Covid: What are the restrictions in the different parts of the UK?

Credit: PA

The UK nations have all come up with their own set of restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus this winter.

It can be hard to keep track of all the different rules across each country, so we've put it all in one place.

Here are the restrictions in place in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tougher three-tier system England will enter when lockdown ends on December 2.

Under the new rules in all tiers, schools remain open, but gatherings of more than six people will be banned and people living in Tier 2 or 3 can only meet outdoors.

All retail, leisure and personal care services are able to reopen, but there are nuances between the different tiers.

Tier 1

  • People can meet family or friends indoors or outdoors – but the rule of six applies

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants can reopen, but table service only and they must stop taking orders at 10pm – before closing at 11pm

  • Overnight stays will be permitted if they are limited to a support bubble, household or up to six people

  • Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with more than six people

  • Hairdressers, beauty salons, cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos can reopen

Tier 2

  • No mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles, and maximum of six outdoors

  • Pubs and bars must close unless they serve 'substantial meals' and venues must stop taking orders by 10pm and close at 11pm

  • Overnight stays will only be permitted for those in the same household or support bubble and accommodation can open

  • Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble

  • Hairdressers, beauty salons, cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos can reopen

Tier 3

  • No mixing of households indoors, and groups of six will only be able to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and sports courts – but not in private gardens

  • All pubs, bars and restaurants must close and can only operate as takeaways

  • Gyms and other forms of indoor leisure are allowed to remain open but group activities must not happen

  • Indoor entertainment venues – such as cinemas, theatres, bowling alleys and casinos – will remain closed

  • No overnight stays will be permitted outside the local area, except for work or education, with accommodation to stay close

Find out more information on the new tier system here.


Scotland has introduced a five-level system to control Covid-19, with Level 0 at one end of the scale, and Level 4 indicating the strictest coronavirus restrictions.

Nicola Sturgeon announced that because of “stubbornly high” Covid infection rates, a total of 11 council areas would move into Level 4 restrictions.

Non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, bars, gyms, hairdressers and visitor attractions had to shut in 11 local authorities from November 20 for three weeks until December 11.

Under Level 4 restrictions, no households can mix indoors, but schools will remain open, up to six people from two households are still allowed to meet outdoors, there is no limit on outdoor exercise and takeaways remain open.

East Lothian moved down to Level 2 on November 24, but Midlothian, which had been due to move down a protection level remains at Level 3 because of an increase in positive cases.

People living under Level 4 or Level 3 restrictions should not travel outside their council area, except for limited essential purposes.

Ms Sturgeon has made the rule law, so people face fines if they venture out of their local authority area.

Which level is my area in?

-Level 4 - City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian until December 11.

-Level 3 - Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, City of Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Inverclyde, Midlothian, North Ayrshire, Perth & Kinross.

-Level 2 – City of Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, Argyll & Bute, Dumfries & Galloway, East Lothian and Scottish Borders.

-Level 1 – Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Highland, Moray, Orkney Islands, Shetland Islands, Western Isles.

Scotland's 5-level system to control Covid-19 explained

Level 0/Baseline

  • Up to eight people from three households can meet indoors

  • Up to 15 people from five households can meet outdoors

Level 1

  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors

Level 2

  • No households can mix indoors

  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors

  • Hospitality venues can open only if serving alcohol with meals

Level 3

  • No households can mix indoors

  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors

  • Entertainment venues closed

  • Pubs and restaurants can open until 6pm for food/non-alcoholic drinks only

Level 4

  • No households can mix indoors

  • Up to six people from two households can meet outdoors

  • All non-essential shops and businesses closed

  • All entertainment and public buildings closed

  • Public transport to be used only for essential journeys

A total of 11 council areas in Scotland have moved into Level 4 restrictions. Credit: PA


Wales had been under a 17-day fire-break lockdown from October 23 until November 9, but new national rules are now in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Under the new regulations, schools have reopened, people can now travel anywhere they want within Wales, all businesses - including pubs, hairdressers and gyms - have been allowed to reopen, and people are now able to reform 'bubbles' with one other household.

Up to 15 people can meet indoors for organised activities, 30 people can meet outdoors for organised activities.

However people are not allowed to travel to and from England, unless there is a ‘reasonable excuse’ and people are told to still work from home.

Northern Ireland

New tougher restrictions will be introduced in Northern Ireland from 00.01 GMT on Friday November 27.

Under the rules, pubs, restaurants, close contact services and non-essential retail, leisure and entertainment facilities, and churches will have to close.

The hospitality sector can still offer takeaway, drive-through or delivery during the restrictions, but they must close by 11pm.

People are unable to mix with another household indoors, but exemptions apply and ‘bubbling’ with one other household of any size is allowed.

But indoor meetings between households in the bubble are limited to a maximum of 10 people, including children, at any one time.

Off-licences and supermarkets must not sell alcohol after 8pm.

Food and drink served in motorway services, airports and harbour terminals remain open.

Schools and childcare will remain open, along with public parks and outdoor play areas.

But people are advised to stay at home, work from home if possible, otherwise only leave for essential purposes such as education, healthcare needs, to care for others or outdoor exercise.