UK’s four nations: How lockdown measures are being lifted

PA Reporters
·3-min read

Covid-19 lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed at different times across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

From Friday, up to four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors in Scotland, while the current “stay-at-home” restrictions will be lifted in Wales from Saturday.

Here is the latest on the devolved nations’ plans to exit lockdown.

– Scotland

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon became the latest leader to announce a further easing of measures this week, with Scots now allowed to meet in bigger groups.

Up to four people from two households are now able to meet outdoors from Friday.

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

For children aged between 12 and 17, outdoor meetings will also be limited to four people, but these 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.

The stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted from April 5 under the phased plan.

– Wales

The current “stay-at-home” restrictions will be lifted from Saturday and are expected to allow people from rural areas to travel greater distances than those who live in urban towns and cities.

Also from Saturday, four people from two households will be 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 will also restart for single designated visitors from the weekend.

Hairdressers and barbers can reopen for appointments from Monday, the same day that all primary pupils and those in qualifications years can return to schools.

Secondary schools will 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.

Non-essential retail, which was considered for reopening from next week, 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

Lockdown restrictions were introduced in Northern Ireland on December 26 and were extended to April 1 by the Stormont Executive, with a review due on March 18.

Thousands of P1 to P3s returned to school on Monday, while nurseries and pre-schools also reopened to all children on Monday.

Arlene Foster
First Minister Arlene Foster (Brian Lawless/PA)

The next children due back are secondary school pupils in key exam years – year groups 12-14 – on March 22.

The Executive’s plan for gradually exiting lockdown does not include any target dates, with ministers saying decisions on moving between stages will be based on scientific and medical evidence.

– 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.