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Lockdown latest: lockdown easing delayed in England

Find out what the rules are in your area

Lockdown latest: lockdown easing delayed in England

Most coronavirus restrictions in England will remain unchanged after 21 June as the planned date for ‘step four’ of the government’s lockdown roadmap has been delayed.

All lockdown restrictions had been set to be lifted from 21 June at the earliest, but the Prime Minister has now confirmed that this step will not take place until up to four weeks after that – on 19 July – to allow more people to become vaccinated first.

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has hinted that Scotland’s next step in easing lockdown, pencilled in for 28 June, could also be delayed.

Here, Which? explains the current rules and upcoming changes under each UK nation’s roadmap out of lockdown, and reveals how the rule of six (or four, 10 or 30) works where you are. Click the links for

the rules in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

England’s current lockdown rules explained

The rules in England last changed on 17 May, when indoor socialising was reintroduced.

The next step in the lockdown lifting roadmap will see the government remove ‘all legal limits on social contact’. Nightclubs will reopen for the first time in over a year, and large events and performances may also be allowed.

The 30-person cap on weddings will still be lifted on 21 June, but other social distancing rules for weddings will remain in place.

Now it’s been delayed, the current restrictions outlined below will remain in place until 19 July, unless the government decides to trigger step four before that.

Pubs and restaurants open indoors: what are the rules?

Pubs and restaurants can now welcome patrons inside. The ‘rule of six’ (or two households) applies, as it does with indoor socialising in people’s homes.

The ‘one metre plus’ rule is also still in effect, meaning tables need to be spaced out or separated with screens.

Non-essential shops, hairdressers and barbers open

Hairdressers, barbers and shops are also open.

Shops are allowed to stay open until 10pm from Monday to Saturday in a bid to spread out shoppers and avoid congestion.

What are the rules for meeting friends and family?

A maximum of six people, or any number of people from two households, are able to meet indoors.

Children of all ages count towards this limit.

Experts are stressing that meeting outdoors is safer, and opening windows for ventilation is advised when meeting inside.

Groups of up to 30 people can now meet outside. When meeting friends and family, social distancing is optional. This means you don’t have to keep ‘one metre plus’ distance from each other.

Despite this, the Prime Minister has said that people should use ‘care and common sense’ when deciding whether to hug friends and family, and that factors like vaccination status should be taken into account.

What else changed on 17 May?

Cinemas, theatres, museums and soft-play areas have also reopened. Social distancing is required for audiences at most events in these venues, and larger theatres and concert halls may have capacity limits in place.

For holidays in England, hotels and B&Bs are open for groups of up to six (or two households).

As for international travel, people do not have to quarantine upon return if they visit one of the countries on the government’s ‘green list’. However, the green list countries themselves might not allow UK holidaymakers to enter.

Scotland’s Covid-19 restrictions

Most of Scotland is under Level 1 or 2 lockdown restrictions, with some islands under Level 0.

Scotland’s timetable for easing lockdown had 28 June as the earliest date for the whole country moving to Level 0. Nicola Sturgeon has now said it’s ‘unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level from 28 June’. A decision will be announced next week.

The details below apply to the areas under Level 2. See the Scottish government’s website for the rules at Level 0 and Level 1.

Pubs and restaurants reopen inside

Pubs and restaurants are now open inside and outside in Level 2 areas. Inside, six people from up to three different households can meet. Children under 12 don’t count towards the six, but they do count towards the household limit.

Outside, up to eight people from eight different households can meet. In this case, under-12s don’t count towards the number of people or households.

Barbers and hairdressers reopen

Hairdressers and barbers are now back up and running, along with non-essential shops.

What are the rules around meeting friends and family?

People living in Level 2 areas of Scotland can meet people from other households inside their home. Up to six people from three different households can meet.

As with pubs and restaurants, under-12s don’t count towards the six-person limit but they do count towards the three households. This means a group with children from four separate households would not be allowed.

You do not have to physically distance from family and friends, but you are advised to minimise the number of different meetings you have, keep rooms well ventilated and not to share food or utensils.

If you’re meeting outside, up to eight people from eight different households can meet. Children under 12 don’t count towards the total number of people or households.

What else has reopened?

All holiday accommodation, including hotels and B&Bs, is now open in Level 2 areas.

Cinemas, theatres, music venues and even stadiums can all reopen, though larger venues have capacity limits in place.

What are the rules in Wales?

Wales’ lockdown rules were relaxed slightly on 7 June. Larger events are now permitted, and more people can meet to socialise outside.

The Welsh government has not confirmed a date for further lockdown easing at this stage.

Pubs and restaurants open inside

You can once again eat and drink inside pubs and restaurants in Wales.

Groups of up to six people from six households (not including children under 11) can meet together inside.

Shops and hairdressers now open

Wales’ non-essential retailers are now open, as are barbers, hairdressers and beauty salons.

What are the rules around meeting friends and family?

Groups of up to 30 people can meet outside in Wales. Children under the age of 11 and carers don’t count towards the limit.

You can form an ‘exclusive extended household’ with people from up to two other households, whom you can meet with inside.

What else is open?

Holiday accommodation, cinemas and theatres are now open, and international travel has resumed (see below for more).

Larger events like concerts and football matches can now host up to 4,000 people standing and 10,000 people seated, subject to risk assessment.

Northern Ireland’s restrictions explained

Shops and hairdressers now open

Non-essential shops, hairdressers and barbers have now reopened, along with other close-contact services such as beauty and nail salons.

Pubs and restaurants reopen inside

Up to six people (not including children under 12) from any number of households can sit together.

What are the rules around socialising?

Up to six people from up to two households can meet inside a private home. This limit rises to 10 if one household has six or more members. Children under 12 do not count towards these limits.

Up to 15 people (including children) from up to three households can meet outside in private gardens.

In outdoor public spaces such as parks, gatherings of up to 500 are allowed, depending on a risk assessment by the venue.

What about travel and holidays?

Currently, ‘staycations’ in self-catered accommodation are allowed in every UK nation. England, Scotland and Wales have reopened hotels, hostels and B&Bs as well.

International travel has also resumed for every UK nation. You can visit countries on the government’s ‘green list’ without having to quarantine upon return, though you will need to take Covid-19 tests.


(Originally published 23 June 2020 and regularly updated since to reflect changes to the guidelines. Last updated 16 June 2021.)

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