The ultimate guide to May 17 lockdown easing in Norfolk and Suffolk

Indoor venues including pubs, cafes and restaurants are expected to be allowed to reopen from Monday, May 17.

Indoor venues including pubs, cafes and restaurants are expected to be allowed to reopen from Monday, May 17. - Credit: PA

The countdown is on towards the reopening of hospitality businesses and tourist attractions, with pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, hotels and indoor attractions across Norfolk preparing to fully reopen.

Following the successful reopening of hairdressers, pub gardens and non essential shops, Step 3 of the Government continuing roadmap out of lockdown will happen from Monday, May 17.

The main change is that indoor hospitality will be allowed, meaning pubs will be able to offer indoor dining and drinking again, which will be a huge relief to both landlords and customers who have endured chilly outdoor visits. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson

Prime minister Boris Johnson set out measures that are part of the four key steps that will bring the UK out of lockdown. - Credit: PA

What is Step 3 of the roadmap? 

Boris Johnson's roadmap out of lockdown will take effect from Monday, May 17.

Alongside indoor drinking and dining being allowed for pubs and restaurants, entertainment venues can open too, including cinemas and theatres. New rules will be in place for different sizes of venues.

Normal outdoor events can open for up to 4,000 people or 50pc of the venue capacity, whichever is smaller. 
Indoor events can open for up to 1,000 people or 50pc capacity, again whichever is lower.

For film fans Cinema City in Norwich have confirmed that they will open on May 17, as will Vue and Odeon. 

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Arc Cinema in Great Yarmouth will be reopening on May 17.

The Light cinema in Thetford is expected to open in May while Central Cinema in Fakenham will host screenings from May 17. 

Movie-goers can expect a bright new interior at Great Yarmouth's former Hollywood Cinema when it re-

Movie-goers will be able to return to Great Yarmouth's Arc Cinema. - Credit: Archant

Many of the other independent cinemas have not yet confirmed when they will reopen. Outdoor cinemas will also be permitted to open.

Theatres in Norfolk will be welcoming back audiences, with the Pavilion Theatre in Gorleston hosting the Summer

Showtime variety show from May 18, Sheringham Little Theatre staging shows and film screenings from May 22, and music performances returning to Diss Corn Hall.

Norfolk’s tourist industry will also be given a much needed boost as hotels and other types of accommodation can open to guests, previously only self-catering accommodation with no shared facilities could open.

When can pubs open indoors? 

Indoor areas of hospitality venues such as pubs, cafés and restaurants will reopen from Step 3

Hospitality businesses across Norfolk and Waveney will be able to open indoors from May 17, albeit with some restrictions still in place. 

Drinkers will be allowed back indoors in pubs.

Drinkers will be allowed back indoors in pubs. - Credit: PA

After eating and drinking al fresco since Step 2 of the lockdown easing on April 12, there will no longer be any need to check the weather forecast every time you head to the pub or restaurant from May 17.

Pubs can welcome back customers for a pint inside, rather than only offering outdoor service, and indoor dining will also resume across the hospitality sector.

Like outdoors, table service will still be required and most pubs but they will not have to serve a substantial meal with alcoholic drinks, nor will there be a curfew. However, customers will have to order, eat and drink while seated. 

Bowling House, Dereham Road, Norwich. Sam Leonard, Dan Knights and Kelly Claypole.Picture: ANTONY KE

The Bowling House in Norwich set to reopen on May 17. - Credit: Archant

What indoor attractions can open at Step 3? 

Indoor entertainment and visitor attractions will be allowed to reopen from Step 3, no earlier than May 17. According to Cabinet Office guidance, as well as cinemas and theatres this will include: 

  • Concert halls - Norwich Arts Centre has a series of already sold-out ‘homecoming’ gigs on the first week of reopening, while music returns to the UEA with a gig by Kodaline on May 29.
  • Amusement arcades and adult gaming centres - the Leisureland Arcade and Wellington Pier in Great Yarmouth are amongst those to say they’ll be open from May 17. 
  • Bingo halls - Winners Bingo in Thetford and Wisbech, the Great Yarmouth Palace and Mecca in Norwich have confirmed they will reopen on May 17. 
  • Casinos 
  • Bowling alleys - Strikes in King’s Lynn and Dereham, Wellington Bowl in Great Yarmouth and Superbowl and Bowling House in Norwich will all open on May 17, with Hollywood Bowl expected to all welcome back customers. 
  • Snooker and pool halls - Merlin Sports Bast in Great Yarmouth is hoping to open on May 17, as is Rileys in Norwich.
Sheringham museum director Lisa Little, who says £60,000 of grants have guaranteed the future of the

