The further relaxation of lockdown measures is a wave of relief for many, with the thought of hugging friends and family outside of your household bubble a welcome change. However, it is still important to act with caution – read guidance from coronavirus experts on how to make hugging safer to ensure you and the other person involved feel as comfortable as possible.
You’ll be able to meet outdoors in groups of 30, whilst six people or two complete households can meet indoors, making the prospect of post-exam celebrations all the more exciting. With these latest guidance changes, it’s also now possible to stay overnight outside of your household bubble, meaning any students who have remained in Manchester throughout lockdown are able to go home and visit family, a huge step after such a difficult year.
Caution is still advised – mask wearing and social distancing remains in place – but the hospitality industry is opening up its doors and able to allow customers to dine and drink inside, no doubt a huge relief to anyone who has been caught out in the rain in recent weeks. Cinemas, museums, indoor gym classes, and theatres are all also allowed to reopen for the first time in months. However, while venues are now allowed to open indoors, it is still preferable to eat, drink and socialise outside whenever possible as it remains the safest option.
It’s important to make time to unwind in the remainder of this semester and not let your exam revision become too overwhelming, especially after a year of lockdowns. See what’s on in Manchester for some inspiration. We also recommend trying something new by visiting Manchester’s independent cafes, shops, bars and restaurants in the coming weeks to help support local business’ in our community.
While this is definitely an exciting time for many students, it’s important to remain mindful of your neighbours, whether you’re in halls or a private residence. Remember that Fallowfield and Withington are also home to long term residents – including young families and the elderly who you might not have met yet. We all have a responsibility to be respectful in our local communities, and so while we appreciate the easing of restrictions makes this an exciting time to be in Manchester, remember that there are many reasons why not everyone will be comfortable with these changes. Always uphold social distancing, get tested twice a week, wear a mask, and stay sensible. As a community over the last year, we’ve all come so far and given so much, and by continuing to respect the guidelines and caring for your fellow neighbours and local environment, you are doing your bit to ensure our road out of lockdown is as smooth as possible.
With exam season fast approaching, you should also be considerate of when your housemates are taking their exams, as the online assessment format means some students are feeling anxious about possible interruption or distractions. Unwind and have fun, but don’t be the cause of added stress to those around you.
If you’re planning on going out, please remember: plan your journey home beforehand, look out for each other when you’ve had a few drinks and make sure you travel home with friends. Make use of our safety tips, resources and safe spaces, both on campus and around the city.