Big changes to Covid restrictions are being made in England and Scotland on Monday, 19 July.
Changes take place in Wales on 17 July, with Northern Ireland set to ease rules on 26 July.
What’s changing in England on 19 July?
- No limits on how many people can meet
- 1m-plus guidance removed (except in some places like hospitals and passport control when entering)
- Face coverings no longer required by law, although the government still “expects and recommends” them in crowded and enclosed spaces
- Some shops and transport operators will still require masks
Events and gatherings
- Guidance recommending against travel to amber list countries removed
- Under-18s and fully vaccinated adults no longer have to self-isolate after visiting amber list countries
Limits on visitors to care homes will be removed.
From 16 August, most Covid restrictions in schools – including “bubbles” – will end.
From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.
What guidance remains in place in England?
People should continue to meet others outside where possible.
Businesses such as nightclubs – and large events – will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass to check people are fully vaccinated. However, they won’t legally have to do so.
People working from home will be encouraged to return to the workplace gradually.
How are the rules changing in Scotland on 19 July?
All of Scotland will be in Covid protection level 0 on 19 July.
- Up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors at home
- Up to 10 people from up to four households can meet in a public indoor space
- Up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors – whether in a private garden or public place (children aged 12 and under not counted)
- Up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals
- Two-hour slots to go to a pub or restaurant end, but customers to provide contact details and wear face coverings when not seated
- Soft play centres can open
- Capacity at events rises to 2,000 seated outdoors, 1,000 standing and 400 indoors
- People fully-vaccinated in the UK -and under-18s travelling with them – no longer have to quarantine after visiting an amber-list country
Guidance is expected on allowing fully vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation after close contact with positive cases.
The government is also considering removing the self-isolation requirement for school pupils.
What rules and guidance remain in Scotland?
- Masks compulsory on public transport and in shops “for some time”
- Hospitality venues to close at midnight
- Nightclubs and adult entertainment closed
- In indoor public places, social distancing changes from 2m (6ft) to 1m including between different household groups
- Outdoor group gatherings limited to 15 people from up to 15 households – no social distancing required within the group, but 1m required between different groups
- People should carry on working from home
The government hopes to lift most remaining restrictions on 9 August.
How are the rules changing in Wales?
Wales moves to Alert Level 1 on 17 July:
- Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
- Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing
- Ice rinks can reopen
- No limits on how many people can meet outdoors in public places, or at events
The six-person limit does not apply if everyone is from the same or extended household.
From 19 July, adults returning from amber-list countries no longer have to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and nor will under-18s travelling with them.
The government hopes to move to Alert Level 0 on 7 August. This would mean:
- All premises can open, including nightclubs, with most restrictions replaced by risk assessments
- No legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors, including private homes
Face coverings will continue to be required in most indoor public places and on public transport for the present time.
How are the rules changing in Northern Ireland?
Restrictions will be eased further on 26 July, if approved at a review on 22 July.
- Fully vaccinated people and under-18s returning from amber list countries will not have to quarantine
- Theatres and other indoor seated venues will be able to reopen
- Live music indoors with no restrictions on sound levels
- 10 people from three households able to meet inside a private home
- 15 people from any number of households able to meet in a private garden
- Social distancing reduced to 1m indoors and removed for outdoor activities (although 2m distance still recommended)
What about areas of England with high numbers of Indian/Delta variant cases?
- meet friends and family outside
- keep 2m (6ft) apart from people you don’t live or bubble with
- minimise travel in and out of affected areas
These are Bedford, Birmingham, Blackburn with Darwen, Blackpool, Brighton and Hove, Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Greater Manchester, Lancashire (county council area), Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, St Helens, Wirral), Oxford City and Warrington.
North Tyneside, Leicester, Kirklees and the London Borough of Hounslow were previously on the list.
It is not clear whether this additional guidance will remain in place after 19 July.
- TRAVEL: What are the rules for travelling abroad?
- VACCINE: How many people in the UK have been jabbed so far?
- TREATMENT: What progress are we making on treatments?
- FACE MASKS: When do I need to wear one?
- TESTING: How do I get a test?