What are the Covid rules in the four nations of the UK?

·3-min read
PA looks at pandemic restrictions in each of the UK nations (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)
PA looks at pandemic restrictions in each of the UK nations (Dominic Lipinski/PA) (PA Wire)

The hospitality sectors of Wales and Northern Ireland were cheering after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions saw customers flowing back.

And care home residents were expecting more visitors due to limits being scrapped in England next week, while Scots previously required to work from home will soon move to a hybrid working model.

Here, the PA news agency looks at the rules in each of the UK nations.

– What has changed in Wales?

Wales has completed the move to alert level zero, relaxing alert level two measures which have been in place since Boxing Day.

It means nightclubs can reopen and social distancing and rule-of-six requirements have ended.

Nightclubs will reopen and social distancing and rule of six requirements will finish at the end of the month on January 28 in Wales (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
Nightclubs will reopen and social distancing and rule of six requirements will finish at the end of the month on January 28 in Wales (Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

It comes after crowds were able to return to outdoor sporting events from last Friday and limits were removed from taking part in outdoor activities.

But the Covid pass will continue to be required for entry to larger outdoor events attended by more than 4,000 people, if unseated, or 10,000 people when seated.

Covid passes will still be required in all cinemas, theatres and concert halls which are currently open.

– How about in Northern Ireland?

From noon on Wednesday, the legal requirement to provide Covid certification to enter bars, restaurants and cinemas ended.

Nightclubs can also now reopen, although vaccine certification will still be required for access to these venues.

In workplaces, the requirement to take reasonable measures for two-metre social distancing has also been removed.

It follows the ending last Friday of the requirement to remain seated and the limit of six per table at hospitality venues.

The cap has been lifted on the number of households meeting inside domestic settings.

The requirement for offices to take reasonable measures for two-metre social distancing is due to be removed in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Wire)
The requirement for offices to take reasonable measures for two-metre social distancing is due to be removed in Northern Ireland (Liam McBurney/PA) (PA Wire)

The required self-isolation period following a positive Covid test was also reduced last Friday, with positive cases able to leave isolation on day six providing they have had two negative lateral flow tests, at least 24 hours apart, no earlier than day five and day six.

Other restrictions which remain in place for the foreseeable future include the wearing of face coverings.

– What has changed in England?

Plan B measures are being relaxed across England, where face coverings and Covid passes are now no longer legally required.

Limits on visitors to care homes will be scrapped from next week as the country moves towards living with coronavirus.

From January 31, those living in care homes will be able to have unlimited visits from family and friends, while self-isolation periods will also be cut, the Department for Health and Social Care has said.

Guidance asking people to work from home has been lifted, and the legal requirement for people with coronavirus to self-isolate will also be allowed to end when the regulations expire on March 24.

– And in Scotland?

Nightclub closures, the requirement for table service in hospitality and one-metre physical distancing in hospitality and leisure settings ended at 5am on Monday.

Attendance limits on indoor events and the guidance asking people to stick to a three-household limit on indoor gatherings were also lifted.

And Covid guidance that required Scots to work from home where possible is being ditched in favour of hybrid working, Nicola Sturgeon announced this week.

The First Minister said from January 31 employers “should consider implementing hybrid working, following appropriate guidance, with workers spending some time in the office and some time at home”.

However, she said the change was not expected to spark a “wholesale return to the office next week”, with the First Minister adding that, at this stage in the pandemic, a “mass return” is “likely to set progress back”.

The wearing of face coverings in public indoor settings and on public transport, as well as working from home whenever possible, will remain.

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