When will UK Covid restrictions end? Dates rules are lifted in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales

Covid rules vary depending on where you live in the UK

Covid rules vary depending on where you live in the UK (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)Covid rules vary depending on where you live in the UK (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Covid rules vary depending on where you live in the UK (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Covid restrictions are still in place across the UK, but they are starting to ease as coronavirus case numbers fall.

How do they vary across the four countries and when are they being scrapped?

Here’s what you need to know.

When do Covid restrictions end?

Rules in England

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on 19 January that work from home guidance, Covid passports and the mandatory wearing of face masks will soon be scrapped in England.

He said people will no longer be told to work from home “from now on”.

From 27 January, mandatory mask-wearing in public places and Covid certification will end.

Restrictions on visits to care homes will also be eased from 27 January.

Face masks have also now been scrapped in classrooms in England.

He also confirmed the intention to end self-isolation rules for people with Covid in the coming weeks, as he said the legal requirement would lapse when the regulations expire on 24 March, but that date could be brought forward.

Rules in Scotland

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on 18 January that most of the country’s Covid restrictions are to be eased, with nightclubs reopening, large indoor events resuming and social distancing rules dropped.

The changes will take effect from 24 January after a “significant fall” in new case numbers.

However, people are still being asked to work from home and to take lateral flow tests before meeting with others.

Guidance advising adults against meeting up with more than three households at a time will also be scrapped, as well as restrictions on indoor contact sports.

Ministers have also decided against extending the vaccine passport scheme to more hospitality settings “at this stage”.

Rules in Wales

In Wales, First Minister Mark Drakeford has set out a plan for the country to return to alert level zero on 28 January if cases continue to fall.

Alert level zero is the lowest set of restrictions since the start of the pandemic and under it, most curbs to daily life are removed, with all businesses allowed to reopen.

However, people still have to wear face masks in many public places, and self isolation rules still apply.

The gradual easing of Covid restrictions in Wales is already under way. As of 21 January there are no longer any limits on numbers at outdoor events.

On 28 January, nightclubs will open, and gatherings in pubs and restaurants will no longer be limited to six people. Covid passes will still be needed for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres, however.

Rules in Northern Ireland

The Covid rules in Northern Ireland are also being relaxed. The ‘rule of six’ in hospitality has gone, as well as the guidance that only three households are allowed to meet in a home.

From 26 January, nightclubs will be able to reopen, with dancing and indoor standing events also permitted again.

Also from 26 January, proof of Covid status will no longer be required to enter hospitality premises (although they will remain in place for nightclubs and indoor unseated and partially-seated events with 500 or more people).

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