Where are the local coronavirus lockdown restrictions and what are the current UK-wide Covid rules?

A social distancing sign in Leeds city centre, West Yorkshire, where tougher lockdown measures may be introduced locally after a rise in coronavirus infections.
You must continue to observe social distancing rules. Credit: PA

Restrictions are in place across the country to curb the rise in coronavirus cases, while further rules have been imposed at a local level. Prime minister Boris Johnson announced national changes at a press conference after the number of positive Covid-19 cases rose to almost 3,000. The legal limit on social gatherings was reduced to six on September 14. This will applies to gatherings indoors and outdoors - including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.

On top of national restrictions, local ones are in place in parts of the North East, North West, Midlands, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The government are anxious to avoid a repeat of the coronavirus peak in April. Credit: PA

Health secretary Matt Hancock have repeatedly reiterated the importance of young people continuing to follow the advice and warned against complacency around virus measures, particularly from young people.

However complacency isn't the only problem - many of us simply do not know what the current rules are.

As the country began moving tentatively out of lockdown in May, restrictions have changed frequently - and often confusingly. Do you know how many households can meet indoors? Can you hug friends and family now? Can you congregate in large groups outside? Here is what you can and can not do in most parts of England under current coronavirus restrictions - although there are local variations.

  • Where are the local lockdown restrictions and what do they mean?

Local lockdowns and tougher restrictions have been introduced in the last couple of months in a bid to control the virus - what Boris Johnson called a 'whack-a-mole' approach. Currently, these areas are:

Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough: Matt Hancock announced on 1 October that measures already in place across parts of the North East of England (see below) would be extended further. This means regulations across Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough will prevent - in law - social mixing between people in different households in all settings except outdoor public spaces like parks and outdoor hospitality i.e a pub garden. These restrictions come into force at midnight on the 3 October.

People are being urged to respect the rules in order to avoid more local lockdowns. Credit: PA Images

He "recommended" people only visit care homes in exceptional circumstances, while there will be guidance against all but essential travel.

Caerphilly, Wales: People can not enter or leave the area without a reasonable excuse after the restrictions came into force at 6pm on Tuesday until October “at the very least”, Wales’s health minister said.

Everyone over the age of 11 will be required to wear face coverings in shops – the first time this will be mandatory in Wales.

Meetings with other people indoors and extended households will not be allowed, while overnight stays have also been banned.

A member of the public with a face covering in Glasgow Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

North East England: Anyone living in the north eastern regions of Newcastle, Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Gateshead, County Durham and Sunderland will have to follow a new set of restrictions from September 18.

Mixing in between households is banned, unless a social bubble is already in place and all leisure and entertainment businesses have been told they must close from 10pm to 5am.

On top of that, hospitality businesses are restricted to table service only.

Western Scotland: Lockdown restrictions on household visits across Glasgow, East Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire have been continued for a further week.

The restrictions bar people from visiting separate households in these parts of the country, while also prohibiting them from visiting homes in other local authorities which have not been impacted.

The measures also mean indoor visits to hospitals and care homes will be limited to essential visits only to protect the most vulnerable.

Belfast and Ballymena: There must be no mixing of households in private homes. There are some exemptions, including for those in bubbles, carers, essential maintenance. No more than six people, who can only come from two households can gather in a private garden.

Bolton: Hospitality venues are being restricted to take away only and late night restrictions have been placed on businesses meaning all must close from 10pm to 5am.

It has also been made illegal for people to socialise with anyone outside their household after the government turned previous advice into law.

Mobile advertising campaigns have been underway in Greater Manchester in an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus. Credit: PA

Parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston, and West Yorkshire: If people live in one of the affected areas they must not host people they do not live with in their home or garden, unless they are in their support bubble.

Blackburn, Oldham and Pendle: Again, there is a ban on two households mixing indoors or in a garden.

People should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.

And in specific areas with additional restrictions, people should not socialise with people they do not live with at indoor public venues or outdoor venues such as parks.

