What’s a cautious hug? It depends on where in Britain you are


Photo by Branimir Balogović on Unsplash


“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear”
– George Orwell

From today, May 17, Covid-19 rules across Britain will be a patchwork — relaxed, marginally relaxed, marginally uptight and fairly uptight.

Pubs and restaurants in England and Wales will welcome customers indoors for the first time in ages.

People in England will be allowed to give friends and family cautious hugs and that too indoors.

Wales won’t, not for the moment.

Up to six people – or two households – can meet indoors in England and Scotland. But not in Wales. Northern Ireland will review its measures on May 20, with a view to lifting more restrictions by next Monday, May 24.

Britain is taking deliberate steps out of lockdown but Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called for “a heavy dose of caution”. This throws up a number of questions. How do you leave lockdown cautiously?

More to the point, as Griff, this year’s BRITs’ Rising Star, told BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour on May 17, how do you give someone a cautious hug?

Just with one arm or something?


A good guide to the patchwork of rules across Britain, courtesy The Guardian:


  • Groups of up to six people or two households can meet indoors and overnight visits are allowed.
  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors.
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings etc.
  • Care home residents can have up to five named visitors (two at a time), provided visitors test negative.


  • Six people from six households can meet outside
  • Holiday accommodation can fully reopen
  • Entertainment venues, such as cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor-play areas and theatres can begin welcoming back customers
  • Indoor visitor attractions, including museums and galleries, can reopen
  • Up to 30 people can attend indoor wedding receptions etc
  • International travel can resume, in line with the traffic light system used by England and Scotland– but the government continues to advise against non-essential foreign travel.


  • Up to six people from no more than three households can meet indoors in a private home or hospitality venue. Children under 12 are not included in the number making up a group, but they are included in the number of households.
  • Overnight visits are allowed
  • Up to eight people from eight households can meet outdoors
  • Hospitality venues can serve alcohol indoors until 10.30pm
  • Entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bingo halls may reopen
  • Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart
  • Up to 50 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • International travel to be allowed, in line with rules in England