Britons will be allowed to exercise several times each day in the first stage ...

Britons will be allowed to exercise several times each day and drive to the countryside for walks and picnics in the first stage of relaxing lockdown Plans for phase one of easing the lockdown are expected later this month  People will be allowed to exercise multiple times with household members Fines for repeatedly breaching lockdown rules could rise from £60 to £30,000 Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

By Glen Owen for The Mail on Sunday

Published: 22:13 BST, 2 May 2020 | Updated: 00:30 BST, 3 May 2020

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Ministers are preparing to lift restrictions on outdoor activities such as picnics as the first stage in relaxing the lockdown rules.

The Mail on Sunday understands the plans – likely to be introduced later this month if coronavirus infection rates continue to fall – will mean people can exercise several times each day and drive to the countryside and other outdoor spaces for walks and picnics.

However, they will only be allowed to do so with members of their household and must stay at least two metres (6ft 6in) away from other groups.

The change, which will end the sight of police officers moving on solitary sunbathers in parks, follows new scientific advice to ministers that the risk of transmitting the disease outside is substantially lower than indoors.

Ministers are preparing to lift restrictions on outdoor activities such as picnics as the first stage in relaxing the lockdown rules. Pictured: people enjoying a picnic at Daisy Hill Forest park, Brisbane, Australia, on May 2

Ministers are preparing to lift restrictions on outdoor activities such as picnics as the first stage in relaxing the lockdown rules. Pictured: people enjoying a picnic at Daisy Hill Forest park, Brisbane, Australia, on May 2

But people will still be barred from areas such as playgrounds and beaches where crowds congregate and the two-metre rule becomes harder to observe.

The softening of restrictions will be accompanied by the stricter enforcement of breaches of the remaining rules, with fines rising from the current £60 to more than £3,000 for repeat offenders.

Boris Johnson’s review of the lockdown on Thursday is not expected to lead to any more substantial changes until next month when public transport is likely to return to normal levels and non-food retailers, factories, warehouses and more construction sites will be encouraged to open.

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Offices are expected to instruct most of their staff to continue working from home, while pubs and restaurants are likely to remain closed for weeks or even months longer.

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