Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland off limits under lockdown rules

English not welcome! Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are off limits under new lockdown rules with cross-border travel ‘discouraged’ between home nations

  • England’s second lockdown urges against travel within the United Kingdom
  • Travel into the other home nations is banned except for work or education
  • Comes after Wales banned visitors from England last month in its ‘firebreak’
  • Nicola Sturgeon today told Scots not to travel into ‘high risk’ England 

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are off limits for the English under the new lockdown rules which urge people not to travel within the United Kingdom. 

It comes after Wales banned visitors from England last month and Nicola Sturgeon today told Scots not to travel south unless for ‘essential purposes.’

Boris Johnson last night imposed a second lockdown in England which comes into force on Thursday and ‘discourages’ travel within the UK, unless for work or education.

Under the Prime Minister’s new rules, all non-essential businesses will close however schools and universities will remain open. 

Nicola Sturgeon on Saturday urged Scots not to travel into England due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases.

She has not specifically banned English visitors, like Mr Drakeford did in Wales, but she has previously suggested she would consider banning visitors from certain ‘high risk’ English counties. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announcing the new national lockdown for England last night in Downing Street

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, pictured here in the Scottish Parliament on Thursday 29 October, has urged Scots not to travel to England as it was announced England would go into a four-week lockdown on Thursday



On Saturday, October 30 Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures for the whole of England which are to come into force from Thursday.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close until December 2 and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

People will be allowed outside to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens, and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.


The whole of Wales is currently under a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown which started on October 23 and will last until November 9.

People can only leave their homes for limited reasons and must work from home where possible. 

Leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses are closed, along with community centres, libraries and recycling centres. Places of worship are shut other than for funerals or wedding ceremonies.


The majority of Scots will be placed into Level 3 of a new five-tier system from Monday, with the rest of the country in either Levels 1 or 2.

The central belt – including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk – will be joined by Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3.

Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and Angus will be in Level 2.

Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have been assessed as Level 1.

Levels 1, 2 and 3 are broadly comparable to tier system currently in place in England.

Despite ministers considering putting North and South Lanarkshire into Level 4 – equivalent to a full lockdown – First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday, 29 October that no area will be placed into that highest tier at the moment.

She has told Scots not to travel to England unless it is for ‘essential purposes’.

Northern Ireland

Pubs and restaurants were closed for four weeks starting on October 16 with the exception of takeaways and deliveries. Schools were closed for two weeks.

Retail outlets remain open, along with gyms for individual training.

People have been told they should work from home unless unable to do so, and have been urged not to take unnecessary journeys.  

Ms Sturgeon said the prevalence of the virus is lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK, after stricter measures were introduced north of the border in September.

Those saw Scots barred from going into other people’s homes, and the Scottish Government also acted to close bars and restaurants across the central belt in early October.

In Scotland, a new five-tiered restriction system comes into force on Monday – with Levels 1, 2 and 3 broadly comparable to the three tiers of restrictions currently in place in England. 

In Level 3 areas – the second highest tier in the new Scottish system and which affects the central belt including Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as Ayrshire and Dundee – people are urged not to go outside of their own local authority area.

All of Wales remains under a 17-day ‘firebreak’ lockdown which kicked in on October 23 and will run until November 9.

Similar to the new national lockdown in England, people may only leave their homes for work or for essential services or supplies.

On Saturday, Mr Drakeford said that the Welsh restrictions would still wrap up on November 9 despite any announcements from Mr Johnson which ‘relate to England.’

Meanwhile in Northern Ireland, pubs and restaurants have been closed since October 16 when schools were closed for two weeks.

Shops have stayed open, as well as gyms, but people have been advised to work from home where possible and not make any ‘unnecessary journeys.’ 

First Minister Arlene Foster has said schools will reopen on Monday and the current restrictions will remain in place until November 13 as planned. 

Mr Johnson said the lockdown in England would end on December 2 when local restrictions would be reintroduced depending on the latest data on the spread of the disease. 

But they could be extended beyond December 2 if rates do not significantly fall, a Cabinet minister admitted on Sunday. 

With regards to the furlough extension announced by Johnson, Sturgeon said: ‘We expect to have further discussion in the coming days about the scope of additional financial support being made available.

‘A crucial point for us is whether support on the scale announced for English businesses is available for Scottish businesses now or if we needed to impose further restrictions later – or if it is only available if Scotland has a full lockdown at the same time as a lockdown in England.

‘However, notwithstanding the above, today’s developments should be a reminder to people across Scotland of the need to follow the rules and not to put their own twist on them.

‘It is important we all comply with the rules in our area if we are to successfully suppress the virus, protect the NHS and keep as many businesses and services open.’

In another tweet responding to news the extension until December would be UK-wide, she said: ‘This is good and expected.

‘But a key question – is it only available during the period of English lockdown?

‘Or will it be available in event a devolved gov thinks it necessary to have tougher restrictions at a later stage?’

Scottish Government ministers and SNP MPs have made repeated calls for furlough to be extended since Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in September the scheme would end this month.

Sturgeon has also previously warned the new measures in Scotland represent the best chance of avoiding another national lockdown.

She added: ‘People across Scotland have faced significant restrictions since late September as we work to stop the increase in Covid cases across the country.

‘Prevalence of the virus is currently lower in Scotland than in other parts of the UK and there are some signs that those earlier restrictions may be starting to slow the rate of increase.

‘We will not hesitate to increase the level of protection either locally or nationally if required. Our new levels approach – including a potential Level 4 – enables us to respond quickly and flexibly as required.

‘Following today’s announcement by the Prime Minister we are also asking that people do not travel to England, or from England into Scotland unless absolutely essential, just as we are also asking people not to go to Northern Ireland or to Wales.

‘We know that these restrictions are difficult, but public health and preventing the spread of the virus must come first.’ 

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