Grammar and Jorja Smith - Credit: Archant

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