What are the new lockdown rules across the UK?

Britain will return to many of the toughest restrictions imposed in March as the new variant of coronavirus spreads rapidly nationwide.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England will be placed under a third national lockdown in a televised address on Monday.

The new tougher restrictions will come into law in the early hours of 6 January and are expected to last until mid-February, he said.

Separate lockdown rules are being imposed by the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Here is a breakdown of the restrictions across all four nations:


The whole of England will move into tougher restrictions, they are:

• Stay at home – this has been put into law so fines will apply if you do not have a relevant excuse

• Exemptions include people going out to collect food, medical supplies or travelling for work or childcare purposes

• You can only meet one person outside your house for exercise and try to limit to once a day and in local area – picnics or meeting for a drink is not permitted

• Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes closed, except for takeaway until 11pm

• Alcohol no longer allowed to take away

• Those who previously shielded should not leave home apart from for exercise and medical appointments

• Extremely clinically vulnerable should not work if unable to do so from home

• From 5 January all colleges, primary and secondary schools will move to remote working until February half-term

• Vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers can continue going to school

• University students will not be able to return to campus, but learning can take place remotely

• No overnight stays away from home

• Work from home unless impossible to do so

• Outdoor sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools and driving ranges closed

• Outdoor team sports not allowed

• Non-essential retail closed

• Indoor entertainment closed

• Personal care sector closed

• Communal worship can take place

• Funerals limited to 30 people

• Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes limited to six people

• International travel banned unless for essential work purposes

• Visits to care homes allowed with screens, visiting pods or behind windows, but indoor visits banned


Mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye will go into lockdown at 00.01am on 5 January, with a “legal obligation” to stay at home – apart from leaving for essential purposes.

Schools will remain closed until 1 February, with pupils learning remotely from 11 January when the extended Christmas holidays end.

The other new rules are:

• Stay at home and only leave for an essential purpose, i.e. for caring responsibilities or essential shopping

• Work from home unless it really is not possible

• Businesses must look at moving as much as possible to being done from home

• If you are shielding and you cannot work from home, it is advised that you do not work at all

• Frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited

• Only two people from two households can meet outdoors. Children under 11 do not count

• No one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose

• Communal worship cannot take place but 20 people can attend a funeral and five can attend a wedding

• Community and social support services open for those who need them

The islands of Orkney, Shetland, Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree, Ulva, Na h-Eileanan Siar and all of the Highlands will remain in Level 3 for now.


All of Wales has been under Level 4 restrictions since 28 December.

Welsh schools and colleges will not open until 18 January, but no other changes to the rules have been announced.

The current restrictions are:

• No meeting anyone outside your household indoors or outdoors, except for support bubbles

• Work from home if you can

• Stay at home apart from collecting food, medical supplies or for work or childcare purposes

• Pubs, restaurants and bars must close, but can remain open for takeaway

• Alcohol can only be sold for takeaway between 10am and 6pm

• No international travel without a reasonable excuse

• Schools and colleges will operate remotely until 18 January

• Universities can open but learning will be remote

• Nurseries can remain open

• Places of worship can stay open

• Community centres can open for essential public services

• Playgrounds and public parks can remain open

• Theatres, libraries, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and visitor attractions must close

• Leisure centres, gyms, sports courts and golf courses must close

• Non-essential retail closed

• Hair, beauty and close contact services closed

• Hotels and holiday accommodation can only open for work or emergency stays

• Wedding receptions and wakes cannot take place

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has been subject to a six-week lockdown since 26 December.

First Minister Arlene Foster said she would “deeply regret” schools having to close, but on medical advice, they may have to in the coming days.

The current rules are:

• No mixing households indoors, except for support bubbles

• Households can form a support bubble with one other household, providing the number of people does not exceed 10

• Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors or in a private garden

• Children aged 12 and under are not included in this number

• Do not stay overnight away from home

• Weddings and funerals can take place with up to 25 people

• Avoid any unnecessary travel outside work, education or childcare purposes

• Primary schools will operate remotely from 11 January, secondary schools for all of January

• Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars closed, with exception of takeaway

• Takeaway premises must close by 11pm and alcohol sales must stop at 8pm

• Hotels and holiday accommodation only allowed to open for essential purposes

• All non-essential retail closed

• All hair, beauty and close contact services closed

• All indoor and outdoor entertainment premises closed

• Outdoor parks, play areas and national parks are allowed to open

• Leisure centres, gyms and sports facilities closed – indoors and outdoors

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