When all Covid restrictions could be lifted across the UK

By Helen Johnson
Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 11:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 18th January 2022, 11:27 am
Covid restrictions are still in place across the UK, but how do they vary across the four countries and when could they be scrapped? (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)
Covid restrictions are still in place across the UK, but how do they vary across the four countries and when could they be scrapped? (Photo: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Covid restrictions are still in place across the UK, but how do they vary across the four countries and when could they be scrapped?

Here’s what you need to know.

When will Covid restrictions end?

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Rules in England

In England, it is reported that Number 10 is drawing up plans to phase out the country’s remaining pandemic restrictions from as early as March as Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to have signalled to his backbenchers that he is prepared to let the nation live with the virus.

A senior source confirmed that the Government was looking at ending mandatory self-isolation for positive Covid cases.

Currently, the legal requirement to self-isolate carries fines of up to £10,000 for non-compliance and is one of several pieces of Covid legislation due to expire in March, with the Government considering whether it will still be necessary.

Alongside this, other provisions that will either run out or require renewal include giving your address to NHS test and trace and listing members of your household.

It is believed that plans to end most Plan B Covid restrictions in England, including working from home guidance and Covid passports, are set to be finalised and announced either this week or early next week, but ministers are expected to continue with face mask rules in shops and on public transport in the short term.

Rules in Scotland

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will announce whether Scotland can lift more of its Covid restrictions on Tuesday (18 January).

The crowd limit for outdoor events was dropped on Monday (17 January), which allowed fans to return to football stadiums for the first time in 2022.

The First Minister has previously said she hopes limits on the number of people at indoor live events, enforced table service in pubs and restaurants, and one-metre social distancing in indoor public places can all be dropped from 24 January, bringing Scotland more in-line with England’s rules.

Currently, only 200 people are allowed at indoor seated events, and 100 at standing events.

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.

Rules in Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland, the current rules are that only six people are allowed to sit together in a hospitality venue, with pubs, cafes and restaurants having to provide table service only.

Up to six people from six households are allowed to sit together at a table, but this does not apply to wedding or civil partnership celebrations.

Dancing is not allowed in hospitality venues, but again this does not apply to weddings.

Proof of Covid status also remains a requirement to enter some hospitality premises and some other indoor settings.

It’s not yet been announced when these restrictions could be eased.