Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Wales Online
Wales Online
Cathy Owen

Everything people in Wales can't do that England now get on 'freedom day'

From today (July 19), England has put an end to coronavirus restrictions - meaning there are some differences will Wales.

There were excited scenes at midnight as nightclubs were allowed to re-open for the first time in 16 months, but Wales is taking a more cautious approach to re-opening. The scenes in England at midnight here.

Revellers in Wales have a longer wait but First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced that Wales is set to lift nearly all restrictions on people and businesses on Saturday, August 7, which includes nightclubs and festivals. You can read the full key details of Wales' Alert Level 0 and how it will change our lives here and the full timetable for easing lockdown in Wales here, along with the full rules. The full rules on masks in indoor venues are here.

Here are all of the differences between Wales and England as the latter enters its 'Freedom Day'.

Social distancing

The current rule in England, which states that people must maintain a one metre plus distance with individuals from other households will be lifted - except in specific situations such as after testing positive for Covid-19 and at airports.

In Wales, social distancing of two metres between different households will remain in all indoor and outdoor public places. The Welsh Government advice says: "Keep your distance from other people who are not part of your household or extended household – stay two metres (3 steps) away from others when outdoors and in enclosed spaces outside the home setting."

There will no longer be a firm two-metre social distancing rule for businesses and at events if Wales can enter alert level zero on August 7.

Face coverings

Starting on Monday, previous rules which dictated that face coverings must be worn in the public places such as shops will be lifted in England, and individuals will instead be asked to "exercise their personal responsibility".

The government will also remove the requirement to wear face masks on public transport.

However, face coverings will still be strongly recommended in all public spaces.

In Wales, meanwhile, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said that face coverings will continue to be mandatory in shops and on public transport for the time being.

Wales' chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said high levels of community transmission and the possibility of more hospital admissions and deaths are the reason why Wales has chosen to keep certain lockdown restrictions in place. The full rules on masks in Wales here.

Pubs, cafés and restaurants

In England, there will be no restrictions put on cafés restaurants or pubs at all, meaning no more limits on the number of household that can meet and no requirement of social distancing - as well the end of having to scan QR codes.

Face coverings will be recommended - but not required by law - particularly in small venues will poor ventilation.

People in Wales will have to wait until August 7 for more restrictions to be lifted. From that date, masks will not need to be worn in hospitality settings and there will be no limit on numbers who can meet.

Nightclubs and festivals

Nightclubs have been allowed to open for the first time since March 2020 in England from midnight on July 19.

Late-night venues in England will not be required by law to require a negative Covid test before gaining entry or impose social distancing, but have been strongly urged to enforce the former.

People dancing at a nightclub in Leeds (Ioannis Alexopoulos/PA)

Welsh nightclubs and other late-night venues will not be permitted to open under level 0 restrictions, and the date has been given as August 7. Festivals should also be allowed to go ahead from that date and last week the Green Man Festival announced it was going ahead in August.

Working from home

In Wales, people will be urged to continue working from home wherever possible in level 0.

The UK government have taken a more lax approach in England, stating it "will no longer be necessary" to work from home after July 19.

Sporting events

Following July 19, music festivals and large-scale sporting events will be permitted to take place as they were before March 2020.

Boris Johnson has encouraged venues to require a negative test result before entry to limit the spread of the virus, however.

In Wales, organised indoor events can take place for up to 1,000 seated and up to 200 standing.


Weddings in England will return to near-normal, with no restrictions on the number that can attend.

In Wales, currently indoor weddings and receptions can go ahead with as many guests as can safely socially distance indoors. It means for many couples there is still an effective cap on the number of their guests. Under the new rules from August 7 it would be up to each venue to determine whether social distancing still needs to be in place at the two metre distance or whether other measures could be put in its place.

The risk assessment is a legal requirement and will mean an organiser has to identify the risks and any mitigating measures.


International travel in both Wales and England will still be heavily restricted and determined by which countries are on their respective green, amber and red lists.

From Monday, fully vaccinated people won't have to quarantine on returning from an amber list country. The Welsh Government has continued to repeat its guidance that people should not travel abroad, but a number of rules have changed.

To get the latest email updates from WalesOnline click here.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.