Lockdown: How restrictions have eased in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

·6-min read

People in England can look forward to getting a round in for the first time in months on Monday.

Pub gardens and restaurants with outdoor dining are preparing for a surge of customers as lockdown eases, prompting 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.

Here is the picture across the UK.

– What can people in England do now?

From Monday, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen.

Most outdoor attractions, such as zoos and theme parks, can reopen, although wider social-distancing rules will still apply to prevent indoor mixing between different households.

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools will also be opened, but for use by people on their own or in household groups.

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.

Coronavirus
Hairdressers can start getting to work (Danny Lawson/PA)

It follows from a previous round of easing on March 29 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.

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

– What happens next in England?

From no earlier than May 17, most social contact rules outside will be lifted – although gatherings of more than 30 will remain illegal.

Indoors, the rule of six or two households will apply – although the Government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

Coronavirus
Outdoor sport has been permitted since March 29 (Peter Byrne/PA)

Indoor hospitality, entertainment venues such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the accommodation sector, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes will also reopen.

Limited crowds will also be allowed at sporting events.

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

Coronavirus
Outdoor dining space in London’s Soho (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The Government has said there will be a minimum of five weeks between each set of restrictions easing, to give it time to assess the impact on public health.

Lockdown easing will depend on the vaccine rollout continuing smoothly and evidence the vaccine is reducing hospital admissions and deaths.

It also depends on there being no evidence a surge in infection rates could potentially overwhelm the NHS, and the level of risk not being fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

– 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.

Easing the lockdown in Wales
(PA Graphics)

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 happens next in Wales?

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

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

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

The reopening of gyms and leisure centres has also been brought forward by a week to May 3, including for one-to-one training, although group exercise classes remain banned.

All dates are “subject to the public health situation remaining favourable” and will be confirmed at a review of coronavirus regulations on April 22, the Welsh Government said.

It is likely children’s indoor activities, community centres, and organised indoor activities for adults for up to 15 people will resume from May 17.

After May 17, the Welsh government will consider opening up indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen in advance of the spring bank holiday.

– What is going on in Northern Ireland?

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

The “stay at home” messaging is to be replaced with a “stay local” and “work from home” message.

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

Coronavirus
The remainder of students will be back at school from Monday (Peter Morrison/PA)

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 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.

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

– Has lockdown eased 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.

Coronavirus
The Scottish have to wat a bit longer for more restrictions to ease (Jane Barlow/PA)

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.

– How long will the Scottish have to wait?

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

Under current plans, cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms are due to open, and more people will be allowed to meet up outdoors.

Libraries, museums and galleries, gyms and pools will also be allowed to open up.

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

The Scottish government said “it is hoped” groups of four people from two households will be allowed to socialise indoors in a private home.

Cinemas and amusement arcades might be allowed to reopen with limits on capacity, along with resumption of small-scale indoor and outdoor events outdoor contact sports for adults and indoor group exercise.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting