Please find below the current restrictions in your area, and what has changed in recent weeks.
- people are asked not to have indoor gatherings with more than three households – and to test before meeting
- face coverings are compulsory on public transport and most indoor spaces
- Limits on the size of indoor events – 100 standing or 200 seated
- shops and businesses to take measures to limit the spread of covid, including implementing social distancing measures and mask wearing
- The country’s covid certification scheme will remain in place, meaning people must provide proof of their vaccination status or a recent negative test
- From January 17, anyone who had their second dose more than four months ago must also have received a booster to be considered fully vaccinated
- employers have a legal duty to let staff work from home where possible
- care home visits limited to two households (who must test first)
Across the UK, people who test positive for Covid can now end self-isolation after seven days instead of the previous 10, subject to two negative lateral flow test (LFT) results on days six and seven.
While case rates remain high, people without Covid symptoms who have a positive LFT do not need a PCR test to confirm their covid status.
What are the current rules in England?
England moved to “Plan B” in December 2021, introducing more restrictive measures which include:
- compulsory face coverings in most indoor public venues, including theatres and cinemas – as well as on public transport and in shops and hairdressers – but not in pubs or restaurants, or venues such as gyms where it’s “not practical”
- people should work from home “if they can”, and are advised to take lateral flow tests (LFTs) before entering any “high-risk setting”, including busy areas and some workplaces
- people must show that they’re vaccinated, have recently tested negative (or are exempt) to gain entry to nightclubs and large-scale events
- all school staff and secondary school pupils should take two lateral flow tests (LFTs) a week, and secondary school pupils have to wear face coverings in class until 26 January at the earliest
New rules were introduced after Christmas, including:
- social distancing of 2m (6ft) in all premises open to the public and workplaces, where reasonable
- gatherings limited to six people in premises such as hospitality venues, cinemas and theatres
- licensed premises to take additional measures to protect customers and staff, including table service and collecting contact details
- large events not allowed – with maximum numbers of 30 at an indoor event and 50 outdoors
- nightclubs must close
- large sporting events to be played behind closed doors
For smaller sporting events, up to 50 spectators are allowed. There is an exception for events involving children.
Other measures include:
- NHS Covid Pass needed for entry to cinemas, theatres and concert halls, and many other events
- working from home wherever possible
- compulsory face coverings in schools, on public transport, and in shops and hospitals
- secondary school pupils are asked to test for Covid three times a week
- advice to wear masks in pubs and restaurants, when not eating or drinking
First Minister Paul Givan has announced no further covid restrictions are currently necessary, with no plans to tighten existing controls.
New rules introduced after Christmas include:
- nightclubs are closed
- dancing in all hospitality venues not allowed
- all indoor standing events not allowed
- hospitality venues including pubs, cafes and restaurants can offer table service only
- in hospitality venues a maximum of six people (or 10 from a single household) allowed at a table (excluding children aged 12 and under)
- businesses must take measures to achieve 2m social distancing and limit the spread of Covid in office spaces
- businesses to promote use of face coverings
These measures do not apply to weddings or civil partnership celebrations.
Household mixing should also be limited to a maximum of three households, the government says.
Other measures include:
- face coverings compulsory in shops, indoor-seated venues and visitor attractions, public transport and some other settings
- post-primary pupils must wear a face covering inside school buildings, as well as on school transport. Staff are encouraged to wear masks in school areas where they can’t socially distance
- Covid passport scheme for venues including bars and cinemas
- Face masks must be worn in certain settings. They can be removed for consumption of food or drinks
- No indoor events, including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, will take place after 8pm. Events earlier in the day are limited to 50 per cent of capacity or 1,000 attendees, including cinemas.
This does not affect religious, educational, or normal workplace business activity and business events such as conferences or trade fairs
- Contact tracing remains in place
- Visits to private homes should include a maximum of three external households – so four households together in total.
- All sit-in restaurants, bars and cafes close at 8pm. This includes hotel restaurants and bars, except for those staying in the hotel
- Attendance at outdoor events, including entertainment, cultural, community and sporting events, should be limited to 50% of venue capacity or 5,000 attendees, whichever is the lower
- The Irish government says: “Organisers of indoor and outdoor group activities should ensure appropriate protective measures are in place. Where indoor groups have a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated people indoors, pods of six should apply
Social distancing is required, including in hotels (reverting to pre-22 October measures):
- COVID pass required
- table service only (no counter service)
- One metre between tables
- maximum six adults per table (maximum 15 persons when including children aged 12 and younger)
- no multiple table bookings and no intermingling
- masks when not seated at table
EU Digital COVID Certificate: An EU Digital COVID Certificate (COVID pass) (vaccine or recovery certificate) is required for:
- indoor hospitality and events
- cinemas and theatres
- gyms and leisure centres (excluding access to swimming pools or standalone swimming pool facilities)
- hotel bars and restaurants (that is, removing exemption for residents)
It remains the responsibility of retailers to promote safe covid practices. This includes encouraging mask wearing, social distancing and the inclusion of protective equipment, such as screens.
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