Covid rules: What has changed?

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Big changes to Covid restrictions have been made across the UK.

Northern Ireland is the latest to lift some restrictions, but it has delayed a decision on others.

What has now changed in England?

Social distancing

Events and gatherings

  • Nightclubs can reopen
  • Pubs and restaurants no longer table-service only
  • No limits on guests at weddings and funerals
  • No limits on people attending concerts, theatres or sports events
  • No restrictions on communal worship

Travel

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Other changes

From the same date, fully vaccinated adults will not need to self-isolate after contact with a positive case.

What guidance remains in place in England?

People should continue to meet others outside where possible.

Businesses such as nightclubs - and large events - will be encouraged to use the NHS Covid Pass to check people are fully vaccinated. However, they won't legally have to do so.

How are the rules changing in Northern Ireland?

Some restrictions have changed:

  • 15 people from unlimited households can meet outdoors
  • Close contact services can open without pre-booked appointments

Some decisions are being discussed on 26 July:

Some decisions have been put off until 29 July:

  • Removing the restrictions on sound levels at indoor venues
  • Holding of conferences and exhibitions
  • Reducing social distancing to one metre

How have rules changed in Scotland?

All of Scotland is now in Covid protection level 0.

  • Up to eight people from up to four households can meet indoors at home
  • Up to 10 people from up to four households can meet in a public indoor space
  • Up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors - whether in a private garden or public place (children aged 12 and under not counted)
  • Up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals
  • Two-hour slots to go to a pub or restaurant end, but customers to provide contact details and wear face coverings when not seated
  • Soft play centres can open
  • Capacity at events rises to 2,000 seated outdoors, 1,000 standing and 400 indoors
  • People fully-vaccinated in the UK -and under-18s travelling with them - no longer have to quarantine after visiting an amber-list country

Guidance is expected on allowing fully vaccinated people to avoid self-isolation after close contact with positive cases.

The government is also considering removing the self-isolation requirement for school pupils.

What rules and guidance remain in Scotland?

  • Masks compulsory on public transport and in shops "for some time"
  • Hospitality venues to close at midnight
  • Nightclubs and adult entertainment closed
  • In indoor public places, social distancing changes from 2m (6ft) to 1m including between different household groups
  • Outdoor group gatherings limited to 15 people from up to 15 households - no social distancing required within the group, but 1m required between different groups
  • People should carry on working from home

The government hopes to lift most remaining restrictions on 9 August.

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How are the rules changing in Wales?

Wales has now moved to Alert Level 1. This means:

  • Up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation
  • Organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing
  • Ice rinks can reopen
  • No limits on how many people can meet outdoors in public places, or at events

The six-person limit does not apply if everyone is from the same or extended household.

Adults returning from amber-list countries also no longer have to quarantine if they have been fully vaccinated in the UK, and nor do under-18s travelling with them.

The government hopes to move to Alert Level 0 on 7 August. This would mean:

  • All premises can open, including nightclubs, with most restrictions replaced by risk assessments
  • No legal limits on the number of people who can meet indoors, including private homes

Face coverings will continue to be required in most indoor public places and on public transport for the present time.

What about areas of England with high numbers of Indian/Delta variant cases?

The government says if you live in one of these areas you should read local Covid-19 information and advice.

Most areas remind residents to follow hands, face and space rules:

  • washing hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and use sanitiser
  • wear a face covering in busy places
  • meet friends and family outside
  • keep 2m (6ft) apart from people you don't live with