Skip to content
  1. Do it online
  2. Login
  3. Have your say
  4. My Durham

Roadmap out of lockdown


We are still in a national lockdown, however restrictions are easing across the UK as the government's roadmap out of lockdown has begun.

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot changed on 12 April. However, many restrictions remain in place. You must not socialise indoors with anyone you do not live with, unless you have formed a support bubble with them, or another exemption applies. You should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the number of journeys you make where possible. 

You must still follow follow the rules as set out in the government guidance.

The Government has produced a roadmap out of lockdown which explains what you can and cannot do. 

How the rules will change on 17 May

Some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will change on 17 May. However, many restrictions remain in place.

From 17 May:

  • You should continue to work from home if you can. When travelling within the UK, you should aim to do so safely and plan your journey in advance.
  • You should get a test and follow the stay at home guidance if you have COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Gathering limits will be eased. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 30 people and indoor gatherings will be limited to 6 people or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • New guidance on meeting friends and family will emphasise personal responsibility rather than government rules. Instead of instructing you to stay 2m apart from anyone you don't live with, you will be encouraged to exercise caution and consider the guidance on risks associated with COVID-19 and actions you can take to help keep you and your loved ones safe. Remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some people than others and in some settings and circumstances, there will be specific guidance that you will need to follow even when you are with friends and family.
  • Indoor entertainment and attractions such as cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bowling alleys, casinos, amusement arcades, museums and children's indoor play areas will be permitted to open with COVID-secure measures in place.
  • People will be able to attend indoor and outdoor events, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID-secure measures set out by those venues.
  • Indoor hospitality venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes can reopen.
  • Organised indoor sport will be able to take place for all (this includes gym classes). This must be organised by a business, charity or public body and the organiser must take reasonable measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • All holiday accommodation will be open (including hotels and B&Bs). This can be used by groups of up to 6 or 2 households (each household can include a support bubble, if eligible).
  • Funeral attendance will no longer be limited to 30 people, but will be determined by how many people the COVID-secure venue can safely accommodate with social distancing. Limits at weddings, wakes and other commemorative events will be increased to 30 people. Other significant life events, such as bar/bat mitzvahs and christenings, will also be able to take place with 30 people.
  • The rules for care home residents visiting out and receiving visitors will change, allowing up to five named visitors (two at any one time), provided visitors test negative for COVID-19.
  • All higher education students will be able to access in-person teaching.
  • Support groups and parent and child group gathering limits will increase to 30 people (not including under 5s).
  • There will no longer be a legal restriction or permitted reason required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel, and you must follow the rules when returning to England depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.

Changes from 12 April 2021

From 12 April:

  • non-essential retail can reopen
  • personal care services such as hairdressers and nail salons can reopen, including those provided from a mobile setting
  • public buildings such as libraries and community centres can reopen
  • outdoor hospitality venues can reopen, with table service only
  • most outdoor attractions including zoos, theme parks, and drive-in performances (such as cinemas and concerts) can reopen
  • some smaller outdoor events such as fetes, literary fairs, and fairgrounds can take place
  • indoor leisure and sports facilities can reopen for individual exercise, or exercise with your household or support bubble
  • all childcare and supervised activities are allowed indoors (as well as outdoors) for all children. Parent and child groups can take place indoors (as well as outdoors) for up to 15 people (children under 5 will not be counted in this number)
  • weddings, civil partnership ceremonies, wakes and other commemorative events can take place for up to 15 people (anyone working is not included in this limit), including in indoor venues that are permitted to open or where an exemption applies. Wedding receptions can also take place for up to 15 people, but must take place outdoors, not including private gardens
  • self-contained accommodation can stay open for overnight stays in England with your household or support bubble
  • care home residents will be able to nominate two named individuals for regular indoor visits (following a rapid lateral flow test)
  • you should continue to work from home if you can and minimise the amount that you travel where possible

Changes from 29 March 2021

From 29 March, some of the rules on what you can and cannot do 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 (each household can include existing support bubbles, 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 not counted in this number

From 1 April, if you have been identified as clinically extremely vulnerable you will no longer be advised to shield. However, you should continue to take extra precautions to protect yourself. It is important that you continue to keep the number of social interactions that you have low and try to limit the amount of time you spend in settings where you are unable to maintain social distancing. If you are in this group, you will previously have received a letter from the NHS or from your GP telling you this. See Advice if you're at high risk from coronavirus (clinically extremely vulnerable).

Changes from 8 March 2021

From 8 March, some of the rules on what you can and cannot do changed:

  • You are allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This means you can sit down for a drink or picnic. You must continue to maintain social distance from those outside your household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted.
  • Pupils and students in all schools and further education settings can return to face-to-face education.
  • Wraparound childcare can reopen and other children's activities can restart for all children where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children's activities in all circumstances.
  • Students on practical higher education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments can return.
  • There will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel.
  • Those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure.
  • The rules on visiting care homes changed to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor.

No further significant changes were made on 8 March and restrictions requiring you to stay at home remain in place. 

The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised not to attend work, school or education until 31 March.

Summary of what you can and cannot do during national lockdown

On 4 January 2021 the government announced a full national lockdown - view the government guidance. You must stay at home at all times except for essential reasons. These include to:

  • to shop for basic necessities
  • to go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if we cannot reasonably do so from home
  • to exercise with our household (or support bubble) or one other person. This should be limited to once per day, and we should not travel outside our local area
  • to meet your support bubble or childcare bubble, but only if you are permitted to form one
  • to seek medical assistance or to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including Domestic abuse)
  • to attend education if eligible or for childcare
  • government advice for those who are extremely clinically vulnerable is to shield
  • you cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence.

For information on council services and how they are affected by national lockdown, see our service changes due to lockdown.

Information on infection rates

You can find information on the Government's website: Gov.uk: Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.

Ask a question

If this page doesn't answer your question, you can use our COVID-19 general enquiry form and we will get back to you with a response as soon as possible.

Contact us
County Durham Together Community Hub
03000 260 260
Share this page on Facebook Share this page on Twitter Print this page