Coronavirus lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed in different stages across Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was the latest leader to announce further easing of measures, with Scots allowed to meet in bigger groups from Friday.

Here is what we know about each UK nations’ plans to exit lockdown:


Scotland’s stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted from April 5 under a phased plan to lift lockdown, with the country moving back to a levels system of restrictions from April 26.

However, Ms Sturgeon told the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday that up to four people from two households will be able to meet outdoors from Friday.

For children aged between 12 and 17, outdoor meetings will also be limited to four people, but these can be from up to four households.

Communal worship in Scotland will restart from March 26, with the limit for services rising from 20 people to 50.

Ms Sturgeon initially said lockdown would ease in phases that are separated by at least three weeks and dependant on suppression of the virus continuing.

The first phase began with the youngest children in Scotland returning to their classrooms on February 22 as schools reopened to more pupils.

The second phase is set to take place no earlier than March 15, with older primary children expected to return to school full time from that date, along with secondary school pupils getting some time back in the classroom.

They are due to return full-time after the Easter holiday.

It is hoped a further extension to outdoor mixing and more freedoms in retail will be put in place from April 5, with the stay-at-home order expected to be lifted.

The return to a levels system, with further allowances on the opening of places like gyms, hairdressers and hospitality, is currently expected on April 26.

Ms Sturgeon said more details around the easing of restrictions will be issued in mid-March – adding that the Scottish Government ‘will not hesitate’ to accelerate changes if the data allows it.

Scotland has been in national lockdown since January 5.


All pupils in all year groups returned to classrooms on March 8 with outdoor after-school sports and activities also allowed to restart.

People are now permitted to have socially distanced one-to-one meetings with others outdoors in a public space.

Care home residents are also allowed a single nominated visitor, who will be required to take a Covid test, wear personal protective equipment and keep physical contact to a minimum.

Larger groups will be allowed to gather in parks and gardens from March 29.

Glasgow Times:

The “rule of six” will return, along with new measures allowing two households, totalling no more than six people, to meet.

Outdoor organised sport will also return.

From April 12 at the earliest, shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen

Two households, or groups of up to six people, will be allowed to mix indoors and limited crowds will be allowed at sporting events from May 17.

All remaining restrictions on social contact could be lifted from June 21, allowing for larger events to go ahead and nightclubs to reopen.


Wales entered a national lockdown on December 20 – the earliest of any nation in the UK.

The Welsh Government is to consider whether stay-at-home regulations can be lifted in a review of the rules this week, the results of which will be announced on Friday.

An easing of some restrictions saw pupils aged three to seven begin a phased return to classrooms on February 22.

Minor changes to the rules on February 20 also allowed up to four people from two households to exercise together outdoors.

From March 15, all primary school pupils, as well as older age groups in years 11 and 13 who have exams, could also return if the country’s public health situation continues to improve.

Northern Ireland

Lockdown restrictions were introduced in Northern Ireland on December 26, and have been extended to April 1 by the Stormont Executive.

However, a review is due on March 18.

Primary school pupils in year groups P1 to P3 returned to classrooms on Monday but are set to go back to remote learning after two weeks.

On March 22, secondary school children in key exam years 12-14 will return.

The Executive’s plan for gradually exiting lockdown does not include any target dates, with ministers saying decisions on moving between stages will be based on scientific and medical evidence.