Lockdown changes: Latest rules on what you can and can’t do in England and Wales

England and Wales lockdown rules currently in place as UK Government prepares to reintroduce the ‘rule of six’ and Wales scraps 'stay local'.

The 'rule of six' returns in England on Monday, allowing friends to catch-up again
The 'rule of six' returns in England on Monday, allowing friends to catch-up again

People in England will be able meet up in groups again from Monday for the first time in months.

The second phase of the first step out of lockdown marks the return of the ‘rule of six’ and the end of ‘stay at home’ messaging.

For thousands of residents living close to the England/Wales border, it can mean some families and friends continue to live under two different sets of rules, with the Welsh Government scrapping its 'stay local' rule and allowing residents to travel all over the country and even book self-catering holidays from this weekend.

Here is a rundown of the new rules, outlining what is, and isn’t, allowed in both countries.

Can I meet friends outside?

Yes, though the rules are different in England and Wales.

In England, from March 29, you can meet either in groups of six from any number of households, or meet more people from two households only, in any outdoor space. This includes parks and private gardens, with the Government requesting people stay local, and maintain social distancing.

Limits on the number of people who can meet outside in England won’t be raised until step three in May.

In Wales people have already been allowed to meet in groups of four, but from Saturday six people from two households can meet outside.

What about inside?

Not for a while.

The UK Government has said indoor meetings in England cannot happen until May, and even then they will be limited to the ‘rule of six’.

However, the aim is to end all social contact restrictions in June when step four comes in, allowing unlimited gatherings of people both inside and out.

For now though, you can only go inside someone's house to use the toilet and to get to and from a garden.

So far, there has been no update from the Welsh government on when indoor gatherings involving groups from different households or support bubbles can restart.

How far can I travel?

Welsh residents can now go for a self-contained holiday with their household anywhere in Wales

The ‘stay at home’ rule is replaced with 'stay local' in England at midnight on Sunday, but that doesn’t mean people can go anywhere - though it's not clear how far 'stay local' allows people to travel.

Everyone is urged to continue working from home and minimise the number of journeys they make as much as possible.

Outdoor attractions such as zoos and theme parks will not open in England until April, along with self-contained accommodation such as campsites and holiday lets which do not have shared indoor facilities.

Even then, people will only be able to go on holiday with their household.

In Wales the stay local message has now ended, allowing residents to travel wherever they like within the country for the first time since December 20.

People in Wales can even visit self-contained holiday accommodation, following the same rules that will be brought into England next month.

However, those in England cannot visit Wales for a holiday, although Ministers plan to lift the ban on people crossing the border - except for essential trips such as for work or shopping - on April 12.

Foreign travel is also still banned, with a new £5.000 coming into force in England for those found to be travelling abroad without good reason.

Playing sport

Some sporting activities are again allowed in England.

Outdoor facilities including golf courses, tennis and basketball courts and open-air swimming pools can reopen, while formally organised outdoor sports such as five-a-side leagues can also resume.

These venues have been open in Wales since March 13, with up to six people from two households now allowed to take part in activities.

Organised under-18 activities can also resume in Wales from Saturday.

The return of outdoor recreational sport in England has caused confusion at the cross-border Llanymynech Golf Club due to "ambiguous" restrictions which may stop English members crossing into Wales to tee off.

Indoor gyms remain closed in both England and Wales.

When will pubs reopen?

Pubs will not open until next month at the earliest
Pubs will not open until next month at the earliest

Not until April.

In England the first date pubs, restaurants and cafes can start trading again is April 12.

That is the current date for step 2 on the Government’s lockdown roadmap, when hospitality venues can serve customers outdoors through table service.

Anyone going to a pub in England won’t need to order a substantial meal with a pint either (no more scotch egg debates), but will have to follow the ‘rule of six’.

Most hospitality businesses in Wales still do not have a reopening date, though hotels with en-suite facilities and room service can reopen from Saturday.

Other businesses such as pubs are not expected to open their doors again until the second half of April at the earliest.

Are non-essential shops open?

Like pubs, not yet. Not in England anyway.

Non-essential retail in England will reopen on April 12, when the lockdown roadmap reaches step 2.

Since December, Welsh supermarkets, and other stores that have been allowed to stay open during lockdown, have been unable to sell non-essential items.

That changed last week as part of the Welsh Government’s easing of restrictions, although non-essential shops themselves are set to remain closed until April 12, the same day as England.

A review on April 1 will confirm plans.

When will hairdressers open?

In Wales, they already are open.

However, east of the border hairdressers and nail salons cannot reopen until April 12.

Wedding rules

Wedding rules will soon change to allow couples to invite more guests
Wedding rules will soon change to allow couples to invite more guests

Weddings and civil partnerships in England can still only have six people present, and “should only take place in exceptional circumstances”.

That number is due to increase to 15 in April and to 30 when England reaches step 3 on the roadmap in May.

Receptions are still banned until next month, although small gatherings following the ‘rule of six’ can start from today.

Meanwhile in Wales weddings have been permitted since the beginning of March, with the number of people allowed to attend dependent on the size of the venue.

However, receptions remain banned, and no date has been set for their resumption.

Funeral rules

30 people are allowed to attend funerals in England, though only six can attend a wake or other commemorative event.

From step 2 on April 12, up to 15 people can go, with 30 allowed from step 3 in May.

The rule for funerals in Wales is the same as weddings; the number of people who can attend depends on the size and layout of the venue, but people are asked to keep numbers down as much as possible.

Wakes, like wedding receptions, are still not allowed and there is currently no return date publicly set.

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