Lockdown in the UK: What are the latest changes in the four nations?

·4-min read

Here is an update on coronavirus measures across the four UK nations and what further changes will be made from next week.

– What is the latest in Wales?

Wales will move to alert level two on Monday with the reopening of indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.

The reopening of indoor service for pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes as well as entertainment venues like cinemas will come alongside allowing up to 30 people to take part in organised indoor events and up to 50 people in organised outdoor events.

Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford (Ben Birchall/PA)
Wales First Minister Mark Drakeford (Ben Birchall/PA)

First Minister Mark Drakeford said the country could allow small food festivals and small live music and arts events to resume too if the Indian variant poses no need to pause relaxing restrictions.

Mr Drakeford said that though international travel would be allowed from Monday under a traffic light system, the Government’s concerns about reimporting the virus meant it would advise people not to travel abroad during 2021.

He said Wales was “in a very good position already” with regard to vaccinating vulnerable groups, with over 90% of care home residents and 91% of people aged over 70 having received a second dose.

But he said the country could calibrate the vaccination programme to take account of a new variant “if that was sensible”.

– What is happening in Scotland?

As of May 17, all of mainland Scotland, with the “highly probable exception” of Moray, will move from Level 3 to Level 2 of coronavirus restrictions, and many island areas will move to Level 1.

In Level 2 areas, six people from three households will be able to meet indoors, the same number can meet in a hospitality venue, and eight people from eight houses can meet outdoors.

Coronavirus – Mon Apr 26, 2021
From May 17 alcohol can be served indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants, and cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades can reopen in Scotland (PA)

Alcohol can be served indoors in pubs, cafes and restaurants, and cinemas, bingo halls and amusement arcades can reopen.

Social distancing during meetings indoors or in private gardens will be dropped, allowing people to hug loved ones again.

Nicola Sturgeon also confirmed that Scotland will move to a traffic light system for international travel, similar to that already announced for England, though she said Scots should “think seriously” about whether to take overseas holidays.

The area of Moray, in north-east Scotland, is expected to remain in Level 3 following a surge in cases and an increase in hospital admissions.

– What is the latest in Northern Ireland?

Indoor hospitality is set to reopen in Northern Ireland on May 24 with mitigations, subject to a review on May 20.

Mitigations include permitting up to six people to sit together, removing the restriction on the number of households they can be from.

Members of the public enjoy a drink and a meal in Belfast (Mark Marlow/PA)
Members of the public enjoy a drink and a meal in Belfast (Mark Marlow/PA)

Indoor visits in a domestic setting are also to be allowed involving six people from no more than two households and indoor visitor attractions including amusement arcades, bingo halls, museums, galleries and cinemas are to reopen from May 24.

Also from May 24, the Stay Local message is to be removed, numbers increased for indoor gatherings, numbers increased to 500 for outdoor gatherings, libraries are to reopen, and schools can resume extra-curricular activities, indoor extra-curricular sports, outdoor inter-schools sports and day educational visits.

There is also to be a full return to outdoor sport and a return to indoor club training in squads from May 24, followed by a return to indoor competitive sport from May 31.

Meanwhile from June 21, restriction on audiences in seated theatres and concert halls and other venues will be removed and the return allowed of conferences and exhibitions. These decisions will be subject to review in June.

– What is happening in England?

From May 17, people in England will be able to meet outdoors in groups of up to 30, and indoors in groups of six, or two households.

Pubs and restaurants will be able to serve customers indoors, although they will be limited to table service.

Other recreational venues such as cinemas, museums, theatres and concert halls will be allowed to reopen, although there will be capacity limits on large events.

Easing the lockdown in England
(PA Graphics)

Up to 30 people will be allowed at weddings, and the cap on the number of mourners attending funerals will be lifted, in line with the safe capacity of the venue.

Secondary school pupils will no longer be told to wear face masks in class and communal areas, and university students will return to campus for in-person lectures.

The “stay in the UK” restriction will lift and people will be able to travel to “green list” countries without having to quarantine, provided they take one post-arrival test.

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