Lockdown easing: What are the coronavirus rules in the four nations of the UK?

12 April 2021, 15:44

Hundreds of people queued outside shops on London's Oxford Street on Monday morning
Hundreds of people queued outside shops on London's Oxford Street on Monday morning. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Large parts of hospitality and leisure have reopened in England as the country enters the next phase in its coronavirus lockdown 'roadmap' - but how do the rules differ to the rest of the UK?

People in England have celebrated getting a round in for the first time in months on Monday, with pub gardens and restaurants packed with customers as lockdown eases.

The scenes have prompted Boris Johnson to urge the nation to "behave responsibly".

While the English are the only ones looking forward to a pub-pulled pint, people in Wales and Northern Ireland will now also enjoy more freedom.

But what can they do? And what are the current rules in Scotland?

What can people in England do now?

Shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens have reopen once again.

Eager customers were seen scrambling into high street shops on London's Oxford Street and Manchester's Arndale Centre on Monday morning.

Most outdoor attractions, including zoos and theme parks, have also reopened, although wider social distancing rules still apply to prevent indoor mixing between households.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools can also open - but only for use by people on their own or in household groups.

READ MORE: Customers scramble into shop as non-essential retail reopens in England

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Funerals can continue with up to 30 people, and the numbers able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes will rise from six to 15.

It follows from a previous round of easing on 29 March allowing six people from any number of households or a group of any size from up to two households to gather in parks and gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts reopened, with organised adult and children's sport - including grassroots football - able to return.

But people are still being asked to work from home where possible and overseas travel remains banned.

Updates LIVE: Gyms, pub gardens and non-essential shops reopen as lockdown eased in England

What are the current rules in Scotland?

The Scottish have a little bit longer to wait until they can enjoy more freedom.

As of Good Friday, the stay-at-home order was lifted across Scotland, allowing people to travel locally for non-essential purposes.

READ MORE: Housemates enjoy midnight beauty treatments as lockdown eases

Hairdressers and barbers reopened last week for pre-booked appointments, while click-and-collect shopping resumed, and homeware shops and garden centres began welcoming back customers.

In-person teaching and outdoor sport also resumed for 12 to 17-year-olds.

Non-essential retail is due to reopen in Scotland from 26 April
Non-essential retail is due to reopen in Scotland from 26 April. Picture: PA Images

What is the picture in Wales?

From Monday, close-contact services such as hairdressers and non-essential shops shops will be permitted to open

It is also back-to-school day for students, with university undergraduates set to return to campuses although some online learning will continue.

EXPLAINED: Can I travel to Wales from England now?

People can now make trips outside of Wales, but journeys to countries outside of the Common Travel area - the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland - without a reasonable excuse are still banned.

What is allowed for people in Northern Ireland?

The number of people who can meet outdoors in a garden, including children, increased from six to 10 on Monday.

The "stay at home" messaging has also been replaced with a "stay local" and "work from home" message.

Outdoor sports training is now allowed for recognised clubs, in groups of up to 15, provided all indoor facilities except toilets remain closed.

The remainder of post-primary students, years eight to 11, have now returned to schools after all other classes resumed before the Easter break.

READ MORE: Police urge public to stick to the rules and 'drink responsibly' as lockdown eases

People planning weddings are now permitted to view potential venues for ceremonies at a limit of up to four people.

The number of people allowed to attend such ceremonies has also increased, at a level informed by a risk assessment for the venue.

Outdoor sports training will be allowed for recognised clubs in Northern Ireland
Outdoor sports training will be allowed for recognised clubs in Northern Ireland. Picture: PA Images

What happens next?

In England, most social contact rules outside will be lifted on 17 May - although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

Businesses using indoor areas will also be allowed to reopen and the rule of six or two households rule will apply to people meeting up at home - although the Government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Lockdown in Scotland is expected to ease further from 26 April, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon due to give more detail in the coming weeks.

READ MORE: Twice weekly testing launched in England

Under current plans, cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms are due to open, and more people will be allowed to meet up outdoors, while libraries, museums and galleries, gyms and pools will also be allowed to open up once again.

Currently the plan is to allow some household mixing from 17 May.

Outdoor hospitality in Wales, such as cafes, pubs and restaurants are due to open up on 26 April as well.

Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people and wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be permitted outdoors from the same date - a week earlier than previously announced.

Last week, the Welsh Government announced it would lift restrictions on household mingling earlier than planned as well - 3 May instead of 10 May - following a better-than-expected drop in coronavirus cases.

From Monday, the number of people in Northern Ireland who can meet outdoors in a garden, including children, will increase from six to 10.

The "stay at home" messaging will be replaced with a "stay local" and "work from home" message as in the other nations, with outdoor sports training allowed for recognised clubs - in groups of up to 15 - provided all indoor facilities except toilets remain closed.

The remainder of post-primary students, years eight to 11, will return to schools - after all other classes resumed before the Easter break.

Outdoor retail such as car dealerships and garden centres will also reopen, and click-and-collect services will resume.

People planning weddings will be permitted to view potential venues for ceremonies at a limit of up to four people.