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May 17, 2021
Everything You Need To Know About Dining Out From May 17th
The return of indoor dining, the number of people you can dine with al fresco, and everything else you need to know.

Well well well, we’re absolutely bloody storming through the government’s roadmap out of lockdown, aren’t we? And today, May 17th, marks the next snazzy step to freedom with some big exciting changes in what you can do indoors and outdoors at restaurants. Not that we haven’t deeply enjoyed dining with a hot water bottle in tow and drinking cocktails whilst simultaneously holding an umbrella for the past month. Whilst we mentally file all those memories of rainy al fresco meals under ‘character building’, let’s break down what the new May 17th dining rules mean for you.

So, what’s happening today?

It’s the return of indoor dining, baby! Third time’s a charm. Or something.

Exciting stuff. Who can I sit inside with?

Your mates, that cousin you’ve been avoiding, someone who looks remotely promising on Hinge. Basically, absolutely anyone you like. Unlike indoor dining circa December 2020, when you could only eat indoors with members of your household, this time around you can eat indoors with anyone no matter if you live with them or not.

Stunning. How many people can I eat indoors with?

Six people. Or a larger group made up exclusively of two households. No, you and your nine friends don’t count as one household just because you all shared a toothbrush at Glastonbury 2012. Keep it classy London.

Will I have to wear my mask indoors?

Yes, you’re still going to have to wear your mask when you’re walking around the restaurant. The standard rules apply of standing = mask on, sitting = mask off. Unless of course you have a pre-existing health condition that prevents you from wearing one.

Got it. Will the servers have to wear masks too?

Yup. Restaurant staff will still have to wear masks indoors and wherever they ‘are likely to come into close contact with members of the public’, but it’s at the restaurant’s discretion whether servers wear masks outside. Restaurants must also ensure good old social distancing is in place, with adequate spacing between tables.

Okay. Do I still need to check-in with the NHS app?

You sure do.

I don’t feel ready to eat indoors again yet.

We get that. Luckily, most of the restaurants that have been doing the whole al fresco thing will continue to do so. If you’re looking for al fresco inspiration, here are 239 London Restaurants Taking Outdoor Reservations, and for anyone who’s allergic to planning, 60 Great Walk-In Restaurants With Outdoor Seating. Don’t say we never give you anything. Plus, as of today, you’re officially allowed to eat with more people outside.

Wait! How many people can I eat outdoors with now?

30 humans from any number of households (!!!). Well, technically 29 plus yourself. But the point is, the group-hang is back.

Nice. What about bars and nightclubs?

Wow. Remember nightclubs? Sadly, anywhere that serves alcohol whilst you’re standing is still a no-no. They’re set to open on June 21st if all goes well and cases stay low. However, bars where you can sit down with table service are allowed to open indoors. Hurrah for the return of the speakeasy.

You didn’t answer my question.

Sorry about that. You can hit us up with any dining questions by emailing london@theinfatuation.com.

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