The Latest Covid Restriction Rules Across England, Wales, Scotland & NI Amid Easing

During most of the coronavirus pandemic the UK has had different restrictions in place, with Omicron beginning to ease announcements of restriction relaxations have been made. Here is an overview:


Compared to the rest of the UK, England’s hospitality industry has been pretty unrestricted by new rules since Christmas. The one area that has been, once again, hit hardest is nightclubs, who have been forced to ask for vaccine passports or equivalent to enter venues since mid-December.

Today it was announced that Plan B restrictions will end on Thursday 27th January. On paper this means that covid passports will no longer be required to enter venues and whilst nightclubs were not specifically mentioned the CEO of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Michael Kill has said ‘We welcome the removal of the restrictions for the night time economy and hospitality sector’. We are assuming therefore they have been told nightclubs are free to trade as normal.


Last Friday Wales announced their plans to lift the current restrictions going for a classic four stage process. It looks very much like this:

  • Last Saturday (15th Jan): Numbers allowed to attend an outdoor event raised from 50 to 500
  • Friday 21st Jan: Crowds allowed to return to sporting events and no limits on those attending outdoor events. Great news for hospitality venues in Cardiff in particular with the Six Nations approaching
  • Friday 28th Jan: Nightclubs can reopen. Hospitality allowed to operate normally (if anyone can remember what that is like). However, covid passes will still be required for large events, cinemas, nightclubs and theatres. Working from home no longer a legal requirement
  • Thursday 10th Feb: Wales has a level zero alert status and returns to a three-week review cycle


The first raft of restrictions were lifted on 17th January which covered public events. The previous capacity limits on indoor and outdoor events were removed

The restrictions on hospitality venues which came into effect on December 27th which included the shutting of nightclubs, table service in venues serving alcohol, 1 metre distance between tables and no more than three households in any group. These restrictions will all be lifted from 24th January (great news for venues wanting to hold Burns Night events).

Face coverings can be removed in hospitality while dancing, drinking and dining however indoor venues are required to reduce crowding and collect contact details for Test and Protect. Nightclubs will have to abide by the vaccine passport scheme.

Northern Ireland

The last to update their restrictions were Northern Ireland but they didn’t hold back with timings.

From midday on Friday 21st January the following rules are no longer in force:

  • Table service
  • Rule of six
  • Working from home

Then from non on Wednesday 26th January the following rules change:

  • No more vaccine passports in bars, pubs, restaurants and cinemas
  • Nightclubs to reopen with vaccine passports
  • Dancing and indoor standing events allowed