Lockdown: How restrictions are easing across the UK

How are restrictions easing across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. 
Lockdown: How restrictions are easing across the UK

Allerton Manor golf course’s new outdoor 250 seater beer garden in Liverpool, after it opened for the first time. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA

People in Scotland are set to see an easing of coronavirus restrictions on Friday, joining the other three nations in the UK in updating rules this week.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that people will be able to leave their local authority area to socialise and exercise, while restrictions on gatherings are to be relaxed.

The First Minister said a reduction in prevalence of the virus meant some acceleration of planned lockdown easing was possible.

It comes after a number of restrictions were eased across England, Wales and Northern Ireland on Monday.

Here is the picture across the UK.

– What can people in England do now?

On Monday, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens were allowed to reopen.

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

Indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and swimming pools 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 rose from six to 15.

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 UK Government has said it will keep under review whether it is safe to increase this.

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.

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

The UK 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 happening in Scotland?

From Friday, people will be able to leave their local authority area for the purposes of socialising, recreation or exercise, though travel between the mainland and some islands will not be permitted.

Rules on gatherings will also be relaxed, with six adults from up to six households able to meet up outside.

Nicola Sturgeon has said some restrictions will be relaxed on Friday (Russell Cheyne/PA)

It comes after Ms Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that there had been three deaths from coronavirus and 221 positive tests in the previous 24 hours.

– What will happen in the coming months in Scotland?

Lockdown is expected to ease further from April 26, and the First Minister 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.

The Empire Theatre at Eden Court in Inverness (Jane Barlow/PA)

Hospitality will need to close their doors at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors, with alcohol only allowed to be served outside.

Travel will also be allowed on this date to other parts of Britain, with reviews planned on journeys to Northern Ireland and Ireland.

From May 17, pubs are set to open indoors until 10:30pm and contact sports, cinemas, and some small scale events can take place.

Up to four people from two households will also be able to meet up indoors.

– What is the picture in Wales?

On Monday, close-contact services such as hairdressers and non-essential shops shops were permitted to open

It was also back-to-school day for students, with university undergraduates returning to campuses although some online learning will continue.

(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.

Closed pubs around the Principality Stadium (David Davies/PA)

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?

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

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

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

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

The remainder of post-primary students, years eight to 11, returned to schools after all other classes resumed before the Easter break.

Outdoor retail such as car dealerships and garden centres reopened, and click-and-collect services resumed.

People planning weddings were permitted to view potential venues for ceremonies at a limit of up to four people.

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

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