How lockdown rules differ in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

Some slight variation on rules is evident across the UK (Photo: Shuttertock)Some slight variation on rules is evident across the UK (Photo: Shuttertock)
Some slight variation on rules is evident across the UK (Photo: Shuttertock)

Lockdown restrictions are now gradually beginning to ease across the UK, with the UK's four nations each adopting their own approach to the next phase of returning back to normal life.

Government's in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have outlined their own phased plans to slowly relax rules, meaning parts of the UK currently have more freedoms than others.

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What lockdown rules are currently in place?

As the UK's four nations have the right to set out their own guidance on easing lockdown, rules are being relaxed at a different pace depending on where you live in the country.

Here are the rules that are currently in place across the UK.


As of 1 June, family and friends in England can meet up in parks and private gardens in groups of up to six people from different households, providing social distancing is maintained.

Day trips to outdoor spaces are also allowed, providing you do not stay the night.

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Outdoor markets and car showrooms can start trading again from 1 June, followed by non-essential shops two weeks later on 15 June.

Non-essential retailers include shops selling clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, and electronics, as well as tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.

From 1 June, the two million people who have been shielding in England can now leave the house to spend time with people outdoors.

Those considered extremely vulnerable will be able to go outside with members of their household, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, while those who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household.

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Primary schools can also begin to open for pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 from 1 June, and teaching can start for older pupils in Year 10 and Year 12 from 15 June.


As of 29 May, Scots are allowed to meet in groups of eight, outdoors in parks or in private gardens, but such gatherings must only include members of two separate households at a time.

While people from different households are still not allowed to meet indoors, it is acceptable to walk through a house to gain access to a garden.

Scots are now allowed to travel to different areas for recreation, although the First Minister asked people to travel on foot or bicycle as much as possible, and avoid public transport.

However, people are strongly advised not to travel further than five miles from their home.

Barbecues are also permitted, but if it is between two households, each should bring their own food, cutlery and crockery.

Some outdoor leisure activities, where physical distancing can be maintained, can now resume, with activities including golf, tennis, bowls and fishing.

Outdoor work and construction can now resume, garden and recycling centres can reopen for business from 1 June, and drive thru food outlets are permitted to gradually reopen to customers.

Teachers can enter schools from 1 June, and from 3 June, childcare will be available to a wider group of people.

However, schools in Scotland will reopen later on 11 August, but children will return to a "blended model" where they will do a mix of school and home learning.

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Despite the easing of rules, people in Scotland are still being encouraged to “stay at home” as much as possible.


From 1 June, people from two households will be able to meet outdoors, providing they do not travel more than five miles and maintain social distancing.

People who have been shielding can also now exercise outdoors and meet people from another household, but must not enter another house or share food.

Northern Ireland

There are plans to ease some restrictions from 8 June, including allowing large retail stores to reopen and car showrooms.

Outdoor weddings will be able to take place, but will be limited to fewer people, and pets will be allowed to visit grooming parlours.

Outdoor sport facilities will also be allowed to open.