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Covid: What are the UK’s lockdown rules and when will they be reviewed?

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All of the UK is under a lockdown to try to bring down the rate of coronavirus and protect the NHS.

How do the rules vary between nations?

How long will lockdowns last?

When are children going back to school?

  • Wales – children aged three to seven will return on 22 February
  • Scotland – youngest pupils are likely to return to school full-time from 22 February
  • England – it’s hoped schools will begin reopening from 8 March
  • Northern Ireland – schools will remain closed until at least 8 March

What are England’s lockdown rules?

People must stay at home and only go out if you have “a reasonable excuse”.

You are not to meet people socially unless you live together or form a support bubble.

People breaking these rules can face fines, including an £800 penalty for those attending house parties of more than 15 people – and a £10,000 fine for the organisers.

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What’s a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home?

  • Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine
  • Meeting your support or childcare bubble
  • Children moving between separated parents
  • Working where it is “unreasonable” to work from home, for example nannies, cleaners and tradespeople
  • Education, training, childcare, medical appointments and emergencies
  • Religious worship
  • Moving house
  • Exercise once a day

You can exercise with one person from another household in an open public space.

Travel – internationally or around the UK – is only allowed if it is essential.

Pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops are closed, as are sports facilities including gyms and tennis courts.

Essential businesses and services can stay open – including:

  • Supermarkets, food shops, pharmacies and garden centres
  • Places of worship
  • Petrol stations and MOT services
  • Laundrettes
  • Banks and post offices
  • Doctors and dentists’ surgeries and vets
  • Car parks, public toilets and playgrounds

What are the rules in Wales?

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  • You must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • You can meet one friend from outside your household for exercise outdoors
  • Apart from that, you must not meet other households, unless they are in your support bubble
  • Wedding receptions and wakes are not allowed
  • No travel without reasonable excuse

The following must close:

  • Entertainment venues
  • Visitor attractions
  • Sport, leisure and fitness facilities
  • Pubs, bars and cafes (except for takeaway and delivery)
  • Hairdressers and nail salons
  • Non-essential shops (click and collect allowed)

What are the restrictions in Scotland?

Scotland has its own restriction levels – from zero to four.

Other island communities remain in level three.

“Enhanced” level four rules

  • Schools closed to all but vulnerable pupils and key workers’ children
  • People should only leave home for essential reasons such as caring responsibilities, essential shopping, or exercise
  • Anyone shielding should not go into work
  • Two people from up to two households can meet outdoors (under-11s are not included in the limit)
  • Places of worship closed except for weddings and funeral services
  • No travelling outside your own local authority area unless essential
  • No travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK unless the journey is essential
  • Only shops selling essential items are allowed to offer click and collect
  • Customers must collect takeaways outdoors, and cannot drink alcohol outdoors in public

Level three (very high) rules

  • Pubs and restaurants open until 18:00, but no alcohol
  • Leisure and entertainment venues closed
  • Non-essential travel in or out of the area not allowed
  • Indoor gym use restricted to individuals
  • Hairdressers and barbers can open

What are Northern Ireland’s rules?

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The current rules include:

  • Individuals can exercise with one other person from a different household
  • Closure of all non-essential shops, including garden centres and homeware stores
  • No click-and-collect services, apart from supermarkets
  • Closure of hair and beauty salons
  • Hospitality businesses open only for takeaway and delivery
  • Leisure and entertainment venues must close
  • Off-licences must close by 20:00
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals limited to 25 people – wedding receptions not allowed
  • Churches are closed for communal services
  • Elite sport allowed behind closed doors

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