New lockdown rules in England, Wales and Northern Ireland from today

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

Pub gardens and restaurants with outdoor restaurants prepare for a surge in customers as the lockdown wears off, prompting Boris Johnson to urge the nation to “behave responsibly”.

While the English are the only ones looking forward to a beer from the pub, people of Wales and Northern Ireland will now enjoy more freedom too.

Here is the picture across the UK.

– What can the people of England do now?

From Monday, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor restaurants such as beer gardens can be reopened.

Most outdoor attractions, such as zoos and theme parks, are open to reopening, although broader social distancing rules continue to apply to prevent indoor mixing between households.

Indoor recreational facilities such as gyms and swimming pools also open, but can be used by individuals or in household groups.

Funerals can continue for up to 30 people, and the number of people who can attend weddings, receptions, and memorial services such as guards increases from six to 15.

Hairdressers can start working (Danny Lawson / PA)

It follows from an earlier round of easing on March 29th that allowed six people from any number of households or any group of any size made up of up to two households to gather in parks and gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities like tennis and basketball courts have reopened, and organized sports for adults and children – including grassroots football – may return.

People are still being asked to work from home when possible, and travel abroad is still prohibited.

– What’s next in England?

As of May 17, most of the rules for outside social contact will be lifted – although gatherings of more than 30 people are still illegal.

Indoors, the six or two household rule applies – although the government has announced it will continue to consider whether it is safe to increase this.


Outdoor sports have been allowed since March 29 (Peter Byrne / PA)

Indoor hospitality, entertainment options such as cinemas and soft play areas, the rest of the lodging sector, and indoor group sports and exercise classes for adults will also reopen.

A limited number of participants is also permitted at sporting events.

Any remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21st, allowing larger events to take place and nightclubs to reopen.


Outdoor dining area in Soho, London (Dominic Lipinski / PA)

The government has announced that there will be at least five weeks between each relaxation of restrictions to give it time to assess the public health impact.

Easing relief relies on the introduction of the vaccine to continue smoothly and on the vaccine reducing hospital admissions and deaths.

It also depends on there being no evidence that an increase in infection rates could potentially overwhelm the NHS, and that the risk will not be fundamentally altered by new variants of concern.

– What’s the picture in Wales?

From Monday, close contact services such as hairdressers and shops that are not absolutely necessary may be opened

It’s also a back-to-school day for college students when university students will be returning to campus, although some online learning will continue.

People can now travel outside of Wales, but travel to countries outside the Common Travel Area – the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man and Ireland – without proper apology is still prohibited.

– What’s next in Wales?

Outdoor hospitality such as cafes, pubs and restaurants will open on April 26th.

Organized outdoor activities for up to 30 people and wedding receptions for up to 30 people are permitted outdoors from the same date – also one week earlier than previously announced.

Last week, the Welsh government announced it would lift restrictions on household mixing ahead of schedule – May 3 instead of May 10 – after a better-than-expected drop in coronavirus cases.

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

All data are “subject to the continuing favorable public health situation” and will be confirmed in a review of coronavirus regulations on April 22nd, the Welsh government said.

Children’s indoor activities, community centers, and organized adult indoor activities for up to 15 people are likely to resume from May 17.

After May 17th, the Welsh Government will consider opening the indoor hospitality and remaining visitor accommodation to reopen before the spring holiday.

– What’s going on in Northern Ireland?

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

The message “Stay at home” should be replaced by the messages “Stay local” and “Work from home”.

Outdoor sports training is permitted for recognized clubs in groups of up to 15 people, provided that all indoor facilities, with the exception of the toilets, remain closed.


The rest of the students will be back at school by Monday (Peter Morrison / PA)

The rest of the post-primary students, ages eight to eleven, are returning to school – after all other classes have resumed before the Easter break.

Outdoor retail stores such as car dealerships and garden centers will reopen and click and collect services will resume.

People planning weddings are allowed to view potential ceremony venues with a maximum limit of four people.

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

– Has the lockdown in Scotland eased?

The Scots have to wait a little longer before they can enjoy more freedom.

As of Good Friday, the home stay order was canceled across Scotland, allowing people to travel for non-essential local purposes.


The Scots will have to wait a little longer to remove further restrictions (Jane Barlow / PA).

Barbers and hairdressers reopened for pre-booked appointments last week, while click-and-collect shopping resumed and homewares and garden centers started welcoming customers again.

In-person lessons and outdoor sports have also resumed for 12 to 17 year olds.

– How long do the Scots have to wait?

The lockdown is expected to continue to ease from April 26th, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will provide more details in the coming weeks.

Current plans are to open cafes, restaurants, shops and gyms, and allow more people to meet outdoors.

Libraries, museums and galleries, gyms and pools are also allowed to open.

There are currently plans to allow some household mixes from May 17th.

The Scottish Government said “it is hoped” that groups of four people from two households will be able to socialize indoors in a private household.

Cinemas and arcades may reopen with capacity constraints, along with resumption of small indoor and outdoor events, outdoor adult contact sports, and indoor group exercise.


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