On 31st October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that England will begin a second period of lockdown in order to minimise the spread of COVID-19 cases. The restrictions will go into effect on 5th November and are currently planned to last through 2nd December.
Throughout the summer, the government attempted to gradually reopen businesses and ease restrictions. However, in recent weeks, COVID-19 cases have surged in both the UK and across Europe. The government had previously reimplemented certain restrictions, and even released a new tier system in an attempt to enforce more stringent restrictions at the local level, but a second lockdown has now been deemed necessary.
Stay at Home
Under the new lockdown restrictions, people must remain at home unless they have a legitimate reason to travel elsewhere, such as:
- For conducting work that is not possible to perform from home
- For childcare or education purposes that are not available online
- For exercise
- For meetings in outdoor public spaces if:
- Meeting with people from their own household
- Meeting with people from their support bubble
- Meeting with only one other person from another household at a time
- For medical reasons or to avoid risk of injury or harm
- For necessary shopping
- For visits to members of their support bubble or to provide care for vulnerable people
Staying Safe Outside
When leaving their homes, people are advised to take the following precautions during lockdown:
- Wash their hands regularly for 20 seconds.
- Wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult and they will be encountering people who are not a part of their household or support bubble.
- Maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from people who are not a part of their household or support bubble. A distance of 1 metre may be sufficient if additional precautionary measures—such as face coverings or increased ventilation—are present.
Meeting With Friends
Starting 5th November, indoor social gatherings with people who are not a part of the same household or support bubble are strictly prohibited.
People are permitted to exercise outdoors and meet with members of their household, support bubble or one other person at a time. Gatherings in private gardens are not allowed, but meetings may be conducted in outdoor public areas, such as:
- Public gardens
Businesses and Venues
The second coronavirus lockdown will force many businesses and venues to close until at least 2nd December.
Retailers providing essential goods and services—such as supermarkets and food shops—will be permitted to remain open. These businesses are required to follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect those on the premises.
All pubs and restaurants will be required to close, although takeaway and delivery operations may continue. Similarly, non-essential retail may continue to offer delivery to customers, as well as click-and-collect shopping.
In addition, the following businesses must close:
- Non-essential retail, such as clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agencies, betting shops and auction houses
- Leisure facilities, such as bowling alleys, gyms, sports facilities, golf courses, and water and theme parks
- Entertainment venues, such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, casinos, arcades and zoos
- Personal care facilities, such as salons and spas
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation services may remain open, but not to the general public. Guests should only be travelling for essential work. There may be other specific exceptions established that will allow these businesses to accommodate other types of guests.
School and Work
During the second coronavirus lockdown, all employees who can conduct their duties from home are required to do so. Those who cannot do so—such as construction employees and public sector workers involved in essential services—should continue to travel to work.
Schools, colleges and universities will not be closed during lockdown, but precautions must still be taken. Universities should consult government guidance in order to make campuses as safe as possible. The use of online learning should also be increased where possible. Additionally, students at university are not permitted to travel between their student homes and permanent residences. These students should return home only at the end of term.
Weddings, Religious Services and Funerals
During lockdown, funerals, weddings and other ceremonial events will be strictly limited. Funerals will have a maximum attendance of 30 people. Linked ceremonial events—such as stone settings and ash scatterings—may be attended by up to 15 people. Social distancing should be maintained during these events. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Places of worship must close during lockdown, except for the purposes of:
- Conducting funerals
- Broadcasting acts of worship
- Conducting individual prayer
- Providing formal childcare or operating as part of a school
- Providing essential services, such as donations of blood or food
- Hosting other permitted activities, such as those related to certain support groups
During lockdown, all non-essential travel should be avoided. In addition, it is advised that people avoid travelling outside of their local areas and limit their overall number of trips.
Examples of essential travel include:
- Conducting work that cannot be conducted from home
- Attending to education or caring responsibilities
- Attending medical appointments
- Shopping for essential goods and services
- Exercising in a specific area that requires a short trip
Childcare and some children’s activities will be able to remain operational during the second lockdown. Parents are also permitted to form a childcare bubble with another household in order to provide informal childcare for children under the age of 13.
People who may be at higher risk levels for COVID-19 should be especially careful to follow restrictions, maintain regular and thorough cleaning and minimise contact with others. Examples of people who are considered clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 include:
- People over the age of 70
- People who are pregnant
- People with underlying health conditions, such as:
- Chronic respiratory, heart, kidney or liver diseases
- Chronic neurological conditions
- Weakened immune system
- Severe obesity (body mass index of 40 or above)
It is essential to the UK’s ongoing battle against the coronavirus that all lockdown restrictions are followed. The government currently hopes that the nationwide lockdown can end on 2nd December. At that point, officials will analyse its most recent data with the goal of a return to applying safety measures at the local and regional level.
Contains public sector information published by GOV.UK and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0. This publication is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be exhaustive nor should any discussion or opinions be construed as compliance or legal advice. In relation to any particular problem which they may have, readers are advised to seek specific advice. Further, the law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly. Content by Zywave, Inc. provided by TH March.