Coronavirus Guidance

*Correct as of 22 July*

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.

Current Social Distancing Guidance

The new 'Stay Alert' Government guidelines continues to ask everyone to stay at home as much as possible as well as: 

  • Work from home if you can
  • Limit contact with other people
  • Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

As the weeks have gone on new guidance from Government has meant you are able to see more people in indoor and outdoor settings. The following rules apply:

  • You no longer have to stay at home, but when you do go outside please follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home.
  • Two households can now meet indoors with social distancing in place. 
  • You can also stay over at someone else's home whilst maintaining social distancing 
  • You can meet groups of up to six people in outdoor settings who you do not live with or are not in your support bubble
  • People can now use public transport for other reasons that work but must wear a face coverings at all times. There are no restrictions on how far you can travel. 

To find the full list of what you can and cannot do, head to the Government page here.

Wearing Face Coverings

On 17 July 2020, the Prime Minister announced the next stages of the Roadmap To Recovery, which includes the use of wearing face coverings. As of 24 July, it will become mandatory to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets unless 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. 

Reopening of Non-Essential Retail Businesses

On 23 March 2020, the Government instructed all non-essential business and premises to close to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. There were few exceptions to these closures such as food shops, pharmacies and banks. 

As part of the Governments COVID-19 Recovery Strategy, published on 11 May, a three-step plan to ease lockdown restrictions which includes a phased return of businesses. From 1 June,  outdoor markets, garden centres and car showrooms will be allowed to open.  

As of 15 June, all other non-essential businesses are able to reopen providing they follow the COVID secure guidelines. These non-essential businesses include shops that sell clothes, shoes, toys, furniture, books, homeware and electronics, plus mobile phone stores, betting shops and chemists. We advise checking with the individual stores for opening times and specific social distancing procedures.  Please visit our Be Smart In Southampton page to find out the measures that are being put in place to help your trip to Southampton a hassle-free, safe and enjoyable one. 


Government guidance states that gatherings of more than two people (unless you're from the same household) are currently banned. Therefore events scheduled to take place in that period have no choice but to cancel or postpone. 

Our events listings are powered by The List, a third-party events portal, who are working hard to get all events updated as quickly as possible. However, if you were planning to attend a specific event we advise you to contact the event organiser/venue directly for the most up-to-date information.

Our new Southampton From Your SOfa pages allows you to connect with cultural venues across the city through online events, exhibitions, games, concerts, clubs, courses and resources. Until our city is fully up and running again we will bring you the best of what Southampton has to offer, available to you from the comfort of your own SOfa. 

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. As of 15 June 2020, it is now mandatory to wear face coverings on any form of public transport. 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.

Opening Hospitality Sector

As of 4 July, pubs, cafés, restaurants and bars were able to reopen, providing they put in the specific COVD-secure measures to keep their staff and customers safe. Many places are open in the city but some still remain closed. Please go to our Be Smart page to find out more information about eating and drinking in the city. 

Some restaurants are still operating a delivery service through their own website or via third-party platforms such as Uber Eats or Deliveroo. Some outlets may be running a takeaway collection service as well/instead. We are attempting to keep our business listings up-to-date with this information, however businesses' are understandably changing their operations at very short notice in this unprecedented period, so please check directly with individual businesses for the very latest information.

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. 

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