Are we heading for a second national lockdown, and what are the new UK rules?

Boris Johnson announced on September 9 that plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later in September would have to be revised.  Indoor performances resumed on August 15.

Britain’s theatres, galleries and music venues will also receive a £1.57 billion rescue package. The Prime Minister described the arts as the “beating heart of this country” as he announced a package of grants in July amid warnings that many venues could fold without urgent government support.

Outdoor theatres reopened and other leisure venues, including cinemas, art galleries and museums were allowed to reopen more fully from July 4, albeit with their own social distancing rules in place.

Suggested guidance in galleries and museums includes one-way systems, spaced queuing, increased ventilation and pre-booked tickets. Wearing a mask is not mandatory. Cinemas are expected to sell only a certain proportion of seats for each movie and face masks are now mandatory.

Both the Cineworld and Picturehouse cinema chains have said film screenings will have staggered start and end times, and customers are likely to be required to queue outside before entering to maintain social distancing.

Once inside, families and friends who book together will be allowed to sit with each other at screenings, but it is likely that seats will be kept free between different bookings. However, there will be no pick ‘n’ mix or other self-service snacks.

In depth: This is what the Covid cinema experience is actually like 

Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos

Casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks reopened on August 15.

All of the above premises are expected to have “Covid-secure” measures in place, which will most likely involve limitations on customer capacity.


Places of worship are reopening, but hymns are forbidden due to the higher risk of the virus being transmitted through singing.  

Churches are encouraged to implement a “booking system”, meaning people may need to reserve their space ahead of services.

Worshippers are advised to bring their own bible or holy book to their place of worship with them. Where worshippers are unable to do so, books should be cleaned and quarantined for 48 hours since their previous use. Muslims should also bring their own prayer mat to services.

Communion is allowed if it is deemed “essential”, but worshippers should not drink from the same glass or share the same bread, which could come pre-wrapped. The priest distributing communion should wear gloves and all those involved in the practice should wash their hands before and after.

No hymns should be sung or wood instruments used as they create an “additional risk of infection”.

For christenings and other water rituals, only “small volumes” should be splashed onto the body with full immersion avoided. Those present should stand “distant from any splashes” and all those involved should thoroughly wash their hands before and after such ceremonies. Parents should hold their children throughout the christening service. 

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, confirmed that following social gatherings being restricted to six people, there is no change to guidance on places of worship.