Step Four of the unlocking of coronavirus restrictions took place on Monday 19 July, lifting most of the legal restrictions to control Covid-19.
Step 4 artwork covid alert

This means that:

Social guidelines

  • You do not need to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with, and there is no limit on the number of people you may meet up with. However, you should still be careful, meet outdoors where possible or let fresh air in if meeting at home or in other enclosed settings.

  • The legal requirement to wear face coverings has been lifted, but people are still recommended to continue to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces and on public transport.

  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, you are advised to follow the same guidance as everyone else.


  • All remaining businesses such as nightclubs can reopen and capacity limits no longer apply. Pubs, restaurants and bars no longer need to provide table service. It is no longer a legal requirement to check-in using the NHS Covid App, but you are still advised to do so. Some businesses may also ask for proof of vaccination as a condition of entry


Covid-19 has not gone away and there is still a risk that you may catch it or pass it on even if you are fully vaccinated.

If you develop Covid-19 symptoms (a new continuous cough, a high temperature or a loss or change in your sense of smell or taste) you should get a PCR test and self-isolate if the result is positive. For more information about PCR tests and how to get one, please Coronavirus testing.

The isolation period of 10 days still remains the law so you must self-isolate whilst you book your test, wait for your results and if you test positive. 

Around 1 in 3 people with Covid-19 do not have any symptoms, so they could be spreading the virus without knowing it. Rapid testing helps to identify these cases and limit onward spread. For more information about LFT tests and how to get them please visit Lateral flow home test kits.


From Monday 4 October the travel restrictions changed, with the traffic light system replaced by a single red list of countries.

Fully vaccinated people and people under the age of 18 travelling back from a non-red list country do not have to test before they depart but must take a PCR test two days after they arrive home. There is no need to isolate unless the test results are positive.

Unvaccinated people must take a PCR test before they depart and then self-isolate at home for ten days. They also have to take further PCR tests on days two and eight after they arrive home.

Anyone travelling from a red list country must quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days on their return to England.

To see which countries are currently on the red list, visit Red list of countries and territories.

There are no restrictions on travel within England.