If you live in England, from 29 March, some of the rules have changed.
You can meet outdoors either in a group of 6 (from any number of households), or in a group of any size from up to 2 households (a household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
You can take part in formally organised outdoor sports with any number of people (outdoor sports venues and facilities will be able to reopen)
Childcare and supervised activities are allowed outdoors for all children
Formally organised parent and child groups can take place outdoors for up to 15 attendees. Children under 5 will not be counted in this number
You should stay 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings) if you cannot stay 2 metres apart.
You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times, including if you have been vaccinated against COVID-19.
You should follow this guidance in full to limit the transmission of COVID-19. It is underpinned by law.
You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops and places of worship, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you should continue to follow the guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. From 1 April, you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take precautions to protect yourself.
If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19
To help protect yourself and your friends, family, and community you should continue to follow all of the guidance on this page even if you’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.
The vaccines have been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe illness in most people. Like all medicines, no vaccine is completely effective, so those who have received the vaccine should continue to take recommended precautions to avoid infection.
We do not know by how much the vaccine stops COVID-19 from spreading. Even if you have been vaccinated, you could still spread COVID-19 to others.
You can meet up outdoors with friends and family you do not live with, either:
- in a group of up to 6 from any number of households (children of all ages count towards the limit of 6)
- in a group of any size from up to two households (each household can include an existing support bubble, if eligible)
If you’re in a support bubble
If you are eligible to form a support bubble, you and your support bubble count as one household towards the limit of 2 households when meeting others outdoors. This means, for example, that you and your support bubble can meet with another household, even if the group is more than 6 people.
Where you can meet
You can meet in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles) outdoors. This includes private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, and other outdoor public places and venues that remain open. These include the following:
- parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- public and botanical gardens
- the grounds of a heritage site
- outdoor sculpture parks
- public playgrounds
- outdoor sports venues and facilities
If you need to enter through a house to get to a garden or other outside space and there is no alternative access, you should wear a face covering, wash or sanitise your hands when entering, and then go straight to the outside space. If you need to use the bathroom, wash your hands thoroughly and go back outside immediately. You should maintain social distancing from anyone who is not in your household or support bubble.
When you can meet with more people or meet indoors
Gatherings above the limit of 6 people or 2 households, or gatherings indoors, can only take place if they are permitted by an exception. These exceptions are listed on this page.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaking the limit if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble. See the separate guidance on support bubbles and childcare bubbles.
You can only use a childcare bubble for childcare. You cannot use a childcare bubble to mix with another household for any other reason. This means you cannot use a childcare bubble to meet socially with another household.
You can form a support bubble with another household of any size if:
- you live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
- you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
- your household includes a child who is under the age of one or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5, or was under that age on 2 December 2020
- you are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
- you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 or were under that age on 12 June 2020
You should not form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble.
You should continue to work from home where you can.
If you cannot work from home you should continue to travel to your workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:
- critical national infrastructure
- childcare or education
- essential public services
- essential retail, such as supermarkets and pharmacies
You do not need to be classed as a critical worker to go to work if you cannot work from home.
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.
COVID-secure guidelines are available for sectors across the economy to substantially reduce the risk of transmission.
Meeting others for work
You can gather in larger groups or meet indoors where it is necessary for your work. This does not include social gatherings.
Working in other people’s homes
Where it is reasonably necessary for you to work in other people’s homes you can continue to do so, for example if you’re a:
- social care worker providing support to children and families
You must follow the guidance on working in other people’s homes.
Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable
If you have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable you are strongly advised to work from home because of the risk of exposure to the virus. If you cannot work from home, then we advise you do not attend work.
If you live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable then you can continue to attend work if you are unable to work from home.
You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus, including what to do to reduce your risk of catching or passing on the virus at home.
If you are worried about going in to work or you cannot work
Citizens Advice has advice if you’re worried about working, including what to do if you think your workplace is not safe, or if you live with someone vulnerable.
Support is available if you cannot work, for example if you need to care for someone or you have less work.
There is further advice for employers and employees from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).
Children over 5 can use registered childcare, childminders, wraparound care and other supervised children’s activities indoors where it is reasonably necessary to enable parents or carers to:
- seek work
- attend education
- seek medical care or attend a support group
Vulnerable children can attend these settings regardless of circumstance as can those eligible for Free School Meals so that they can attend those that are part of the Holiday Activities and Food Programme (HAF) running over the Easter holidays.