Sheringham Museum director Lisa Little.  - Credit: Archant

Indoor reopenings at venues already allowed to open outdoor 

  • Museums and galleries - Norfolk museums including Norwich Castle Museum, Sheringham Museum and Time and Tide in Great Yarmouth will reopen May 17 as will the East Anglia Transport Museum near Lowestoft.
  • Adventure playgrounds and activities 
  • Skating rinks 
  • Games and recreation venues, including laser quest, escape rooms, paintballing and recreational driving facilities - Quasar Norwich is set to reopen on May 19 as are Clued-Up Escape Rooms on Prince of Wales Road.
  • Trampolining parks - HIgh Altitude in Norwich will bounce back into life on May 17 with Gravity Norwich trampoline park reopening on May 20.
  • Model villages 
  • Water and aqua parks 
  • Theme parks and film studios - Pleasurewood Hills near Lowestoft opened on April 17, indoor areas at theme parks will now be able to open too. 
  • Zoos, safari parks, aquariums and other animal attractions - indoor areas at Banham Zoo and Africa Alive will be able to open, pre-booking will still be essential.
  • Botanical gardens, greenhouses and biomes 
  • Sculpture parks 
  • Stately or historic homes, castles, or other heritage sites - Holkham Hall will be reopening its indoor spaces from May 17. Blickling Hall is also expected to reopen on May 17 following repairs to its historic ceiling. Sandringham House is taking bookings for visitors from May 29.
What's in your bag? Helen Bailey, general manager at Blickling Hall.

Blickling Hall will be able to welcome back visitors indoors. - Credit: Archant

What else can open from May 17 when lockdown eases? 

Conference centres and exhibition halls will also be able to open, and private dining and banqueting events, subject to the capacity limits set out by the government. 

Remaining holiday accommodation, including hotels will be able to reopen, as will hostels and B&Bs.

Saunas and steam rooms will be allowed to open once again. Indoor adult team sports and group exercise classes at gyms will return. 

Other events and activities that are able to commence from Step 3 (no earlier than May 17) include: 

  • Business functions such as conferences, exhibitions, trade shows, charity auctions, and private dining events such as charity or gala dinners and awards ceremonies, and corporate hospitality 
  • Air shows, historical/battle reenactments, live animal performances such as falconry displays at events, and non-elite and professional sporting events. 

How many people can attend events?

Though indoor events will be permitted to restart, attendances will be restricted. At Step 3 it will be subject to: 1,000 people or 50pc of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower, for indoor events

For outdoor events 4,000 people or 50pc of a site or venue’s capacity, whichever is lower.

For outdoor events taking place in venues with seated capacity of over 16,000, event organisers may apply a 25pc capacity cap, up to a maximum of 10,000 seated people.

Sadly this comes too late for Norwich City supporters to see their promoted team crowned champions. Instead they will not be back in Carrow Road until the 2021/2022 season, when at least they’ll see Premier League football.

A sight to behold - City fans back at Carrow Road. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Socially distanced fans last September - but City fans will now not be back at Carrow Road until next season. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

What children’s activities can open from May 17?

Families will be delighted to know indoor children's activities, such as soft play areas, should be open again from May 17.

Places that can open include play areas, including soft play centres and inflatable parks.

Farmer Fred’s Play Barn in Heacham is among those that will be welcoming back delighted youngsters from May 19.

How many households can mix from May 17? 

As part of Step 3, and no earlier than May 17, the government will look to continue easing limits on seeing friends and family wherever possible. 

This means that most legal restrictions on meeting others outdoors will be lifted – although gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal for now. 

Indoors, the 'Rule of 6' or two households will apply but the government is keeping this under review. 

Does social distancing still apply from May 17?

Hugs with family and friends and indoor socialising will be allowed from Monday, May 17. 

But people are being urged to be careful and keep hugging to a minimum, whilst keeping a facemask on if possible. 

Before Step 4 begins, the government will also complete a full review of social distancing and other long-term measures that have been put in place to cut coronavirus transmission, such as the wearing of face coverings.


As part of the Step 3 rules, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in Covid-19 secure venue. - Credit: PA

How many people can attend my wedding from May 17? 

As part of the Step 3 rules, weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted for up to 30 people in Covid-19 secure venues that are allowed to open. This is up from the current number of 15 people.  

The limit will also apply to other types of significant life events, including bar mitzvahs and Christenings. 
This will be welcome news for popular wedding venues Dunston Hall, Holkham and Titchwell Manor.

Government guidance says receptions can also go ahead with up to 30 people in a Covid-19 secure indoor venue or outdoors including private gardens. Further details on receptions at this step will be updated by the government.  

At Step 4, the government hopes to remove all limits on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions. This will be subject to the results of the Scientific Events Research programme. 

How many can attend a funeral? 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government said that the legal limit of 30 mourners will be removed as part of the next stage of lockdown easing, expected on May 17.

Instead the capacity will be determined by how many people venues, such as places of worship or funeral homes, can safely accommodate while maintaining social distancing, the department added.

This includes both indoor and outdoor venues and all organisers must continue to be Covid-secure and follow social distancing rules, it said.

While venue capacities will vary, many will allow "significantly" more than 30 people to attend, the MHCLG said.

The party was compared by a neighbour to nightclub Fabric. Picture: Danny Seaton

NIghtclubs will not reopen until Step 4 of the government roadmap. - Credit: Archant

When is Step 4?

The fourth step of the government's lockdown easing roadmap is scheduled for no earlier than Monday, June 21. 

In Step 4 – five weeks after Step 3 – the government hopes to reopen remaining venues, such as nightclubs - including Mantra, Mojo and Fetch in Norwich..

It also hopes to lift the restrictions on social contact and large events that apply in Step 3, enabling gigs, festivals and theatre performances to attract crowds above the Step 3 capacity restrictions. 

This is subject to the outcome of the Events Research Programme, and a review of social distancing measures. 
Officials will also look to relax Covid-secure requirements on businesses, subject to the outcome of the reviews.