Scientists have urged people in England not to gather indoors, as coronavirus restrictions were eased on Monday to allow people to meet in open spaces.
GP Dr Hilary Jones MBE has reminded people to “take this next step safely” in a short advert by the Government, which will be broadcast on television, radio and online platforms over the coming weeks.
The short clip, which animates the spread of coronavirus particles between a group of friends meeting indoors compared with in their garden, will be shown for the first time on Monday at 7.15pm on ITV.
It also urges people to open windows to improve ventilation in their homes, and presents the Government’s new “Hands, Face, Space and Fresh Air” slogan.
This is because smaller droplets and aerosols containing the virus remain suspended in the air longer in enclosed spaces, making it more likely to be inhaled by others, experts have said.
Marking the launch of the advert, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We have come so far thanks to the vaccine rollout and that progress must be protected.
“So let’s take this next step safely, when you meet others do so outdoors, and keep a safe distance.”
England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, said although the number of coronavirus cases in the UK has been reduced during national lockdowns “thanks to the efforts of the public”, it is “very clear that outdoor spaces are safer than indoors”.
NHS psychologist Laverne Antrobus advised planning meetings carefully to ensure that no more than six people are involved and resisting peer pressure to break the rules.
She said: “The new guidance around meeting a group of people outdoors is really exciting and is a big step in right direction, however, it’s really important to stick to the guidance and only meet outdoors.
“This may mean being put in situations where you have to say no to joining a large group of more than six, or perhaps feeling pressured to go indoors with people outside your bubble.
“It is so important to set your boundaries and be assertive in those situations, and to continue following the guidance to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the virus.”
Groups of up to six or two households will be able to socialise in parks and gardens in England from Monday, and sports facilities will be allowed to reopen.
On Saturday, the “stay local” order ended in Wales and people were allowed to stay in self-contained holiday accommodation.
The stay home order in Scotland will also end on Friday, while in Northern Ireland up to six people, or two households, will be able to meet outdoors from Thursday.