Steve April 16, 2021

People in Scotland are now allowed to meet up in larger groups outdoors.

Meanwhile, more details have emerged of how Northern Ireland will ease restrictions in the month to come.

How have lockdown rules changed in Scotland?

  • Travel now allowed anywhere within Scotland (but staying away from your local council area overnight not permitted)
  • Outdoor mixing (six people from up to six households) allowed
  • Outdoors non-contact group sports for 12 to 17-year-olds can resume
  • Shops, garden centres (indoor and outdoor), key cutters and homeware stores all open
  • Non-essential click-and-collect can resume
  • Hairdressers and barbers (but not mobile services) already open for pre-booked appointments
  • Communal worship (up to 50 people with social distancing) allowed
  • All pupils back at school full-time from 19 April

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she is “extremely confident” that restrictions will be eased, taking those parts of Scotland currently under Covid protection level four rules down to level three.

That would bring mainland Scotland in line with Scottish island communities.

  • All shops and most close-contact services such as nail bars allowed to fully reopen (not mobile close-contact services, apart from hairdressers and barbers)
  • Six people (not including children under the age of 12) from two households can meet indoors in a public place – but not a private home
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors and offer food and non-alcoholic drinks – they must shut by 18:00
  • Hotels, B&Bs, self-catering, caravan and camping sites can open – but you shouldn’t share self-catering accommodation with another household
  • Driving lessons and tests can take place
  • Travel ban to and from other parts of the UK expected to be lifted
  • All areas of Scotland should move to at least level two
  • Up to four people from no more than two households can socialise indoors in a private home
  • Hospitality venues return to “greater normality”, possibly serving alcohol indoors until 22:30 – customers may be asked to book two-hour slots
  • Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart
  • Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can reopen
  • It’s hoped all areas of Scotland in level two will move to level one
  • Up to six people from up to three households can socialise indoors in a private home
  • Up to eight people from three households can socialise indoors in a public place
  • A maximum of 12 people from 12 households can socialise outdoors
  • Hospitality can remain open until 23:00
  • A maximum of 100 people at weddings, funerals and other life events
  • It’s hoped all areas of Scotland in level one will move to level zero

How are lockdown rules changing in Northern Ireland?

The stay-at-home order has been replaced by guidance to “stay local”

  • Ten people from two households can meet up in private gardens
  • Non-essential shops can offer click-and-collect
  • Outdoor retail is open – including new and used car sales, garden centres and car washes
  • All school pupils are returning to class teaching
  • Sports training with up to 15 people has resumed
  • Communal worship has resumed
  • Weddings and funerals can take place – but not receptions or wakes
  • Hairdressers will be allowed to reopen, as will other close contact services such as beauty and nail salons (including mobile services)
  • Organised outdoor sport will be extended to include squad training
  • Competitive organised outdoor sport can restart – numbers limited to 100 and no spectators allowed
  • Driving lessons and tests can resume
  • Up to 15 people from three households can meet outdoors, including in a private garden
  • All non-essential retail will reopen
  • Pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants can operate outdoors – customers must be seated, with a maximum of six people from two households at each table
  • It will not be necessary to have a substantial meal in order to have an alcoholic drink, and pre-booking at bars will not be required
  • The closing time of 23:00 BST for takeaways and 20:00 for off-licences and selling of alcohol will be removed
  • Gyms and swimming pools will reopen for individual exercise
  • Self-contained holiday accommodation – such as static caravans and holiday homes – can reopen
  • Outdoor visitor attractions can reopen

From 24 May (at the earliest):

The Northern Ireland Executive has given this as a provisional date when more restrictions might be lifted, including:

  • Reopening of indoor hospitality, including pubs and hotels
  • Resumption of indoor group exercise
  • Some indoor mixing of households
  • Reopening of B&Bs and hotels
  • Restarting of wedding receptions and funeral wakes
  • Reopening of indoor visitor attractions (for instance, museums or skating rinks)

What are the rules in England?

  • Six people or two households can meet outside – including in private gardens
  • Mixing indoors with people not in your household or bubble still not allowed
  • All shops, hairdressers, beauty salons and other close-contact services now open
  • Restaurants and pubs can serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors
  • Zoos and theme parks open
  • Indoor children’s activities, libraries and community centres open
  • Indoor sports facilities including gyms and swimming pools open for individual exercise
  • Holidays in England in self-contained accommodation by members of the same household allowed
  • Non-essential journeys between England and Wales allowed
  • Weddings – up to 15 people
  • Funerals – up to 30 people, with 15 at wakes
  • Two care home visitors per resident
  • Driving lessons have resumed – with driving tests restarting on 22 April

Stage three (no earlier than 17 May):

  • People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
  • Six people or two households can meet indoors
  • Domestic overnight stays allowed with people not in your household or bubble
  • Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
  • Up to 30 people can attend weddings or other life events, like christenings
  • Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
  • Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
  • Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers
  • Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
  • International leisure travel may resume
  • Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart

image copyrightGetty Images

What are the four tests for easing restrictions?

  • The coronavirus vaccine programme continues to go to plan
  • Vaccines are sufficiently reducing the number of people dying or needing hospital treatment
  • Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospital admissions
  • New coronavirus variants do not fundamentally change the risk of lifting restrictions

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionCovid-secure guided tour at the Globe Theatre on London’s South Bank

Stage four (no earlier than 21 June):

  • It’s hoped all legal limits on social contact will be removed
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events
  • Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen

What are the rules in Wales?

  • Six people from two different households (not counting children under 11) can meet and exercise outdoors and in private gardens.
  • Households or support bubbles can holiday in self-contained accommodation – including hotels with en-suite facilities.
  • All pupils and students can now return to school, college and other education.
  • All shops and close-contact services can open
  • The ban on travelling in and out of Wales has ended
  • Driving lessons can resume and some driving tests (remainder on 22 April)
  • Outdoor hospitality, including cafes, pubs and restaurants can open
  • Outdoor attractions, including funfairs and theme parks can open
  • Organised outdoor activities and wedding receptions for up to 30 people can resume
  • Children’s indoor activities can resume
  • Community centres can open
  • Organised indoor activities for adults, limited to a maximum of 15 people; this includes exercise classes

Pubs, cafes and restaurants could be allowed to reopen indoors in time for the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of May – but a decision won’t be taken until at least 17 May.

Read the current lockdown rules:

from the BBC

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