People have been sharing photos and videos of the moment they were finally allowed to officially embrace again today, after the Government lifted social distancing rules that have effectively outlawed hugging for the last 14 months.
Sweet reunions captured and shared across social media included tearful grandparents finally getting a squeeze from much-missed grandchildren and friends back in each others’ arms for the first time since March 2020.
May 17th has been dubbed Happy Hug Day in England after social distancing measures that have banned physical contact between family and friends – outside of bubbles – during the pandemic were relaxed in the the latest phase of Boris Johnson‘s roadmap out of lockdown.
Early morning swimmers in Sunderland were among the first to take advantage of the easing, greeting each other on sun-lit Seaburn beach with a dawn embrace.
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Happy hug day! Early morning swimmers in Sunderland were among the first to take advantage of the easing, greeting each other on Seaburn beach with a dawn embrace
A friend looks on as the swimmers enjoy a big hug in the surf after the new rules came in at midnight on Sunday
A grandfather hugs his granddaughter after almost 14 months of not being able to due to lockdown restrictions
Katie Taylor said she was sobbing uncontrollably as she hugged her mother for the first time in 14 months as she shared this image on Twitter
Friends in separate household bubbles, Dawn and Sarah, from York share a friendly embrace after the latest lockdown easing became official today
Eslewhere, among the images being posted under the hashtag #firsthug was a touching photo of a young girl offering a hug to her grandfather.
Posting the family snap, @SeanC_Mayo said the moment was a sign that ‘normality’ was finally returning to life.
Two youngsters from Hamilton, Scotland enjoyed a cuddle at the door of their nursery as Nicola Sturgeon also relaxed restrictions. @jojofalconer shared the adorable image, captioning it: ‘The day where hugs are a thing’.
Two weeks ago, the Government said advice ‘on social distancing between friends and family’ would be updated on May 17, and despite fears that the Indian variant would scupper people being allowed to embrace, the hug ban has been lifted as planned.
Two youngsters from Hamilton, Scotland enjoyed a cuddle at the door of their nursery as Scotland also relaxed restrictions
Presenter Lorraine Kelly, pictured, was also moved to tears as she watched the family hug for the first time in 17 months
Grandmother-of-11 Jennie, pictured, worked as a carer and followed government guidelines very strictly to protect the vulnerable people she worked with
Viewers were left ‘bawling’ after a family who were kept apart for 17 months due to covid-19 restrictions reunited live on air on Lorraine today and hugged for the first time in almost a year and a half (pictured)
Viewers were deeply moved by the heartwarming family moment caught on camera, with some saying they wanted to see their own grandmothers
Another Twitter user posted a photo of herself hugging her mother this morning. Katie Taylor, who runs the The Latte Lounge, captioned the image: ’14 long months later & we can #hug our friends & family. I think this picture says it all.’
She added: ‘I was sobbing uncontrollably as Ithrew my arms around my mum (we have both been doubly vaccinated) – I can’t tell you how good it felt – i will never, ever take #hugging for granted again.
On ITV’s Lorraine this morning, viewers were reduced to tears after a grandmother got to hug her family for the first time in 17 months.
Jennie Grimes, a grandmother-of-11 from Cambridgeshire, was surprised by her daughter Kerry, who drove 200 miles so that Jennie could hug her granddaughters.
The family was kept apart for 17 months due to covid-19 restrictions, with carer Jennie unable to meet her granddaughter Savannah, who was born during lockdown last year or to see Kerry’s other daughters Sophie and Sienna.
There were memes galore being shared on social media too, with one Tweeter asking people to ‘form an orderly queue for hugs’.
@MaichCaroline added: ‘Right, who wants one?’