Britons are gearing up for their first taste of post-lockdown freedom on Monday when they can finally meet loved ones in gardens and parks as the ‘rule of six’ returns outdoors.
In preparation for seeing family and friends for the first time in more than three months, etiquette expert William Hanson has revealed his dos and don’ts for gatherings during an appearance on This Morning today.
William said conversation should be kept positive and light, without any moaning or complaints, as well as no comments about physical appearance, unless it’s a compliment.
He also suggested not staying in someone’s garden for more than two hours, using different beverage jugs for each household and placing your hands on your heart in greeting, as ‘a subtle reminder that we’re not shaking hands’.
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In preparation for seeing family and friends for the first time in more than three months, etiquette expert William Hanson (pictured) has revealed his dos and don’ts for gatherings during an appearance on This Morning today
Speaking to presenters Dermot O’Leary and Alison Hammond, the etiquette expert suggested communication is key to ensuring your gathering doesn’t result in an unforeseen problems such as too many guests.
He said hosts should expect visitors to want to bring their partners, explaining: ‘If we were talking 50 years ago, etiquette would say no ring, no bring, that was the rule, but let’s be honest life is very different now, so the etiquette adapted.
‘So I would be prepared that if you’ve got a friend and they’ve got a new partner, or even a partner, whether they’re new or old, they’re probably going to come too.
‘If in doubt, just ask. “Are you bringing them?” Communication is key so you’re not caught unexpectedly.’
He then suggested a couple of contactless greetings, admitting: ‘It is awkward, I’m aware of that. We’ve spent years extending our hand or putting arms out to greet people.
William (appearing via video call on This Morning) said conversation should be kept positive and light, without any moaning or complaints, as well as no comments about physical appearance, unless it’s a compliment
‘I like to do something with my hands, a sort of focus for my hands, so hand on heart, namaste, anything like that, because that gives the other person a subtle reminder that we’re not going to shake hands.’
The expert then explained how beverages should be provided in different jugs for each household, to help guests feel at ease.
‘Even if you’re just providing tea, water or juice, or whatever it happens to be, try and make it as COVID secure as possible, different jugs for each household… so you’re only going to touch that jug,’ he said.
William also said conversation should be kept positive and light, without any moaning or complaints, as well as no comments about physical appearance, unless it’s a compliment.
The expert (pictured) also suggested not staying in someone’s garden for more than two hours, using different beverage jugs for each household and placing your hands on your heart in greeting, as ‘a subtle reminder that we’re not shaking hands’
He said: ‘No comments about physical appearance, unless it’s a compliment, “you look great”, for example. All they need to say is “thank you”… they don’t need to give a reflex compliment. Pay them a compliment later on if needs be.
‘Keep it positive, light, bright, don’t moan or complain, we all know we’ve been through a tough year. This is the first time you’ve probably seen people for quite some time so keep it upbeat and positive.
‘If you’re really stuck [for conversation], use your surroundings, use the garden as inspiration.’
Speaking about how long the gatherings should last, William suggested: ‘It is tiring being nice to people and making conversation with them, and I think we’re going to get tired pretty quickly so I would say two hours tops. I would say quality not quantity.’
How will lockdown be eased in the UK until end of June?
Step One Part Two: March 29
From March 29, outdoor gatherings of up to six people or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed. These gatherings will be allowed to happen in private gardens.
Outdoor sports like tennis and basketball will be allowed to reopen and people will also be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
It is at this point that the Government’s stay at home guidance will end, to be replaced by ministers encouraging people to ‘stay local’.
However, the Government is expected not to define what constitutes local, instead choosing to rely on people using their common sense to decide on journeys.
People will still be told to work from home wherever possible while international travel will still be banned unless it is for essential purposes.
Step Two: April 12
Non-essential retail will be allowed to reopen as well as personal care premises like hairdressers, barbers and nail salons.
Public buildings like libraries, museums and art galleries will be allowed to welcome back customers.
Meanwhile, hospitality venues and outdoor attractions like theme parks will be given the green light to reopen in some form.
However, there will still be rules on household mixing: Essentially any activity which involves being indoors will be restricted to members of the same household.
Gyms and swimming pools will also reopen from April 12 but only on the basis that people go on their own or with their own household.
Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen but at this point they will only be able to have customers outdoors.
The Government will not be bringing back the old requirement for people to order a substantial meal with alcohol while the old 10pm curfew will be ditched.
All customers at hospitality venues will also have to be seated when they order food or drink, with ordering at the bar prohibited.
Campsites and holiday lets where indoor facilities are not shared with other households can also reopen but trips must be restricted a single household.
Funerals will be allowed to continue with up to 30 people, while the rules on wedding receptions will be eased to allow the number of guests to increase from six to 15.
Step Three: May 17
The two household and rule of six requirements for outdoor gatherings will be ditched but gatherings of more than 30 people in places like parks will still be banned.
Crucially, mixing indoors will be allowed again. The rule of six or a larger group from up to two households will be allowed to meet.
However, this will be kept under review by ministers to see if rules could be relaxed still further.
This is also the point at which pubs and restaurants and other hospitality venues will be able to open indoors, with the rule of six and two household limit in place. But groups meeting outdoors at pubs will be allowed to be bigger.
Entertainment venues like cinemas and children’s play areas will be able to reopen, as will hotels and B&Bs. Indoor adult sports groups and exercise classes can also reopen.
Changes will also be made to sporting and performance events in indoor venues with a capacity of 1,000 people or half full