IGA News

UK COVID-19 restrictions update – December 2020

UK COVID-19 restrictions update – December 2020

30 November 2020

Read on below for the latest information on current and upcoming COVID-19 restrictions throughout the UK:


From midnight on 2 December the national restrictions will be lifted across all of England and and the country will move into a new tiered system. The following restrictions will be eased:

  1. The stay-at-home requirement will end.
  2. Non-essential retail, gyms, personal care will reopen. The wider leisure and entertainment sectors will also reopen, although to varying degrees.
  3. Communal worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume.
  4. People will no longer be limited to seeing one other person in outdoor public spaces, where the rule of 6 will now apply.

Motor vehicle repairs and MOT stations can remain open cross all tiers.

The tier system is being reintroduced, although there will be some changes to the previous tier restrictions:

  • In tier 1, the Government will reinforce the importance that, where people can work from home, they should do so.
  • In tier 2, hospitality settings that serve alcohol must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
  • In tier 3, hospitality will close except for delivery, drive-through and takeaway, hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions, such as people staying for work purposes, where people are attending a funeral, or where they cannot return home) and indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling allies must also close. Elite sport will be played without spectators. Organised outdoor sport can resume, but the Government will advise against higher risk contact sports.

You can find out which tier your area falls into by clicking here, and you can read the full restrictions in place for each tier by clicking here. Looking further ahead, guidance on forming a ‘Christmas bubble’ between 23 and 27 December can be found here.

For information about the financial support available for businesses in England affected by COVID-19, click here.


Following the 17-day ‘firebreak’ in Wales that ended on 8th November, there are still national restrictions in place. These include:

  • Staying out of each other’s homes, except in very limited circumstances
  • Trying to limit how many different people you meet
  • Maintaining social distancing
  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Working from home if you can
  • Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has coronavirus symptoms
  • If you have coronavirus symptoms, get a test

You can read more details about the restrictions on the gov.wales website here. Motor vehicle repairs and MOT stations can remain open.

On Monday 30 November, the following additional measures were announced which come into effect from 6pm on Friday:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes must close by 6pm and they will not be allowed to serve alcohol. After 6pm they will only be able to provide takeaway services.
  • Indoor entertainment venues, including cinemas, bingo halls, bowling alleys, soft play centres, casinos, skating rinks and amusement arcades, must close.
  • Indoor visitor attractions, such as museums, galleries and heritage sites will also have to close. Outdoor visitor attractions will remain open.

Guidance on forming a ‘Christmas bubble’ between 23 and 27 December within Wales can be found here.

Information about the financial support available to businesses in Wales can be found here.

Northern Ireland

Following an increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, additional restrictions have been introduced for people living in Northern Ireland from 27 November to 11 December.

All retail except for essential retail must close, however click and collect facilities will be permitted to operate on an appointment-only basis with maximum mitigations in place.

Motor vehicle repair and MOT services are allowed to stay open.

The full list of restrictions can be found here.

You can download a poster featuring the guidelines here.

The Localised Restrictions Support Scheme offers financial support to NI businesses which have been required to close or have had business activities at their premises directly curtailed by health protection restrictions that have been put in place by the NI Executive. More information, including eligibility, payment rates and how to apply, can be found here.


Scotland’s current 5-tier system is in place until 6pm on 11 December.

The levels range from 0 to 4, and you can find out which level your business falls under by using the gov.scot postcode checker here.

Further information on the current rules, and what you can and cannot do in each tier, can be found here. Information on the financial support available to businesses in Scotland affected by COVID-19 can be found here.

Motor vehicle repairs and MOT services as exempt and they are entitled to continue to trade in a COVID-Secure fashion in all tiers.

The Scottish Government has also released guidance for the festive period, which you can read here.

The IGA will bring you more updates on lockdown restrictions as they are announced. If you have any questions or need further support, please call the IGA Direct Member Helpline or 0845 305 4230, or email enquiries@rmif.co.uk.