The UK government has confirmed that those in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, and parts of Yorkshire can still meet people from other households in beer gardens.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Twitter last night (30 July) that lockdown restrictions had been tightened following flare ups in the north of England.
But while the announcement left many people in the region confused, guidelines have now been published which state pub gardens and public outdoor spaces are fine for groups from just two households or up to six people from multiple households.
It now states: "You can continue to meet in public outdoor spaces including outdoor seating or beer gardens in groups of no more than 6 people, unless the group includes only people from 2 households. You cannot meet people you do not live with in a private garden.
"At all times, you should socially distance from people you do not live with - unless they are in your support bubble."
However, it is illegal from today to 'meet people you do not live with within a private garden' or home in the affected regions.
This comes after the government announced a return to stricter lockdown measures in some areas.
Speaking about the decision, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: "The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing.
"So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.
"We take this action with a heavy heart, but we can see increasing rates of Covid across Europe and are determined to do whatever is necessary to keep people safe."
He added: "We're constantly vigilant and we've been looking at the data and unfortunately we've seen across parts of Northern England an increase in the number of cases of coronavirus.
"So today I held a meeting of the Government's Gold Committee and working with local leaders including for instance Andy Burnham the mayor of Greater Manchester, we've decided that we need to action across Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire.
"So from midnight tonight (Friday) we are banning households meeting up indoors."
The places affected by the changes are:
- Greater Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
Indoor household visits are also banned in Leicester, which re-entered lockdown on 29 June. However, pubs, restaurants, cafes and hairdressers will be allowed to reopen from Monday (3 August).
Reacting to the news, Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he agreed with the decision taken by the government and he hoped it would improve the situation in the region.
He said: "Over recent days, there has been a marked change in the picture across Greater Manchester with regard to the spread of Covid-19.
"I ask all Greater Manchester residents - young and old alike - to protect each other by observing these new requirements.
"They will be reviewed weekly; meaning the more we stick to them, the quicker they will be removed."Featured Image Credit: PA