How To Have A Safe, Socially Distanced Picnic Under UK Lockdown Rules

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As a nation, we're pretty picnic obsessed. In fact, as soon as the weather gets nice, parks and outside spaces are bombarded with tartan blankets, wicker baskets, and sausage rolls aplenty. But can you go on a picnic during lockdown in the UK? Well, the good news is that yes, you can, but there are some limitations you'll need to consider before planning your next outing.

The official line

On May 10, Boris Johnson announced new rules regarding lockdown restrictions in the UK with regards to being outside and meeting others. At the time of writing (May 20), the rules state that you are now allowed to meet one person from outside our household in an outside space, as long as social distanced measures are upheld. This means you can go for a walk or go to a park with a friend or family member you don't live with as long as you keep two meters apart at all times. However, you mustn't congregate in groups bigger than two apart from with members of your own household.

So what does this mean if you want to go for a picnic? Well, Johnson did not directly address whether picnics are technically allowed in his speech, but he did say you are now OK to sit down in a park or outside space to sunbathe. However, this follow up report explains picnics are OK, provided you follow adequate social distancing measures.


But remember, as the report states, gatherings "with more than one member of another household for recreational reasons" are not allowed – so group hangs are a no at this point.

In short: a picnic with anyone outside your house is allowed as long as there's only two of you and you're two metres apart. You can go for a group picnic with your housemates, but you cannot form a group with other households.

Food safety

So, what the food? Well, right now, it's best to bring your own picnic goodies along and stick to eating those as you don't really want to be touching items that other people have prepared. It's also pretty difficult to share food while keeping a six foot distance and throwing a pork pie across the park will only end in tears.

Location, location, location

So we've established you can have a picnic with two people, while two metres apart, and while eating your own foodstuffs. But where should said picnic take place, considering our local parks are all pretty rammed right now?

If you arrive at your nearest park and find it's very busy (especially during the warm weather), it's safer to go elsewhere in order to maintain safe distances from others. Smaller, lesser known parks are a good shout, and if you can drive, you're now allowed to travel to any location for recreational purposes. Just make sure you and your picnic buddy travel separately if you don't live together.

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