UK lockdown: March 29 rules loophole means you CAN go inside your pal or family’s home as restrictions ease

BRITS can now visit family and friends in private gardens as lockdown eases today – and they can go inside to use the loo, too.

The Prime Minister has ditched the 'stay at home' rule, although holidays are banned, and anyone caught trying to leave the country for a non-essential reason faces a fine.

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Millions of Brits were ordered to stay at home under the third national lockdown, working from their own house and unable to meet up with friends, in an attempt to stop the spread of Covid.

But Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown has now started to unfold, with the next phase beginning today, March 29.

The Rule of Six has returned to let Brits meet up with six mates outside while outdoor sports are back on.

Under the rules, people can also meet as two households in public spaces or gardens as the Government tries to make it easier for friends and family to get together over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend.

And Brits can even go inside other homes – but only briefly to use the toilet, get a drink or walk through to the garden. The same rule will apply to toilets when pub gardens reopen in April.

There are still rules in place – people must socially distance from each other, and meeting indoors is still banned.

Outdoor parent groups are also allowed to meet, with a limit of up to 15 parents. Children have not been included in the number restrictions.

And while the 'stay at home' rule will also end today, March 29, the Government advice is that people should 'stay local' – although there's no guidelines to indicate exactly what that means.

Earlier this year, two women were fined £200 each for driving five miles to go for a walk in the park.

But the change now means that people will be told simply to "minimise travel".

That means people can visit family members a couple of hours drive away or visit a park in another part of the country and not be fined.

Overnight trips are still banned – although a loophole means families who own second homes can legally stay there from today.

Self-catered holiday accommodation in England cannot open until April 12, and then only for one household, and rules prohibiting travel abroad are being reviewed by a new task force.

Outdoor sports facilities including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and swimming pools can all open from today, although the Rule of Six still applies.

However, there's a loophole for this too – if the sport has been formally organised by a qualified instructor, club, company or charity, the gatherings limits don't apply.

Places of worship have remained open during the latest lockdown, but restrictions remain in place for Easter services.

Limits include that people "must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble".

Rules around funerals, which are allowed with 30 attendees and wakes with six attendees, also remain the same.

And there's good news for people hoping to get married. Weddings will no longer be limited to exceptional circumstances. This means anyone wishing to tie the knot can do so with up to six attendees.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland's lockdown rules differ due to their devolved governments, but they are also lifting lockdown restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon already allowed groups of four from two households to meet outdoors earlier this month, and will ditch the "Stay Home" message for Scots from April 2.

Meanwhile Wales lifted the 'stay home' order on March 13, but told people to stay local. Four people from two households can also meet outside.

Northern Ireland is set to reintroduce the Rule of Six outdoors from April 1, with the "Stay Home" order lifted on April 12.

In even better news, the country will bask in a mini heatwave this week as temperatures soar to around 19c.

Forecaster Simon Partridge said: "It's been a long and bleak winter in lockdown, with a mixture of all sorts of weather.

"But as the country takes its next step on the roadmap we're in for some long-overdue sunshine.

"People will be able to meet up with other households in back gardens and, dare I say it, enjoy a barbecue."

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