Hospitality has been given the go ahead to reopen indoors as planned next Monday (17 May), the prime minister has confirmed.

Boris Johnson said the rule of six, with up to two households, would apply indoors, allowing bars and restaurant to reopen inside for the first time since December 2020.

However he warned people to continue to practice social distancing with those who are not friends and family in pubs and restaurants.

Johnson said in a press conference that the four tests for the easing of lockdown in England had been met, with deaths and hospitalisation at their lowest since July.

As a result, the alert level has been reduced, and the country moves into step 3.

Groups of 30 will be able to meet outside, while cinemas, hotels, theatres, concert halls and business conference centres will be allowed to reopen.

People will be able to travel within Britain and stay overnight.

Ahead of the next stage due on 21 June, Johnson said he would update with more on certification and social distancing in the coming weeks.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a much welcome and vitally important next step, as we continue along the roadmap to remove restrictions.

“There is a huge sense of relief within the sector, in particular for the six in ten venues that were not able to reopen over recent weeks due to a lack of outdoor space. This also gives businesses far more certainty with trading no longer beholden to the weather.

“However, with significant restrictions still in place, this is a psychological opening rather than an economic one, with the profitability of the sector still a huge issue. This is why sticking to the roadmap and the removal of all restrictions by 21 June is absolutely crucial, enabling venues to finally operate in viable conditions, after fourteen months of severely disrupted trading.

“Hospitality, as it emerges from restrictions, is still in a fragile state and continued Government support will be critical to ensuring the sector is rejuvenated and plays a full role in the wider economic recovery.”