How are lockdown measures being lifted across the UK’s four nations?

Luke Powell, PA
·5-min read

Coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to be eased in different stages across the four nations of the UK.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is the latest leader to announce a relaxation of measures, with the country’s “stay at home” order to be removed from April 2.

Here is what we know about how England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland intend to exit lockdown:

– Scotland

The country’s “stay at home” order is to be removed on April 2, with Scots instead advised to “stay local” for an initial period of no more than three weeks.

From April 5, click-and-collect retail services, along with garden centres, car dealerships, homeware stores and barbers and hairdressers, will also be able to reopen.

Scotland will then move out of lockdown and return to a levels system – starting with a “modified level three” – on April 26.

On the same date, travel restrictions across the country will be dropped.

Nicola Sturgeon in Scottish Parliament
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Russell Cheyne/PA)

Ms Sturgeon said the country is expected to move into level two measures by May 17, allowing for indoor socialising, followed by level one in early June and level zero by the end of that month.

Meanwhile, children in primaries four to seven returned to school on Monday to join their younger classmates who went back on February 22.

More secondary school pupils also returned to classrooms part-time on Monday.

Up to four people from two households are allowed to meet outdoors in Scotland, as measures on gatherings were relaxed on March 12.

For children aged between 12 and 17, outdoor meetings are limited to four people, but can be from up to four households.

Communal worship in Scotland will restart from March 26, with the limit for services rising from 20 people to 50.

– Wales

Hairdressers and barbers in Wales reopened for appointments only on Monday.

Primary school pupils also returned to classrooms on Monday, joining those in foundation years who returned in February, and face-to-face teaching will resume for learners in years 11 and 13.

Secondary schools now have the option to bring year 10 and 12 learners back, while there will be “flexibility” to allow all other pupils to “check-in” with teachers on a limited amount of days ahead of a full return after the Easter break.

Meanwhile, all students studying at universities in Wales will be able to return to campus from April 12, the country’s Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said.

The “stay at home” restrictions were lifted in Wales on Saturday as the country moved to a “stay local” period, with travel restrictions expected to be eased further in time for Easter.

Four people from two households are now able to meet outdoors to socialise, including in gardens – while outdoor sports facilities, including basketball courts, tennis courts and golf courses, can reopen.

Coronavirus – Fri Oct 23, 2020
Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford (Ben Birchall/PA)

Indoor care home visits are also allowed for single designated visitors.

Non-essential retail will start to reopen gradually from March 22, while restrictions will be lifted on what can be sold in shops which are currently open.

– Northern Ireland

All school children are due to be back in classes by April 12.

Primary pupils in years P1 to P3 are already back and secondary school children in year groups 12 to 14 are due back on Monday March 22.

The remaining primary pupils in P4 to P7 will also return on March 22 and remaining secondary pupils in years eight to 11 will go back to classes on April 12, after the Easter holidays.

Coronavirus – Tue Mar 2, 2021
Northern Ireland deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (left) and Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (Liam McBurney/PA)

In terms of the wider lockdown restrictions:

From April 1

– Up to six people from no more than two households can meet outdoors in a private garden.

– Ten people, from no more than two households, able to participate in outdoor sporting activities. Golf courses to reopen (clubhouses to remain closed).

– Click-and-collect purchases allowed from garden centres and plant nurseries.

From April 12

– Up to 10 people from no more than two households can meet outdoors in a private garden.

– Click and collect at all non-essential retail outlets.

– “Stay-at-home” requirement lifts. Will be replaced by “stay local” message.

– Outdoor sports training to resume for sports clubs affiliated with recognised governing bodies with no more than 15 participants in one training group. Indoor club facilities, apart from toilets, to remain closed.

The Stormont Executive has also amended regulations around elite sports to enable two World Cup qualification matches scheduled for March 25 and 31 to take place as well as a friendly match between Northern Ireland and the US on March 28.

No spectators will be permitted at any sporting event.

The April 12 measures are subject to final ratification by the Executive in the week before they come into effect, likely on April 8.

– England

All pupils in all year groups returned to classrooms on March 8 with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.

People are now permitted to have socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space.

Care home residents are also allowed a single nominated visitor, who will be required to take a Covid test, wear personal protective equipment and keep physical contact to a minimum.

HEALTH Coronavirus
(PA Graphics)

Larger groups will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens from March 29.

The “rule of six” will return, along with new measures allowing two households, totalling no more than six people, to meet.

Outdoor organised sport will also return.

From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen.

Two households, or groups of up to six people, will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events from May 17.

All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.