On Saturday 31st of October, the Government announced there would be a second national lockdown. However with the changes to recent restrictions in certain areas of the UK around the same time of that announcement, and the overwhelming amount of information circulating the internet, it has become confusing what the effects will be on families.
Why are we going into a second lockdown?
The Government announced that COVID-19 cases are rising rapidly across the nation. They have announced that “The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.”
It has been decided that reducing day-to-day with people will reduce the spread of the infection. Therefore the Government has decided to take the following action:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Closing certain businesses and venues.
As it stands, these restrictions will be in place until from the 5th of November to Wednesday 2nd of December. The restrictions will also be underpinned by law which will make clear about what you must and must not do from 5 November. The relevant authorities, including the police, will have powers to enforce the law – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
When can I leave my home?
You must not leave your home except for the following purposes:
- for childcare or education
- for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home
- to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place
- for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies
- to avoid or escape risk of harm due to domestic abuse
- shopping for essential items
- to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Can I see my family and friends during the lockdown?
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. (A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household.)
However you can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household.
Outdoor public places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside,
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
You cannot meet in a private garden.
What businesses and venues will have to close?
The Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:
- all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
- indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as 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,
- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
- personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services, such as law firms, can remain open.
Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions.
A number of public services will also stay open and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:
- the NHS and medical services like GPs. We are supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.
- Jobcentre Plus sites
- Civil Registrations Offices
Can I attend a Wedding or Funeral?
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people attending.
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Should I still go into work during the lockdown?
Everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace.
Do my Children still go to School, College or University?
Schools, Colleges and Universities will remain open during the lockdown.
If you live at University, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas.
Can I continue to organise childcare?
Yes, parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, or for the purposes of respite care.
Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.
Can I travel during lockdown?
You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:
- travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
- visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
- exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so
Can I take a holiday during lockdown?
Overnight stays and holidays away are not allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. You also cannot visit a second home.
The only exceptions for travel or overnight stays is for work, education or legally permitted purposes.
Can I travel by public transport?
Yes but you should only use public transport for work, education or other legally permitted purposes. You must wear a facemask (unless you are medically exempt) and follow social distancing guidelines.
Can I car share?
You should avoid sharing a car with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. To do this, you can:
- opening windows for ventilation
- travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
- facing away from each other
- considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
What financial support is available?
The Government Furlough Scheme has been extended. Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.
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