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BBQs are safe if you socially distance – but kids can’t play together on slides or paddling pools, new rules say

KIDS won’t be able to enjoy paddling pools or climbing frames while families enjoy their first lockdown barbecues under new government rules.

But unlike garden parties north of the border in Scotland, guests will be able to bring their own food under the easing of lockdown measures.

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On Friday, the government revealed more guidelines on how to safely meet people in groups of six from next Monday - which also includes details on how to play some sports in wider groups.

The government is urging people to use “common sense” and make sure they regularly wash their hands when meeting and to stay two metres apart.
But kids being brought to see their grandparents for the first time in months will not be able to use shared garden toys like climbing frames, slides or swings.

And paddling pools will not be allowed if children from other households are also using them.

However Downing Street admitted that coppers will have no powers to invade a family barbecue even if more than six people attend under coronavirus regulations.

Nanny-state cops will not be allowed to fly drones over people's back gardens, but officers will still have the power to fine people if they catch them flouting rules and can enter homes if they suspect other crimes are taking place.

On Friday, NHS England director Professor Stephen Powis warned people not to get complacent when meeting - and reminded people to be socially distant.

Speaking at Downing Street he said: “If you’re in a garden having a barbecue, whether you're in a park, the fundamental rules around safety remain - which is the two metre rule is to stay distant from each other at all times, to maintain hand hygiene to ensure your hands are clean, washing your hands.”


And he said that the two metre rule was not likely to change any time soon.

He added: "I don’t think the scientific evidence has changed … if new evidence becomes available of course that must be taken into account but I don't think the science has fundamentally changed.”

No10 also warned people not to spend the warm weekend out with big groups - as the regulations don’t kick in until next week.

They said the announcements had been made to give people a “period of notice.”

The spokesman added: “We are enormously grateful for the efforts of the public in sticking by the rules and getting the infection rate down and that does mean that from June 1 we will be able to allow people to have some more social contact but in a safe and socially distant way.”

 People will be able to have a barbecue together safely from Monday
People will be able to have a barbecue together safely from MondayCredit: Getty - Contributor

Across the border in Scotland people can meet in groups of eight - two more than in England - but Downing Street said they felt “six was a sensible number to pick".

But in England guests will be able to bring their own food unlike Scotland.

Boffs at the University of Reading's School of Psychology advised people to bring their own cutlery, plates and condiments to reduce the risk of virus transmission through touching the same surfaces, and having only one person using the tongs if having a BBQ.

Professor Patricia Riddell also suggested serving food on plates from a distance rather than everyone approaching the grill, setting up seats in advance for people to sit two metres apart, and sitting alongside each other rather than face to face.


Prof Riddell also said families should set up one way systems to the grill to avoid spreading the virus.

She said: "You could have routes of travel so people go round one way to the barbecue.

"I think you could make it quite good fun, almost like an obstacle course or game.

"Instead of forcing rigid and hard rules, make it imaginative, creative and fun.

"There's going to be greater pressure on us to do more, especially from our kids, and it's about how you do it in a way that's fun but also takes into consideration that we are still at risk."

On Thursday Professor Chris Whitty, chief medical officer for England, said it was "absolutely critical" to maintain strong hygiene standards at gatherings.

People can go to the loo if visiting a pal or family member's garden - but are urged to wipe down all surfaces, and flush with the lid down, as well as obviously washing hands.

Tennis players can now also play doubles, as long as your partner is a member of your household, while golf buddies can now play a four-ball, as long as all players adhere to the new rules and stay socially distant.

But Downing Street admitted the new rules will require far more good will from the public as they admit it will be harder to police than previous lockdown measures.

The PM’s spokesman said: “I am sure that members of the public will show common sense and will want to abide by the rules.
“Police will have the power to enforce the regulations using proportionality and the pragmatic approach they have taken so far.”


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