Should I be at work? Can I play golf? How lockdown rules differ across the UK

After almost two months of being urged to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives, the terms of the UK lockdown have now changed.

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson seeks to get parts of the British economy moving again, the restrictive measures we have become used to are now different depending on which of the home nations you live in.

The devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales are ignoring the 'stay alert' rebrand to Downing Street's coronavirus messaging campaign, and Northern Ireland has also decided to go its own way.

Here's how England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are now managing the COVID-19 lockdown.

Image: Traffic into London has been busy as lockdown restrictions are eased slightly



People across the UK have been allowed to enjoy one hour of outdoor exercise a day since the lockdown began, however everyone can now exercise outdoors as much as they like.

Those in England can also travel as far as they wish by car for the purpose of outdoor exercise, so they can visit a favourite jogging route that had until now been too far away from home.

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And if people need to rest their legs after a long run, sunbathing in the park is now permitted in England.

Golf courses and outdoor tennis courts have also been allowed to reopen in England, but people can only play with members of their household and should keep away from others.

Golf courses are being allowed to reopen in parts of the UK
Image: Places that do reopen need to employ restrictions to keep people safe

But those who do hit the road for exercise must not cross into Scotland and Wales, as first ministers Nicola Sturgeon and Mark Drakeford are continuing to urge people not to travel.

They are also still urging people not to go out just to relax or meet up with others.

The Northern Ireland government says public sport locations like golf courses are in "phase one" of its lockdown recovery plan but for now only exercise like running and walking is allowed.

A cyclist wearing a protective face mask on Westminster Bridge, London
Image: A cyclist wearing a protective face mask on Westminster Bridge, London

Face coverings

After weeks of insisting that there is no scientific evidence that face coverings could protect you from coronavirus, ministers are advising they should be worn in enclosed spaces where social distancing may not be possible.

This includes on public transport and in some shops.

Ms Sturgeon has been recommending that Scots wear face coverings since last month, and now Downing Street is issuing the same guidance – as is the government in Northern Ireland.

Downing Street has even come up with instructions for how you can make a mask at home – read them here.

There is no conclusive advice on masks in Wales, with Mr Drakeford saying: "It doesn't protect you, the wearer, from anybody else, but it may protect other people from the risk of you infecting them."

Image: People in Scotland can still go out for an hour of outdoor walking, jogging or cycling

Meeting friends and family

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said it's now fine for people to meet with one other individual from outside their household each day – so long as they are in the park and keeping two metres apart.

Theoretically, if you are in England, you could meet a friend in the park on Wednesday and your mum at the same location on Thursday.

But it must be a one-on-one meeting – multiple people from the same household cannot meet with several from a different household.

The rules are more flexible in Northern Ireland, which is allowing groups of between four and six people from different households to meet up outside if they maintain social distancing.

Scotland and Wales are still urging people not to meet up with anyone they do not live with.

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