Leicester: People should not have visitors to their homes or socialise with people they do not live with in other indoor public venues such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions.

They also should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances.

The Government is likely to impose restrictions on Liverpool on Friday. Credit: Unsplash

Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull: Like with other regions, people must not host those they do not live with in homes or gardens, unless they’re in a support bubble. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight and visit public places together. The restrictions affect around 1.6 million people and the postcode criteria for the new rules means that some streets have been split - with the new rules only applying to residents on one side of the road.

Lancashire and Merseyside: More parts of the North West of England look set to be slapped with further restrictions from Friday.

LancsLive reported a local lockdown would forbid households from mixing in any setting in all of the county’s boroughs apart from parts of Blackpool.

Nine of the 10 areas with the highest infection rates are in the North West.

  • What are the coronavirus rules across all parts of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales?

You need to wear a face covering in most situations

In England, Scotland and Northern Ireland you must wear a face covering on public transport, in shops and supermarkets, galleries, museums, takeaway cafes (but you're not if you're sitting in), galleries and in places of worship.

In Wales, you must wear a three-layered face covering on public transport and are advised to wear a face covering in crowded areas.

Social distancing and regular hand hygiene remain the best defences in stemming the spread of the infection, but in situations, such as in shops, where it is not always possible to stay two metres, or one metre plus, from your fellow shoppers, a face covering adds an extra layer of protection.

Face coverings are mandatory in shops and other indoor spaces. Credit: PA

We still need to social distanceTwo metres remains the preferred distance that you must stand from people who are not in your household or bubble.

This means you should not be hugging friends or family you do not live with or who are not in your bubble.

While you can eat and drink, and even stay over, together, you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble.

As pubs, cafes, restaurants and museums have opened up, the two metres has become harder to maintain.

It is also difficult to stand the prescribed distance, in which case you should stand and take precautions, including standing side-by-side and wearing a face covering.

Eat Out to Help Out encouraged people back to restaurants. Credit: PA

The rules on social gatherings:


While you can meet up anywhere - public or private, indoors or out - with friends and family, you can only meet up with one other household (your support bubble counts as one household) inside - and this includes when dining out or going to the pub.

You should not interact socially with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship.

Until Monday, it remains lawful to meet in groups of up to 30 people. However, from Monday September 14, this will be limited to six.

The government has also introduced fines of up to £10,000 for those who hold or are involved in illegal gatherings of over 30 people.


In Scotland, people from three households can meet indoors but they must keep a social distance of two metres from people in other households at all times.

This limit applies to meeting indoors in other settings such as a pub, restaurant or cafe.

Until Monday September 14, it remains lawful for eight people from a maximum of three households to meet, in most cases.

From Monday, a maximum of six people can meet from two households, with the rule applying both in people’s homes and also public places, including cafes, bars or restaurants.


The Welsh government is urging people not to gather indoors with anyone who is not a member of their own household (or extended household) without a good reason. Groups of more than 30 people must not gather outdoors - it remains to be seen whether the Welsh government follows the UK Government and reduces the limit to six.

Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, you should not be socialising outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than six should only take place if everyone is from exclusively from two households or support bubbles.

Despite the one household at a time rule, you can meet up with more than one household in a day, so, in theory you could invite your parents around for coffee in the morning and meet friends who live together in the afternoon.

Customers at a pub in Edinburgh Credit: Jane Barlow/PA

Can I stay at a friend's or with family overnight?

Yes, you can spend the night away from your home with other members of your own household or support bubble.

But, again, no touching and do take hygiene and safety precautions even if they may seem jarring among close friends and family.

If possible, avoid sharing plates and utensils and perhaps take your own towels. You can sit down and eat together, but again, refrain from sitting too close.

What can't I do?

Get too close. Social distancing remains one of our greatest defences against the virus so do keep to two metres if you can, or, if not, one metre plus.

Meet more than one household indoors. And remember, you can only meet up with one other household at once, unless you’re outdoors and there are no more than six of you.

But you can see more than one household on a given day. Just not at the same time.