Covid rules and support across the four nations

A round-up of the situation in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales with Theatres Trust’s responses.


England is currently operating under Plan B rules, announced on 8 December 2021 and reviewed on 4 January 2022. Theatres are allowed to open but masks are required and there is a recommendation to work from home where possible - read our response to to these measures. On 19 January, the Prime Minister announced that Plan B measures would be lifted on 26 January - read our response to this news

On 21 February the Prime Minister announced that all remaining restrictions would be lifted on 24 February, meaning that people testing positive will no longer be required to self-isolate. 

Theatres in England can access one-off mandatory grants of up to £6,000 and an additional £60m has been released to the Culture Recovery Fund. Read more about this support.

Northern Ireland

Theatres in Northern Ireland can open but Covid passes are required. 

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Department for Communities, will open online applications to a Covid Recovery Programme for Arts Organisations at 2pm on Friday 7 January with a deadline of 28 January. 


From the 26 December, live events were limited to capacities of 100 for indoor standing events, 200 for indoor seated event and 500 for outdoor events with a 1m distancing rule between groups in all settings (read our response). The rules were reviewed on 11 January and while restrictions on outdoor events were lifted, the restrictions on theatres remain in place, On 18 January it was announced that restrictions would be removed from 24 January - read our response to this.

On 22 February, it was announced that Scotland's Covid passport scheme will end on 28 February and that the legal requirement to wear face masks will be lifted on 21 March. For now the requirement to isolate for 10 days or until day 6 with a negative test will remain in place.

On 3 January, the Scottish Government announced details of a £65m financial package for culture and major events, which includes £31.5m for cultural organisations and venues, £2m for national performing companies and £10m for freelancers. 


From 26 December, theatres in Wales are subject a capacity cap of 200 and social distancing rules of 2m have been reintroduced. It was confirmed on 7 January that these restrictions will remain in place. Read our response to this announcement. On 14 January, the First Minister for Wales announced the roadmap for lifting restriction, which will see social distancing rules and capacity caps in theatres removed from 28 January. On 18 February the requirement for Covid passes was lifted although venues are free to continue to request it from customers if they wish.

The Welsh Government announced £15.4m to support arts and cultural organisations that have been impacted by the current restrictions. This will be operated by the Arts Council of Wales as the third round of the Cultural Recovery Fund and includes the previously announced Winter Stability Fund money, which has been merged into this scheme. Details are expected to be published on the Arts Council of Wales website on 12 January.

Theatres in Wales may also be eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Economic Resilience Fund Business Support. Non Domestic Rates Grant of up to £6,000 are also available. For more information visit the Welsh Government website.

Last update: 22 February 2022