JUNE 1 is usually the unofficial start date of the countdown to summer but this year, it is significant for other reasons.

The government pinpointed today as an important milestone for the further relaxation of lockdown measures.

So today will see the opening of some car showrooms and outdoor markets, people begin to meet friends and family again in small open space groups of six, and - controversially - the return of some primary school pupils.

The situation with schools - and your feelings about the issue - are covered elsewhere in this edition.

It is clear from the overwhelming response to our readers' poll, and the thoughts of many teachers and union members, that today has come too soon for a lot of parents and school workers.

The allowing of small groups to meet in public for the first time, though, is a more popular decision.

Those of you who have been observing the lockdown measures to the letter may not have seen your loved ones for more than two months.

From today, in England, you can meet them outside, or in a park or a garden, as long as you stay two metres apart.

Please be aware though that this does not include the most vulnerable, who have been asked to 'shield' themselves to avoid infection for a few more weeks.

To those of you who will be meeting up today, stay safe, have a good time, and we would love to hear your stories.