Covid: The new lockdown rules for England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland


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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has set out plans for the end of lockdown in England, and a return to a tougher three-tier system of restrictions.

Spectator sports will be able to welcome back fans to stadiums once more, and some pubs will be able to stay open until 23: 00 GMT.

What will England’s new lockdown rules be?

The current lockdown will end just after midnight on Wednesday 2 December. After that, the following will apply to all areas:

  • Shops, gyms and personal care services will all reopen
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will resume
  • People will no longer be limited to seeing one other person outdoors
  • The rule of six will apply in outdoor public spaces
  • Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules

There will be different rules for pubs and spectator sports in the different tiers.

  • In tier one, they will be able to open until 23: 00 GMT, with last orders at 22: 00
  • In tier two, they can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
  • In tier three, hospitality venues must close apart from delivery and takeaway
  • Can resume in tier one with a maximum crowd of 50% of stadium capacity or 4,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
  • Can resume in tier two with 50% of capacity or 2,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
  • Cannot resume in tier three

The government will announce on 26 November which areas are in which tiers. This will be formally reviewed every 14 days.

More details of the plan are here.

Are there any other changes to the three-tier system?

As before, you can only meet people from other households in a group of up to six. Rules about where you can do so apply.

Only those in tier one areas will be able to meet people they don’t live with indoors.

People in tier two can’t socialise with other households indoors. Those in tier three can’t mix with other households indoors, or in private and pub gardens.

There are exceptions for childcare and support bubbles.

People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas.

What are England’s current lockdown rules?

  • You should stay at home – except for essential reasons such as work or healthcare – and not socialise with friends indoors or in private gardens.
  • You can meet one person from outside your household in an outdoor public space
  • Schools, nurseries, colleges and universities remain open
  • Childminders and nannies can provide childcare, including in people’s homes
  • Workplaces can stay open if people cannot work from home
  • You can take unlimited exercise outdoors with your household, support bubble, or with one other person
  • Outdoor playgrounds remain open but leisure but most other facilities are closed
  • Elite sport can continue, but not grassroots team sports

Shops, pubs and other venues

  • Pubs and restaurants must close (takeaways/deliveries can continue)
  • Non-essential shops must close (click-and-collect/deliveries can continue), along with personal care services, including hairdressers
  • Supermarkets, food shops, off-licences, petrol stations and pharmacies can remain open, along with a few other shops such as garden centres and bike shops
  • Medical services can continue, including dentist and optician appointments

Worship, weddings and funerals

  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not allowed, apart from in exceptional circumstances
  • Only 30 people can attend a funeral., and linked ceremonial events can also continue with up to 15 people
  • Places of worship will otherwise only be open to allow individual prayer or services to be broadcast congregations

What are Northern Ireland’s current rules?

Northern Ireland will go into a two-week circuit-break lockdown from 00: 01 GMT on Friday 27 November.

However, some other restrictions will be eased until then.

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  • Close-contact services can reopen by appointment
  • Unlicensed hospitality premises, such as cafes and coffee shops must close by 20: 00
  • Pubs, bars and restaurants are shut, except for takeaways and deliveries, which must stop by 23: 00.
  • You can form a support bubble of any size with one other household
  • You can’t stay overnight in someone else’s home, unless you bubble with them
  • No indoor or contact sport is allowed unless at elite level – gyms are open for individual exercise only
  • No events of more than 15 people are allowed, apart from certain sporting events
  • Wedding ceremonies are limited to 25 people, with no receptions
  • Funerals are limited to 25 people, with no wakes before or after
  • Households cannot mix indoors in private homes, except for exemptions including bubbles and childcare
  • Non-essential shops must close
  • Cafes and coffee shops must close again for two weeks, except for takeaway
  • All sports and leisure facilities must close
  • All places of worship must close except for weddings and funerals (limited to 25 people), or to broadcast an act of worship
  • Schools remain open

How does Scotland’s new five-tier system work?

Each area of Scotland has been placed in one of five tiers.

Eleven local authority areas in west and central Scotland have recently moved from level three to level four, affecting two million people.

The areas are: City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs the level four measures would be lifted on Friday 11 December.

East Lothian and Midlothian will move down from level three to level two on Tuesday 24 November.

  • Level zero – Near normal life
  • Level one – In Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, up to six people from two households can meet inside their homes. This is not allowed in Highlands or Moray. People living in all level one areas can meet up to seven other people outdoors, from a maximum of three households
  • Level two – No gatherings inside people’s homes, but up to six people from two households can meet outdoors or at a pub or restaurant. Most hospitality venues can open. Alcohol can be served indoors with a meal until 20: 00 and outdoors until 22: 30
  • Level three – No indoor gatherings at home. Pubs and restaurants can open until 18: 00 but alcohol cannot be served. Leisure and entertainment venues are closed. Non-essential travel in or out of the area advised against
  • Level four – Non-essential shops, pubs and restaurants, and gyms close

Schools stay open in all levels.

People living in level three or level four must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes. Those living elsewhere in Scotland must not travel to level three or level four areas, apart from limited exceptional circumstances.

There must also be no non-essential travel between Scotland the rest of the UK.

What are the rules in Wales?

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image captionLockdown restrictions have eased in Wales

Lockdown restrictions in Wales were eased on 9 November.

  • Two households can form a bubble and will be able to meet in their own homes
  • Up to 15 people can meet for organised activities indoors, rising to 30 outdoors
  • All businesses required to close during the lockdown can reopen
  • Travel throughout Wales is permitted, but people can only go to England for essential purposes, such as work

People who you don’t live with still cannot come into your home socially, unless you are in an extended household (bubble) with them. Tradespeople can enter your home to carry out work.

Do you meet other people for exercise? Have you been out walking during the November lockdown? You can share your experiences by emailing

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Post Author: Izabella Jaworska

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