Covid: What has changed across the UK as lockdown eased from April 12

Pubs, shops and hairdressers have reopened. Credit: PA

England has taken its next step out of coronavirus lockdown, as of Monday, giving millions of people a portion of their freedom back.

Confirming he was sticking to his roadmap for lifting restrictions, Boris Johnson thanked the public for their patience, "because it is really clear now that this is paying off".

Most people will know pub beer gardens have reopened - but what other rules were eased from April 12?

Hairdressers and beauty parlours

After months of letting lockdown locks grow, people across England could finally get their hair cut by a professional from Monday. Beauty parlours and nail salons could also reopen.

Restrictions still in force mean staff members will be required to wear PPE to minimise coronavirus risks, while customers will only be allowed to enter indoor premises alone or with household groups.

Haircuts are back on the agenda. Credit: PA

Hospitality: Pubs and restaurants

The weather may not be the best, but that won't stop many Britons from hitting the beer gardens.

A change in hospitality restrictions means pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars are allowed to host parties of up to six, or of two households, in outdoor areas.

This time there is no requirement for a substantial meals to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew, but the requirement to eat and drink while seated remains.

While you won't need to social distance from those you're in attendance with, the two metre rule is still in force for anyone else you may come into contact with while there.

Pub gardens reopened on 12 April. Credit: PA

Non essential shops

Non-essential retail, including clothes shops, reopened, bringing some relief to the embattled high street.

Face coverings are mandatory for anyone who is not exempt and social distancing rules remain in force.

Sales at Primark in Birmingham are likely to be sky high after it was allowed to reopen. Credit: PA

Self-contained holidays

Despite a lack of clarity over travel abroad, holidaymakers in England are allowed to book a domestic trip, though there are restrictions.

Overnight stays are once again permitted, but this must be restricted to members of the same household or support bubble, who are allowed to use accommodation that does not involve shared indoor facilities.

Holidaymakers may be encouraged to spend their summer at UK destinations, such as Bournemouth beach, if international travel is restricted Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

Outdoor attractions

Due to coronavirus being less transmissible outdoors, the majority of outdoor attractions were also allowed to reopen on Monday.

This includes zoos, safari parks theme parks, botanic gardens, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.

Gyms and leisure facilities

Fitness fanatics can stop using outdoor park gyms and get back to pumping iron indoors.

Along with gyms, indoor swimming pools reopened.

Saunas and steam rooms are not part of this reopening and will remain closed until the next step out of lockdown.

Gyms can reopen from Monday. Credit: PA Images

Public buildings

Some public buildings such as libraries and community centres were also allowed to reopen, but others including museums and art galleries remain closed.

Life events

While funerals can continue with up to 30 mourners, the number of people able to attend weddings, receptions and commemorative events such as wakes rose to 15.

People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes.

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What doesn't change?

There are no changes to social contact rules, meaning people are still required to stay two metres from one another.

People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays are still illegal.

Outdoor gatherings must still be limited to six people or two households, and you must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble with.

What's happening in the other nations?


This week's easing of lockdown relaxations from April 12 went ahead as planned. All school pupils and post-16 learners returned to face-to-face teaching. Non-essential shops and close contact services also reopened. And travel to and from Wales within the rest of the UK and the Republic of Ireland was permitted.

Some lockdown restrictions are to be eased a week ahead of their original roadmap schedule, the Welsh Government has said.

Outdoor activities and outdoor wedding receptions - both to include up to 30 people - will be allowed to restart on April 26.

Two households will be able to meet up indoors from May 3, allowing two households to form an extended household.

Gyms and leisure centres can reopen earlier than planned for individual exercise and one-to-one training on May 3. They had originally been due to open again on May 10.


In March, all primary pupils returned to full time teaching and secondary schools on a blended basis, with secondary pupils going back to class full time over the weeks of April 12 and 19.

The stay at home message was changed on April 2 to 'stay local' - and that lasts for three weeks.

Hairdressers and barbers opened in Scotland for pre-booked appointments on April 5. Click-and-collect shopping also resumed, and homeware shops and garden centres began welcoming back customers.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on April 13 the easing of more rules from April 16: people will be able to leave their local authority area for socialising, recreation or exercise, but travel between the mainland and some islands will not be permitted. Rules on gatherings will also be relaxed, with six adults from up to six households able to meet up outside.

And from April 26, up to four people from two households can socialise indoors in a public place, such as a cafe or restaurant. Pubs and restaurants, gyms, non-essential shops and indoor attractions (such as galleries, museums and libraries) can reopen. Hotels can reopen with restrictions in place. Driving lessons and tests can resume.

Funerals and weddings can take place with up to 50 people, but no alcohol may be served.

Travel will also be allowed from April 26 to other parts of Britain, with reviews planned on journeys to Northern Ireland and the Republic.

From May 17, up to four people from two households can meet indoors, pubs and restaurants can open later with relaxed rules on alcohol. Cinemas can reopen. Indoor group exercise and outdoor adult contact sport can restart. Universities and colleges can return to a more blended model of learning, and communal worship can increase.

Rules will be relaxed even further in early and late June.

Northern Ireland:

Northern Ireland followed a similar pattern to England from April 12, with various outdoor-based business such as garden centres reopening.

The executive is due to report on April 15 on the next stages to ease curbs on other business areas such a hairdressers, tourism, leisure and hospitality.