England lockdown: What you can and can't do under month-long rules

2 November 2020, 12:01

By Ewan Somerville

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.

Boris Johnson said that without action, deaths would reach “several thousand a day”, with a “peak of mortality” worse than the country saw during the lockdown in April.

MPs will vote on the new measures before they are introduced at 00.01 on Thursday, and when they lapse on 2 December, the current tier system will be reintroduced.

"I’m afraid from Thursday the basic message is the same: Stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives,” the Prime Minister said. "The risk is, for the first time in our lives, the NHS will not be there for us.”

When do the new rules come into force?

The new national lockdown will run from Thursday November 5 until Wednesday 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, work if you cannot work from home and for exercise, which you can take as many times a day as you wish.

People can also leave for recreation 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.

What is closing?

Non-essential shops, hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed, including gyms and hair salons.

Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets will remain open.

Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services.

Hairdressers and beauty salons will close.

Do I need to shield again?

Mr Johnson said 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.

Can I exercise?

Yes, exercise is listed as one of the exemptions for leaving the house.

People will be allowed outside to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens.

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.

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?

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

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed - including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home for work purposes.

What if I’m already abroad?

Travellers are not required to return from their trips early.

Airlines are responsible under consumer law to bring travellers home, but flight schedules will be slashed in response to the drop in demand, meaning many people will be forced to change their travel dates.

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 are limited to close family members only. It is currently unclear what the rules are for weddings.

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.”

The measures in full lasting from Thursday until December 2:

- Stay at home unless for education, for work if you cannot work from home, for exercise, for medical reasons, to shop for food and essentials, to care for others

- Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed. Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets will remain open. Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or take-away services. Hairdressers and beauty salons will close.

- Schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. 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.

- People are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. People can travel for work. Anyone on holiday will be allowed to return to the UK.