Children under 5 can continue to access childcare in all circumstances.
All children can now access outdoor supervised activities for children regardless of need.
Parent and child groups are permitted outdoors, with restrictions on numbers attending. See the parent and child groups section of this guidance.
There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:
- early years settings (including nurseries and childminders) are open
- parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This must not be used to enable socialising between adults
- some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, including all those with a child under the age of one
- nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home
Meeting others for childcare
People can continue to gather indoors or in larger groups outdoors where this is reasonably necessary:
- for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children, see further information on education and childcare
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
You can exercise outdoors in a group of 6 or a larger group of any size from up to 2 households (including their support bubbles, if eligible).
You can also take part in formally organised outdoor sports or licensed physical activity with any number of people. This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take the required precautions, including the completion of a risk assessment. You should avoid contact in training and, for some sports, avoid contact in all activities. Read the guidance on what avoiding contact means for your sport.
Outdoor sport and leisure facilities may open. Indoor gyms and other sports facilities, including changing rooms, will remain closed.
You must not meet indoors for sport, except for:
- disability sport
- sports as part of the curriculum in education
- supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020), this should be limited to 15 participants
You should follow the guidance:
- on recreational team sport
- on outdoor sport and recreation in England
- for providers of grassroots sports and gym and leisure facilities
Elite sportspeople (or those on an official elite sports pathway) can meet in larger groups or meet indoors to compete and train. They can be joined by their coaches if necessary, or their parents and guardians if they’re under 18.
Travelling within England
You should minimise travel where possible. This means you should:
- avoid making unnecessary trips
- combine trips where possible
You should not stay away from home overnight for a holiday.
If you need to travel:
- walk or cycle where possible
- avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble
- plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport
- regularly wash or sanitise your hands
- wear a face covering on public transport, unless exempt
- stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
There is additional guidance on safer travel, including on the safe use of public transport.
Travelling within the UK
Travelling to England
You can enter England from other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. This is sometimes known as the Common Travel Area. However, there may be restrictions in place in the area you intend to travel from which prevent you from travelling. For example, if you are in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, there may be a requirement to stay at home or “Stay Local” where you live, which means you cannot travel to England.
You should check the restrictions in place where you intend to travel from before making arrangements to travel. If you do travel to England, you must follow the restrictions on what you can and cannot do.
Travelling from England
You may leave England to travel to other parts of the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Jersey, Guernsey or the Isle of Man. However, there may be restrictions in place in the area you intend to travel to which prevent you from travelling. You may only be able to travel for certain reasons, such as work. You should check the restrictions in place at your intended destination before making arrangements to travel.
Travelling internationally from England
You can only travel internationally from England where you have a reasonable excuse to leave the UK, such as work. International holidays are not permitted.
Some jobs qualify for exemptions for certain travel related requirements, such as self isolation and testing. See guidance on which jobs and circumstances qualify for travel exemptions.
If you do need to travel overseas (and have a reasonable excuse to do so), you are required to complete a new mandatory outbound ‘Declaration to Travel’ form from 29 March unless an exemption applies to you. You must state your reasons for travel on the form before leaving the UK.
In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting. You should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. You should do this even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before.
Travelling to England from outside the UK
All visitors to England are subject to the coronavirus restriction rules.
All those planning to travel to England should follow the guidance on entering the UK. Before travelling to the UK, you must complete a passenger locator form and have proof of a negative COVID-19 test, unless you are exempt.
All arrivals will need to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining. Arrivals must book a travel test package. See the guidance on how to quarantine when you arrive in England.
You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:
- a British national
- an Irish national
- anyone with residence rights in the UK
Everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:
- quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
- take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining, the tests are included in the hotel package
- follow the guidance on this page
Advice for visitors and foreign nationals in England
Foreign nationals are subject to the national restrictions.
If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.
Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help.
See further information on business support and financial support if you’re off work because of coronavirus.
The NHS and medical services remain open, including:
- dental services
- audiology services
- other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health
The NHS continues to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely. It is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.
The majority of public services will continue. These include:
- Jobcentre Plus sites
- courts and probation services
- civil registrations offices
- passport and visa services
- services provided to victims of crime
- waste or recycling centres
- getting an MOT