Coronavirus: United Kingdom's harsh lockdown rules - what restrictions each nation have

Here are the measures in place in each nation.
Here are the measures in place in each nation. Photo credit: Getty.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has thrown England back into a national lockdown, with residents told to stay home potentially right into February.

The new, more transmissible variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus has let rip on the nation, with a staggering 58,784 cases detected on Monday alone. Johnson on Tuesday warned the strain is up to 70 percent more transmissible and could overwhelm the National Health Service if no new measures were implemented.

Each nation within the United Kingdom has the power to introduce its own COVID-19 restrictions, so here's a look at the key measures, including those announced on Tuesday.


  • Stay at home unless you have a "reasonable excuse". That includes having to go to work if it is "unreasonable" for you to do your job from home, volunteering, heading to an essential service, to exercise, and for medical reasons
  • It's against the law to meet socially with friends and family unless they are part of your household or support bubble
  • Non-essential retail businesses, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure, and sports facilities, and entertainment centres are among those needing to close. There are some exceptions, such as takeaways
  • Schools will be closed until at least the middle of February except for the children of essential workers and vulnerable children. Exams will not take place in summer as usual
  • Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance and must be held in secure or outdoor venues
  • Places of worship are open but mingling between groups is not allowed.


  • Stay at home as much as possible, with the only reasons for leaving your house including to go to work when this cannot be done from home, to head to an education facility, for essential shopping, and for healthcare
  • You can meet people from other households in outdoor areas. Up to two people from two separate households can meet with children under the age of 12 not counting towards that total
  • People in some circumstances - like those who live alone or couples who do not live together - can form extended households
  • Hospitality venues, accommodation, non-essential businesses, stadia, and entertainment premises are closed
  • Places of worship are closed to the public unless it is for a marriage, civil partnership ceremony, or funeral. These have strict gathering limits in place
  • Schools are closed from January 5 until January 29, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Universities and colleges can open with restrictions in place.


  • People should stay at home and work at home if you can. There should be no travel without a reasonable excuse, including internationally
  • Schools and colleges will move to online learning until January 18
  • Weddings and funerals can happen if they adhere to strict gathering limits and take place in venues that are allowed to open
  • Among the places that must close are entertainment venues, sports courts and golf courses, leisure facilities, non-essential retail, accommodation, hospitality premises, and some public services. 

Northern Ireland

  • Households cannot mix indoors, but one household can form a bubble with another. Up to six people from no more than two households can meet in private gardens, but only if social distancing is in place
  • Up to 15 people can meet outdoors or in non-domestic indoor settings like a community hall
  • All unnecessary travel should be avoided and face covering is mandatory on public transport and aircraft
  • Hospital, accommodation, non-essential retail, and entertainment venues should close
  • People should only go to work if they need to
  • Places of worship can open while marriages, civil partnerships, and funerals can take place.