A guide to the lockdown easing plans in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

A guide to the lockdown easing plans in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events

Posted: Tue 13th Jul 2021

This guide has the latest information about government plans for easing lockdown measures across the UK. We are keeping it updated.


Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a four-step plan for easing lockdown in England on 22 February.

The changes are dependent on the coronavirus vaccine programme staying on track, evidence showing the vaccines are reducing deaths and need for hospital treatment, there is no surge in hospital admissions and new virus variants do not increase the risk of removing restrictions.

UPDATE 12/07/21: The prime minister announced that step four of the roadmap in England will go ahead on 19 July. Read a guide to the changes here.


On 13 July, first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that all of Scotland will move to level 0 of restrictions on 19 July.

Changes include:

  • up to 8 people from up to 4 households can meet indoors at home - compared to 6 people from 3 households in levels 1 and 2.

  • up to 10 people from up to 4 households can meet in a public indoor space – such as a pub or restaurant.

  • up to 15 people from up to 15 households can meet outdoors - whether in a private garden or public place.

  • children under 12 already don’t count towards the total number of people. From Monday, they will not count towards the total number of households ether.

  • up to 200 people can attend weddings and funerals.

  • soft play centres can open.

  • no requirement for customers to pre-book a two-hour slot to go to a pub or restaurant.

The restrictions that remain from 19 July include:

  • mandatory use of face coverings will remain in place.

  • hospitality venues are required to close at midnight.

  • in indoor public places where there isn’t already a 1m rule in place, the physical distance requirement reduces from 2m to 1m and will apply between different household groups.

  • the limit on the size of outdoor group gatherings is up to 15 people from up to 15 households.

  • there will be no requirement to distance within groups of 15 but until at least 9 August, there is a requirement for 1m distancing between different groups of 15.

  • employers asked to continue to support working from home where possible.


First minister Mark Drakeford has announced Wales will move to alert level one on 17 July. Changes include:

  • up to six people can meet indoors in private homes and holiday accommodation.

  • organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 people seated and up to 200 standing.

  • ice rinks can reopen.

  • children in groups of up to 30 can visit residential activity centres.

  • a specific requirement for employees to provide comprehensive information on the risks and mitigations identified in the COVID risk assessment with their employees.

If the public health situation allows, Wales will move to alert level zero on 7 August. Changes include:

  • most restrictions removed and replaced with ongoing requirement for all organisations and businesses to carry out COVID risk assessments to determine what reasonable measures are needed.

  • no legal limits on the number of people who can meet others indoors, including in private homes.

  • face coverings still required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport, with the exception of hospitality settings.

More details about the Welsh government's plans for alert level zero are here.

Northern Ireland

An indicative date of 26 July (subject to review on 22 July) has been set for the following:

  • removal of the legal requirement for social distancing outdoors.

  • reducing the legal requirement for social distancing where relevant to a minimum of one metre indoors.

  • allowing up to 10 people from no more than three households to meet in a private dwelling and stay overnight.

  • the return of audiences in theatres, concert halls and other venues, as well as the return of conferences and exhibitions.

  • live music without restriction to volume in concert halls, theatres and other indoor venues.

  • close contact services to operate without appointments and to undertake overlapping appointments.

The full list of regulations and guidance is here.

The latest coronavirus support information

We are keeping you updated on the latest information on how to access the government's coronavirus business support here. You can also find advice on Enterprise Nation's coronavirus business advice hub. Follow Enterprise Nation on Twitter too for updates.

Dan Martin
Dan MartinDan Martin Content & Events
I'm a freelance content creator and event host who helps small businesses and the organisations that support them. I have 18 years of experience as a small business journalist having interviewed hundreds of entrepreneurs from billionaires like Sir Richard Branson to the founders behind brand new start-ups. I've worked for a range of leading small business publications and support groups, most recently as head of content at Enterprise Nation where I was responsible for the prolific output of content on the company's blog and social media. I'm based in Bristol where I run and host regular events with the local small business community and have strong connections to major business organisations in the south west region. In total, I've hosted over 50 events; from intimate meet-ups to conferences with an audience of hundreds including events for international brands like Facebook and Xero. I'm also a big fan of podcasts having hosted Enterprise Nation's Small Business Sessions as well as lots of online events including Facebook Live interviews, webinars and three live web chats from inside 10 Downing Street. With my partner, I co-run Lifestyle District, a lifestyle blog focused on culture, art, theatre and photography. I'm here to help. I'm volunteering free advice calls of up to an hour as part of the Recovery Advice for Business scheme, over the next 6 months. Please get in touch to see how I can help your business. 

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