United Kingdom

New April 12 lockdown rules: what you can and can't do from today

Outdoor dining, non-essential shops and hairdressers reopened after lockdown restrictions were eased on April 12, as part of the next step in Boris Johnson's roadmap.

Lockdown measures were first eased on March 8, when schools reopened in England, followed by March 29, when millions in England saw the stay-at-home order end and the rule of six return.

On Easter Monday, the Prime Minister confirmed that the roadmap dates he had initially set out would remain unchanged.

Since lockdown was first eased, the UK has seen a continuous decline in coronavirus infections, with cases plummeting to a level not seen since July 2020, according to data released by the ZOE Covid Symptom Stud.

Additionally, dynamic modelling by University College London has shown that the UK will pass the threshold for achieving herd immunity by April 12.

With all that in mind, here is what you can and can't do from April 12:


Pubs and restaurants are allowed to open and serve customers with outdoor service only.

This means that pub gardens and outdoor dining for restaurants can reopen. Everyone who visits will have to check in on the NHS's Test and Trace app and groups are limited to six people or two households.

However, scores of pubs and restaurants face confusion as Covid rules ease on April 12 after being told their outdoor seating spaces primed for reopening do not count as outdoors.

Drinkers have been urged to take cash to the pub with them, as poor rural broadband and mobile signal means card machines cannot be used in many pub gardens and the new guidelines ban establishments from taking payments indoors. 

There are no rules in place requiring pubs to serve a meal alongside alcohol, and there will be no curfew.

Shops, hairdressers and zoos

All non-essential shops have reopened – though it is expected that retail shoppers will be urged to shop alone or within household groups.

This includes department stores, book shops, technology stores, clothing and homeware stores, auction houses and vehicle showrooms.

Retailers are allowed to stay open until 10pm to ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines and so that shoppers can return back to the high street safely.

New guidance issued by the Government also means that clothes shoppers will be able to use fitting rooms again after more than a year.

Stores are being advised to deploy a staff member to control entry to changing areas, allow only one person at a time into a cubicle and to leave a gap of "several minutes" between customers.

Hairdressers and nail salons, which fall under personal care services, also reopened on April 12. However, they have been told to avoid lengthy treatments in order to reduce time spent in the chair by the customer. 

Outdoor hospitality venues like zoos and theme parks also reopened on this date.

Domestic travel

Staycations are now allowed, but in a limited form.

One household is permitted to stay overnight somewhere in the UK, but not with an additional household.

"Self-contained accommodation" can now be rented, including Airbnbs, cottages and campsites.

Hotels and B&Bs will remain closed.


Gyms reopened on April 12, but gym-goers cannot attend with people outside of their own household, because indoor socialising will still be barred until step three of Mr Johnson's roadmap, on May 17.

Exercise classes are also still banned now gyms are open, in an attempt to reduce contact between people as they work out.

Additionally, the saunas and steam rooms in gyms remain closed.

 As well as gyms, indoor swimming pools and other indoor exercise venues have reopened.


Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are permitted to take place, as well as receptions. The limit on the maximum number of attendees rose from six to 15 on Apr 12.

Over the next few months there will be a gradual easing of the number of guests allowed to attend a ceremony, but all events must adhere to social distancing guidelines. 

There has been no change for funerals, to which 30 attendees are already allowed.

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