Coronavirus Guidance

As of 17th May 2021, England is in Step 3 of the Government's roadmap out of lockdown. To find the full set of guidance to what you can and cannot do in Step 3 go here. 

On this page, you’ll find information related to the coronavirus pandemic and relevant national measures which will affect any planned visit to Southampton. Given the fast-changing nature of the current situation, the information on this page may change at any time. 

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 (caused by coronavirus) is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. If you are unsure of what COVID-19 is or need medical advice please go to the NHS page here. If you think you may have any of the symptoms please call 111.

What's open in Southampton?

As of 17th May 2021, all businesses (apart from nightclubs) are able to reopen providing they follow the latest Government guidance. This includes:

  • Retail shops 
  • Hospitality businesses: pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants
  • Health & beauty businesses: hairdressers, tattooists, beauty salons and gyms
  • Accommodation: hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, self-catering 
  • Cultural venues: theatres, galleries, museums, concert halls
  • Leisure businesses: Cinemas, bowling alleys, indoor play areas, arcades 

Hospitality venues

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Restaurants, bars, pubs, cafés and takeaways can reopen for both indoor and outdoor dining. From 17th May 2021, hospitality venues will be able to serve groups of up to 6 or 2 households. Venues that serve alcohol will continue with table service, even if customers do not purchase alcohol. Venues that do not serve alcohol (i.e a coffee shop or fast food outlet) can allow customers to order from the counter. Social distancing measures still need to be in place, which may mean reduced capacity so booking in advance is always advised. From 17th May 2021, groups of up to 30 people will be allowed to eat/drink outside.
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When eating or drinking, you will be asked to provide your contact details to support the NHS Test & Trace system. You must do this by scanning the QR code in the venue or give your details to a member of staff. ALL members of the group must give their details, not just the person who booked. You might be refused entry if you do not comply. 


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Events may begin to resume across the country with limited capacity. There will be a cap on indoor events of 1,000 people or 50% of a venue's capacity, whichever is lower. Outdoor events will be capped at 4,000 people or 50% of a venue’s capacity, whichever is lower. Music gigs and other indoor standing events will be seated events to allow for social distancing measures to be followed.

Wearing face coverings

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It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in all indoor settings such as shops, supermarkets, beauty salons, museums, cinemas and bowling alleys. You must also wear one in all hospitality settings (bars, restaurants, cafes) unless you are sat down at a table eating and/or drinking. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate medical reason not to. Shop owners may refuse your entry if you do not wear one and you can be fined by the Police of up to £100. You can find more information on how to wear and make your own face covering here.

Social distancing


Rules on social distancing with your friends and family (not those in your household/support bubble) will also change next week when everyone will be asked to take personal responsibility for their choices. Guidance says you should remember that the risks of close contact may be greater for some more than others (e.g. whether a person has had the double vaccination) which should be considered. You can read more information on the changes in Step 3 here.

Getting tested

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Testing twice a week will help make sure you don’t have COVID-19, reducing the risk to those around you. Rapid lateral flow testing is now available free to anybody without symptoms. You can get your tests from pharmacies, testing sites, employers, schools, colleges and universities. You can also order tests to be delivered to your house. Find out more and order your tests here. 

Please remember, if you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should continue to get a PCR test - book one here. 

Getting Here / Getting Around

As a result of COVID-19, many transport providers across the country are operating reduced services. In terms of operators serving Southampton, please see go to our dedicated page here.  Please note it is mandatory to wear face coverings on any form of public transport unless exempt for medicial reasons. You can read how to make you own here. In terms of operators serving Southampton, please see links below for some specific updates:


South Western Railway

Southern Rail


Great Western Railway

Bus & Coach Travel

National Express 


First Southampton

Xela Bus


Southampton Airport ­

Ferry & Crusie

Red Funnel Ferries

Hythe Ferry

Cruise Travel - the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently advises against all but essential travel abroad, including cruises, until further notice. If your planned cruise is essential travel please contact your cruise line to check if you can still travel.

Business Information

If you are a business in Southampton and need information head to our GO! Southampton COVID-19 page for businesses support and guidance. 

You can also find the latest guidance and support for tourism businesses during COVID-19 on the Visit England Business Advice Hub. 

*Information correct as of 17th May 2021*

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