Lockdown: What you can and can't do

All four UK nations are continuing to loosen their lockdown measures to allow people more freedom.

However, England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland do differ slightly from each other as they make their own decisions on health - and nobody can yet move across borders.

Each government's measures need to be reviewed every three weeks by law and are each based on scientific advice, such as keeping the 'R number' below one.

Sky News is keeping track of the rules for all four nations.


Boris Johnson's "conditional plan" for easing the coronavirus lockdown in England previously set out three phases.

The slogan of "stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives" was changed to "stay alert, control the virus, save lives".

On 28 May, Mr Johnson gave his latest update on what restrictions will be lifted from 1 June, and added that further restrictions could be eased later in the month, such as more retail being allowed to open, as long as the R rate stays below one.

From 1 June:

  • People can gather in groups of up to six people in public or private outdoor spaces, as long as social distancing is practised
  • Reception, year one, year six and nursery age children are allowed to go back to school - despite teaching unions expressing serious doubts
  • People can visit outdoor retail spaces - such as outdoor markets - and car showrooms where social distancing can be observed

People could already:

  • Travel to work if you cannot work from home, while avoiding public transport if possible. People using buses or trains are advised to wear a face covering
  • Spend time outdoors - picnicking or sunbathing, for example
  • Travel to an outdoor open space irrespective of distance, but not with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling
  • Take day trips to an outdoor open space in a private vehicle
  • Meet one other person from a different household outdoors, while following social distancing guidelines
  • Exercise outdoors as often as you would like - again keeping at least two metres apart
  • Use a tennis or a basketball court, or a golf course with members of your household, or one other person
  • Go to a garden centre
  • Students can return home if it is a permanent move
  • Go to property viewings in person and visit agents for both sales and rentals
  • Nannies and childminders can come to your house to look after your children, provided good public health measures are adhered to

You still cannot do the following:

  • Visit friends and family inside their homes or stay overnight
  • Exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • Use an outdoor gym or playground
  • Visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • Leave your home to stay at another home
  • Share a private vehicle with someone from another household
  • Leave your home to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose - including visiting second homes
  • Invite anyone other than close family or friends, and someone from the deceased's household, to a funeral


  • Fines for breaking lockdown rules increased from £60 to £100. Repeat offenders will see the fine double for each subsequent breach to a maximum of £3,200

Later in June

  • Secondary pupils with exams next year will hopefully get some time with teachers before the summer, the PM said
  • More non-essential retail could open their doors, including fashion and tech shops


  • Restaurants and hotels: July is the earliest point at which "some of the hospitality industry and other public places" could reopen, the PM said, but only if "they are safe and enforce social distancing"
  • Hairdressers: Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Sky News that salons and barbers will not reopen until 4 July "at the very earliest"


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that Scotland's lockdown would be relaxed from 28 May in a four-phase "route map", but quickly relaxed more measures for the 29 May too.

As of 11 May, people were allowed to exercise for an unlimited amount of time outdoors.

Some of the new rules, which are part of phase one, started on 28 May, with others a few days later, although Ms Sturgeon did not say which ones.

The new rules from 28 May are:

  • People will be able to sit and sunbathe outdoors
  • Visits inside another household are not allowed
  • Non-contact sports like golf, fishing, bowls, outdoor swimming, canoeing and tennis will be allowed
  • People will be able to travel - preferably walk or cycle - to carry out activities, but they should try to stay close to home
  • Recycling and waste services will resume
  • Outdoor industries like agriculture and construction will resume
  • Garden centres will be allowed to open - but none of their cafes
  • Some services like social work will resume
  • Some parts of the criminal justice system will resume

From the 29 May, groups of up to eight people from two households may gather outdoors, as long as people are social distancing.

As part of its four-phase "route map", lockdown measures to be relaxed in the future in Scotland include:

Phase one but not now:

  • Teachers to return to work in June to prepare for schools reopening in new school year in August
  • Support for children going into primary one or moving from primary to secondary school
  • More children, not just of key workers, to have access to critical childcare, particularly outdoor nurseries
  • Housing market to reopen
  • Gradual reopening of takeaway and drive-thru food outlets

Phase two:

  • Meet outside with larger groups of friends and family, with social distancing
  • Meet people from another household indoors with social distancing
  • Increased public transport capacity with peak time travel discouraged
  • University lab research to restart
  • Indoor non-office-based workplaces, such as factories and labs, can resume once guidance is agreed
  • People can move house
  • Small shops, outdoor markets, pubs and restaurants with outdoor space, and places of worships can open - with marriages and civil partnerships allowed with limited attendees

Phase three:

  • Closer to normal with different households meeting - although with social distancing
  • Schools to reopen on 11 August but with a "blended model" of school and home learning
  • Childcare providers, larger shops, indoor pubs and restaurants, hairdressers, museums, cinemas, gyms and hotels can reopen
  • Live events with restricted numbers and funerals beyond close family
  • Dentists to fully reopen

Phase four:

  • Relaxation of all restrictions "in line with public health advice"


The Welsh government extended the lockdown on 8 May and further changes are being made from 1 June.

It has already relaxed a few rules, though.

What you can do now:

  • As of 15 May, people can carry out unlimited exercise outdoors but they must "stay local", starting and ending at home and only with people from their household - with a quick break to eat something
  • Garden centres can reopen
  • Recycling centres and libraries can open

From 1 June, people from two different households in the same local area can meet up outdoors.

But they must continue to maintain social distancing and strict hand hygiene.

They must also stay local, meaning they mustn't - as a general rule - travel more than five miles from home.

Exceptions will be people travelling to work, to seek care or shopping for essentials if they aren't available locally.


The Northern Ireland Executive has a five-stage "pathway to recovery" plan for easing the lockdown but it does not have a timetable, rather depending on key health criteria being met.

What you can do now:

  • Groups of up to six people who do not share a household are allowed to meet outdoors two metres apart
  • Garden and recycling centres have reopened
  • Places of worship are open for private prayer, while drive-in church services and cinemas are allowed
  • Non-contact outdoor activities are allowed, including fishing, golf, tennis and some water sports
  • No restrictions on private travel, as long as it is in Northern Ireland
  • Use face coverings if you cannot social distance

Step two:

  • Groups of 10 people will be allowed to meet outdoors
  • Some non-contact team sports and indoor activities will be allowed
  • Non-food retail outlets and some libraries will be allowed to open

Step three:

  • Phased return to office working but those who can should work from home
  • Gatherings of up to 30 people - with social distancing
  • Part-time schooling for priority groups, with in-school and remote learning
  • Museums, galleries, libraries to reopen
  • Concert and theatre rehearsals to resume

Step four:

  • All "contact" retail such as hairdressers, gyms and salons can open after a risk assessment
  • All school pupils go back on a part-time basis, with in-school and remote learning
  • Staggering demand for public transport
  • Wider range of gatherings allowed, including church services - subject to social distancing
  • Competitive sport to resume behind closed doors, or with spectator limits
  • Leisure centres to open
  • Outdoor concerts allowed on a restricted basis

Step five:

  • Early-year schooling goes to full-time
  • Restaurants, pubs and cafes can open after a risk assessment, initially on a limited basis
  • Close physical contact sport allowed and return to full spectator competitive sport and live events
  • People can meet in large groups subject to social distancing

Sky News

© Sky News 2020


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