Covid restrictions: This is what you can and can’t do in the new national lockdown

Last night Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another national lockdown for England in an attempt to slow the rapid spread of coronavirus infections.
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The new rules came into force from the moment it was announced and will become law from midnight on Wednesday morning (January 6).

It is the third time the whole country has faced harsh restrictions in almost a year, and less than a week since Lancashire was placed under Tier 4 restrictions.

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This is what you can and can't do during the national lockdown:

Boris Johnson made the announcement that the country would be placed into a its third national lockdown last night.Boris Johnson made the announcement that the country would be placed into a its third national lockdown last night.
Boris Johnson made the announcement that the country would be placed into a its third national lockdown last night.

People will only be allowed to leave their house for limited reasons

Mr Johnson said residents can leave their homes for shopping for necessities such as food and medicine, but only as infrequently as possible.

They can also do this if they are caring for somebody, are a volunteer, or to provide essentials for people who are self-isolating.

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Exercise will be allowed – preferably limited to once a day – with members of your household or support bubble or one other person from another household, such as going for a walk or run. Exercise should be taken locally.

People can leave home for medical reasons and other essential tasks such as being with someone who is giving birth, or to visit someone who is dying.

People will be able to go to work if it is impossible to work from home, such as those in the construction sector or who are critical workers. All others must work from home.

Cleaners and other trades people will still be able to work in people’s homes.

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Regarding international travel, only essential journeys are permitted.

– The lockdown is expected to stay in place until the middle of February and police will have enforcement powers

The lockdown comes into force immediately and is expected to go on until the middle of February. The start of the February school half-term is scheduled for the middle of the month.

The lockdown is being enshrined in law and police can take action if people leave home without a reasonable excuse.

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The police can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

– All schools will move to remote learning

All primary and secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of keyworkers or vulnerable children.

Early years settings such as nurseries and childminders can remain open, and existing childcare bubbles will be allowed to stay in place.

University students will not be allowed to return to campus and will be expected to study from their current residence.

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In-person university teaching will only take place for a small number of critical courses, including medicine, dentistry, teacher training, veterinary science and social work.

– Churches can stay open but weddings are only allowed in exceptional circumstances

Places of worship can remain open for individual prayers and communal worship, but people should only visit with their household or support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed only in exceptional circumstances (such as where one partner is seriously ill) and with strict limits on attendance (up to six people).

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A maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral while wakes and other ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to six people.

– Non-essential shops will close in all areas

All non-essential shops, hairdressers and personal care salons must close.

Supermarkets, pharmacies, off-licences, builders’ merchants and garden centres can stay open, as can launderettes, car repair shops, car washes, banks, market stalls selling essentials and bike shops.

Restaurants and other hospitality venues can continue with delivery or takeaway only, but people will not be able to add alcohol to any orders they collect.

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Entertainment venues such as cinemas, skating rinks and bowling alleys must remain closed.

– Those who shield should not go to work

Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise.

They are advised not to go to work even if they cannot work from home. New shielding letters are to be sent to homes.

– Close contact care home visits are banned

The Government guidance says visits to care homes can take place only with “substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows”.

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Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed and no visits will be permitted in the event of a Covid outbreak at a home.

– Playgrounds will remain open

But gyms (indoor and outdoor), tennis courts, swimming pools and golf courses must close, and outdoor team sports will not be permitted.

Premier League and other elite sports that already have in place strict testing regimes and their own bubbles will be allowed to continue.

– The buying and selling of houses can still go ahead

The Government guidance says “you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property”.

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People should not ask others outside their support bubble to help them move belongings around.

– People must not stay away overnight without a reasonable excuse. Visits to second homes are banned.

Holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed, including staying in a second home or caravan.

People must also not stay overnight with anyone they do not live with unless they are in a support bubble.

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Some exceptions do apply such as if people are unable to return to their main residence, need accommodation while moving house or for work, or need accommodation to attend a funeral.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests need accommodation while moving house.