COVID update: How COVID-19 rules will change from 17 May

Would you like to view this email in a web page? Click here

In today's update:

COVID update from Cumbria's Director of Public Health

colin cox

The latest data for Cumbria up to week ending 7 May shows just 25 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded, down 40% on the week before.

Colin Cox, Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, said:

“Covid infections in Cumbria remain very low, which is fantastic. But there is cause for some concern given what we are now seeing in other parts of the region with the spread of the new ‘Indian variant’. There are still a lot of unknowns about the ‘Indian variant’ in terms of how it spreads and how effective our vaccines are, so it really is important that we don’t let it get a foothold in the county.”

“I’m asking people to enjoy the new things we can do from Monday, but take simple and sensible precautions to keep yourself, and the people you meet, safe.”

The weekly COVID-19 situation report can be found at

How COVID-19 rules will change from 17 May

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change from 17 May. However, many restrictions remain in place and it's important we remain careful and take this next step safely.

You should still get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.


Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).

Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s)

Events and entertainment

Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children’s indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.

People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.


Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.

Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.


You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.

All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).

There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.

Funerals, weddings and other commemorative events

Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, BUT numbers will continue to be governed by the venue and will be based on the number of people who can be accommodated safely while applying social distancing.

Many churches and crematoriums are fairly small buildings so people will need to be mindful that these restrictions will still apply.

Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.

Care home visits

The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.

Higher Education

All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.

Let's take this next step safely

Despite some restrictions easing from Monday 17, we must continue to take steps to make meeting friends and family safer and help protect yourself, your loved ones and your community.

  • Meet outside. It is safer as fresh air blows the COVID-19 particles away. If you do meet inside, open the windows where possible to let in fresh air.

  • Take the vaccine when you are offered it. Vaccines significantly reduce the chances of catching COVID-19 and passing it on and of severe 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. The risks from COVID-19 and therefore of close contact are greater for some people. 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 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.
  • Take a symptom-free COVID-19 lateral flow test twice a week as a precaution, and if you do test positive book a NHS (PCR) test to confirm it. If you do have symptoms, however mild, self-isolate and book an NHS (PCR) test immediately.
  • Continue to wash your hands regularly.
  • Make space for other people to maintain social distance if they want to.
  • And you must still self-isolate if you have symptoms of COVID-19 (however mild) or test positive, and do not meet up with others during this time. This is essential to stop any transmission. If people don’t self-isolate, we will continue to see outbreaks in settings and in communities and won’t be able to contain the virus. 

Free COVID-19 tests for hospitality

To help protect their staff and customers from COVID-19, Cumbria County Council is offering hospitality businesses FREE lateral flow tests as they welcome the public indoors again. 

Regular Lateral Flow Testing of those without symptoms is a critical part of Cumbria’s strategy for preventing the spread of Covid-19. As lockdown restrictions ease and visitor numbers to the county increase again, hospitality businesses have a key role to play.

There are two ways your business can access free Covid-19 testing from Cumbria County Council:

  • Request help setting up an in-workplace testing programme with free tests, delivery, training, PPE and ongoing support. 
  • Request free tests for employees to test themselves at home.

We can also supply you with tests to give to your customers.

To find out more and order your tests, email 

Get tested and help stop the spread of COVID-19

Regular testing is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19 as lockdown restrictions ease - whether you have symptoms or not. 

About 1 in 3 people with COVID-19 do not have symptoms but can still infect others.

That's why getting tested regularly is the only way to know if you have the virus. If people test positive and self-isolate, it helps stop the virus spreading

Symptom-free testing

If you do not have symptoms, there are several ways you can get tested. Anyone can either order tests online to be sent to their home, collect tests from a local pharmacy or test site or visit a community testing site

It's recommended you take a test twice a week if you can.

Testing if you have symptoms

If you have at least one of these 3 coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • you’ve lost your sense of smell or taste or it’s changed

You should book a PCR test.

If you have symptoms, you and everyone you live with must immediately self-isolate. Do not leave home until you get your test results, except to post a test kit or for a PCR test appointment.

People aged 38 and over invited to book their vaccine