What do the new lockdown rules mean for me?

By Jane Kirby, PA Health Editor
·6-min read

Boris Johnson has ordered the country to stay at home in a bid to reverse the spread of coronavirus.

A new national lockdown across England means people must stay at home unless for specific reasons, such as attending school or college, or going to the supermarket.

– When do the new rules come into force?

The new national lockdown will run from November 5 until December 2.

The lockdown will then be eased on a regional basis according to the latest coronavirus case data at that time.

– Can I leave my home?

Yes, but only for specific reasons such as education, if it is not provided online, work if you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes) and for exercise, which you can take as many times a day as you wish.

People can also leave for recreational purposes with their own household, or on their own with one person from another household (a “one plus one” rule).

Examples of recreation include meeting up with a friend in the park for a walk or to sit on a bench and eat a sandwich. People will not be allowed to meet in homes and gardens, and golf clubs will remain shut.

People can also leave home to shop for food and essentials, and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.

Attending medical appointments is also allowed or to escape injury or harm (such as for people suffering domestic abuse).

Support bubbles will remain in place and people can still meet up in their bubble.

Children can move between the homes of their parents if their parents are separated.

There will be other “limited circumstances” where you can leave you home set out later.

– What will close?

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed.

Non-essential retail includes clothing and electronics stores, car showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.

Leisure includes bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.

Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions will close as well as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.

Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets, garden centres and shops “providing essential goods and services” will remain open.

Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services. Takeaway alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work and for a limited number of reasons which will be set out later.

– What else stays open?

The NHS and medical services such as GPs, along with Jobcentre Plus sites and courts.

– What if I shielded last time?

People over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are being told to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise their contact with others.

Anyone who was formally notified that they should shield last time and not go out to work will be advised not to go out to work this time.

However, formal shielding as happened during the March and April lockdown – where people were told not to leave home for any reason – will not be brought in.

People classed as clinically extremely vulnerable are being advised to work from home. If that is not possible people may be eligible for may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance.

More guidance will be published on Monday.

– What about visiting care homes?

Follow existing guidance. More will be published ahead of lockdown.

– Should my children go to school or to the childminder? Can they go to a playground?

Yes, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Students should not return home during term time, but can return home for the Christmas holiday.

Childminders and nurseries will stay open and childcare bubbles, where for example a grandparent provides childcare while a parent works, will be able to continue.

After-school clubs and sports clubs will be suspended until December 2.

Playgrounds and parks will remain open.

– Can I go on holiday, have an overnight stay or go to my second home?

No, you are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons.

People can travel for work and there are exemptions for overnights and second homes for work purposes.

Those who are already on holiday will be able to return to the UK.

– Is there a furlough scheme?

Yes, furlough will be payable at 80% up to a maximum of £2,500 for the duration of the package of tougher national measures. The support will be available across the UK.

Business premises forced to close in England will also receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under a Local Restrictions Support Grant.

A further £1.1 billion will be given to local authorities – distributed on the basis of £20 per head – for one-off payments to support businesses.

– Is there support for mortgages?

Yes. Homeowners will be able to take the option of mortgage payment holidays, which had been due to end on Saturday but have been extended.

– Can I go to church?

Churches will remain open for private prayer

Funerals will be limited to a maximum of 30 people, although it is advised that only close family members attend. Stone settings and scatterings should have no more than 15 people.

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies are only allowed in “exceptional circumstances”.

– Will Premier League football matches continue?

Yes. Boris Johnson said games would continue despite the restrictions.

– What if I live in an area with lower cases?

You must still observe the rules as they apply across England. Professor Chris Whitty said that many of the areas with lower case numbers have the highest rates of increase.

He also warned: “Some areas including the South West are likely to get pressure on beds really relatively early because of the way the NHS is constructed in those areas.”