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What are the rules in the UK’s four nations for Christmas and beyond?

As Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the evidence does not yet justify stricter COVID-19 measures in England, both Scotland and Wales have announced new rule changes.

Here are how the coronavirus rules compare across the four nations.

Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed no further restrictions will be brought in before Christmas day – but has not ruled out any changes ahead of the New Year.

The self isolation rules in England will now change© PA The self isolation rules in England will now change

New Year’s Eve celebrations for 6,500 people in Trafalgar Square have been scrapped in London – the area currently worst affected by Omicron.

Self-isolation

The self-isolation period for people in England will be cut from 10 days to seven for those who can produce a negative lateral flow test on both day six and their final day of quarantine.

Boris Johnson has confirmed there will be no more COVID restrictions in England ahead of Christmas Day© PA Boris Johnson has confirmed there will be no more COVID restrictions in England ahead of Christmas Day

However, Health Secretary Sajid Javid has cautioned that people leaving quarantine after a week should “continue to remain cautious”.

Under the previous rule, anyone who tested positive for COVID-19 had to self-isolate for a full ten days.

Covid passes

As of 15 December, coronavirus passports will be needed for entry into nightclubs and other venues.

People in Scotland have been urged to be cautious over Christmas© PA People in Scotland have been urged to be cautious over Christmas

Face masks

Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to scale back celebrations in Scotland© Sky News Screen Grab Nicola Sturgeon says she wants to scale back celebrations in Scotland

Coverings have been made compulsory in most indoor public settings, as well as on public transport.

Scotland

Christmas and New Year’s Eve

Nicola Sturgeon has said she will not be changing the advice for Christmas but has urged people to be cautious when mixing with others.

Strict limits have been announced on crowd numbers at football matches, while Hogmanay events have been cancelled as part of new COVID restrictions from Boxing Day.

Stadiums will once again be empty as the Welsh government tries to slow the spread of Omicron© PA Stadiums will once again be empty as the Welsh government tries to slow the spread of Omicron

Crowds at outdoor public events will be capped at 500 from 26 December for at least three weeks, while numbers at indoor public events are to be limited to 100 standing or 200 seated.

Working from home

Allowing staff to work from home where possible will again become a legal duty on employers.

Self-isolation

Christmas is in full swing in the centre of Cardiff - but new restrictions are imminent© PA Christmas is in full swing in the centre of Cardiff – but new restrictions are imminent

Anyone identified as a household contact of a positive coronavirus case is advised to self-isolate for ten days – regardless of vaccination status, PCR test result or age.

Anyone who thinks they have COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate immediately and take a PCR test.

Hospitality

From 27 December for a three week period hospitality businesses will reintroduce table service-only for venues serving alcohol for consumption. Indoor venues will also be asked to ensure a one-metre distance between groups of people.

Northern Ireland has said it will not change its COVID-19 rules over the festive period© PA Northern Ireland has said it will not change its COVID-19 rules over the festive period

Covid passes

Certain venues and events now require proof of either a vaccination or a negative test taken within the last 24-hours.

Face masks

Coverings should now be worn in most indoor public places, including public transport, shops and gyms. They must be worn in restaurants when not seated and when in the workplace. They are also compulsory for all school staff and secondary school children.

Wales

Venues must now close at 8pm each night in Northern Ireland© Associated Press Venues must now close at 8pm each night in Northern Ireland

Christmas

People have been advised to follow “five steps for a safer Christmas”, ahead of new restrictions being enforced from 27 December. These include taking a lateral flow test before going shopping and spacing out social events.

Sporting events

Fans will be banned from sporting events in Wales in a bid to fight the Omicron variant. Indoor events will have to take place behind closed doors from Boxing Day, said Welsh economy minister Vaughan Gething.

Nightclubs and offices

Welsh nightclubs are set to close on 27 December. Meanwhile, the 2m metre rule for social distancing will be reintroduced in offices.

Face masks

These are legally required in most indoor public places and on public transport. Secondary school pupils are also asked to wear masks in class.

Self-isolation

Anyone aged over 18 who is not fully vaccinated must self-isolate if they come into contact with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus. They should also take a PCR test on days 2 and 8, even if they are not showing symptoms.

Working from home

Regulations have been changed to make travelling to an office a criminal offence punishable by a £60 fine for employees who are able to work from home.

Northern Ireland

Christmas

Northern Ireland has said it will not change its COVID-19 rules over the festive period.

Covid passes

It is now a legal requirement to provide proof of your COVID-19 status before entering venues including licensed hospitality premises, cinemas and theatres.

Residents in tourist accommodation will not be required to provide proof of their COVID status unless accessing public areas of the accommodation where alcohol may be consumed, such as bars or restaurants.

Self-isolation

For close contacts of a positive COVID-19 case, if they have received a booster more than one week ago they will have to restrict their movement for five days and take three antigen tests.

People who have not been boosted will need to restrict their movement for 10 days.

Hospitality

Venues must close at 8pm each night until 30 January. Venues will run at reduced capacity – for indoor venues, it is 50% of capacity, or 1,000 people (whichever is lower) and outdoor events should be limited to 50% or 5,000 people (whichever is lower).

Wedding receptions can take place after 8pm but with a capacity limit of 100 guests.

Indoor and outdoor gatherings

No more than 30 people can meet in a private home and stay overnight. There are no restrictions on the number of people who can meet in a private garden.

The number of people permitted to attend an indoor gathering, in a non-domestic setting, is determined by a risk assessment, carried out by the organiser or operator.

Similarly, to determine the maximum number of people permitted to attend an outdoor gathering, in a non-domestic setting, the organiser or operator must carry out a risk assessment.

Face masks

These must be worn on public transport, private buses and in airports. Face masks can only be removed in a restaurant, bar or café when seated at a table or when eating, drinking or dancing. Post-primary school students must also wear face coverings inside school buildings, as must staff if they are unable to socially distance.

Source: News.sky.com

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