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.


International travel remains subject to restrictions, with countries rated green, amber or red. What you must do when you arrive in England from abroad depends on where you have been in the last 10 days before you arrive.

Holidays abroad to green rated countries are allowed without having to automatically quarantine on return, although testing is required whilst on holiday and within two days of arrival back in England.

Travellers to Amber rated countries who have been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) do not have to quarantine on their return, but must still complete a test within two days of arrival back in England.

Travellers to Amber rated countries who have not been fully vaccinated (plus 14 days) must quarantine at home on their return and take two tests.

The current Government advice is that people should not travel to red rated countries and any travellers must quarantine in a managed hotel on their return to England.

To see how countries are currently rated visit Red, amber and green list rules for entering England.

The rules and restrictions on international travel depend on which list the country you are visiting is on. For the latest guidance, please visit Foreign travel advice.

There are no restrictions on travel within England.