COVID-19: What are the new coronavirus lockdown rules in England from today?

Each UK nation has set out a roadmap out of lockdown with specific dates.

From today, England’s lockdown eases significantly.

Here are the timetables for lifting COVID-19 restrictions in each UK nation:


There are four steps to easing England’s lockdown.

The prime minister hopes to be able to lift the majority of rules by 21 June, but this is dependent on cases, deaths and hospital admissions continuing to fall so the dates are the earliest any of the stated rules could be lifted.

There will be no regional tier systems – England will be treated as one in the easing of lockdown.

Step one was completed in two parts on 8 and 29 March.

After Boris Johnson confirmed the roadmap was on track thanks to a successful vaccine programme that is reducing hospital admissions and deaths, England is progressing to the next planned stage of lockdown lifting.

The steps are as follows:

Step Two – 12 April:
  • Non-essential shops, hairdressers, gyms, swimming pools, nail salons, libraries, and outdoor attractions such as theme parks and zoos are allowed to reopen
  • Outdoor hospitality can reopen, including pubs and restaurants – with the rule of six or a larger group from two households
  • Customers do not have to buy a substantial meal to have an alcoholic drink and there is no curfew but people have to be seated when ordering and eating or drinking
  • Two specified people can visit care home residents
  • Children can attend indoor children’s activities, including sport
  • Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five) can restart indoors
  • Self-catering holidays in the UK with your own household is allowed
  • Funerals of up to 30 people. Weddings and wakes of up to 15 people
  • Driving lessons are allowed but tests can not take place until 22 April

What is still banned:

  • Indoor socialising continues to be prohibited – people should continue to keep their distance from anyone not in their household or support bubble
  • Foreign holidays remain illegal until at least 17 May
  • People are still barred from exercise classes
  • Museums, cinemas and children’s play areas remain closed
  • Most students can still not return to university

Step three – 17 May:

  • Outdoors, most social contact rules will be lifted, but gatherings of more than 30 will be illegal
  • Indoors, the rule of six or a larger group of up to two households will be allowed
  • Indoor hospitality – pubs, restaurants, cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, concert halls, children play areas, hotels, B&Bs, indoor exercise classes – will be allowed
  • Advice on social distancing between family and friends, including hugging, will be updated no later than 17 May
  • Large indoor performances and sporting events with a capacity of 1,000 people will be allowed
  • Outdoor large performances and sporting events will have a maximum capacity of 4,000 people or must only be half full, whichever is lower
  • Bigger sports stadiums will be allowed 10,000 people or can only be a quarter full, whichever is lower
  • Testing will be used to support these openings
  • Weddings, wedding receptions, wakes, funerals and christenings will be allowed with 30 people.

Step four – 21 June:

  • All legal limits on social contact removed
  • Government hopes to reopen nightclubs and lift restrictions on large events such as festivals
  • Testing could be used as a condition of entry
  • Ministers hope to remove restrictions on weddings

Yet to be decided

There are a few rules and issues that have not yet been agreed and will be subject to review during the easing of lockdown.

1. The one-metre plus rule, mandatory facemasks and working from home

The government hopes to conclude a review of this before step four.

2. Whether you can use proof of having a COVID-19 vaccine to enter mass events

The government hopes to set out the conclusion of a review prior to step four on whether vaccine or test certificates could be used to reopen the rest of the economy.

3. International travel

The government has said this will not resume before 17 May following a review that will be completed by 12 April.

4. Major events

The government has said testing could be used to ensure people can safely attend large events.


Wales is also enjoying renewed freedoms from today, with non-essential retail reopening and border restrictions eased to permit travel again with the rest of the UK and Ireland.

The next steps are as follows:

12 April

  • All students return to face-to-face learning
  • All "close contact services" reopen
  • All non-essential retail reopens
  • Driving lessons will be allowed but tests can not take place until 22 April
  • Wedding venue "show-arounds" by appointment are allowed

26 April

  • Organised outdoor activities for up to 30 people will be able to take place from April 26 instead of May 3.
  • Wedding receptions for up to 30 people will also be permitted outdoors

3 May

  • The reopening of gyms, leisure centres and fitness facilities will be allowed. This will include for individual or one-to-one training, but not exercise classes
  • An extended household rule will again allow two households to meet and have contact indoors
Northern Ireland

The Executive laid out a roadmap out of lockdown in nine different pathways, and today sees a further easing of restrictions.

The region’s current regulations will be reviewed on 15 April.

Decisions on moving between stages will be based on scientific and medical evidence, ministers have said.

The steps are as follows:

12 April

  • Up to 10 people from no more than two households can meet in a private garden
  • All remaining students return to face-to-face teaching
  • Click and collect services at all non-essential retail resume
  • Outdoor retail, such as car washes; car and caravan retailers; garden centres and plant nurseries are permitted to reopen
  • Up to 15 people (including coaches) can take part in outdoor sports training, through clubs or recognised organisations
  • The number permitted to attend weddings and civil partnerships is to be informed by a risk assessment for the venue


The stay-at-home rule has already been replaced with a "stay local" message and Scots are allowed to meet in bigger groups – up to four people from two households can meet outdoors.

For children aged between 12 and 17, outdoor meetings are now limited to four people, but these can be from up to four households.

On Monday 5 April, a phased reopening of non-essential retail began, barbers and salons reopened, along with click-and-collect retail services, garden centres, car dealerships and homeware shops.

More students returned to face-to-face learning, particularly those in college.

The next steps are as follows:

26 April

  • Scotland will come out of lockdown and into a "modified Level 3"
  • Six people from up to three households can meet outside
  • Travel restrictions across the country will end
  • Non-essential shops, libraries, museums, galleries and gyms can reopen
  • Cafes, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors, in groups of up to six from three different households, until 10pm
  • Alcohol will be allowed and there will be no requirement for food to be served
  • Hospitality venues can reopen until 8pm, but only for food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Driving lessons can take place from this date at the earliest but tests will not be allowed until 6 May

17 May

  • Scotland will move from Level 3 to Level 2
  • Indoor socialising set to be allowed, with four people from two households permitted to gather
  • Rules around outdoor mixing also set to be eased further
  • Pubs will be allowed to reopen indoors
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls will be able to reopen
  • Outdoor contact sport for adults set to return


  • Scotland will move to Level 1 at the start of the month, before dropping to Level 0 before the end of June
  • First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she cannot say when restrictions will be scrapped entirely.

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