England is officially back in lockdown: Everything you need to know

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England is officially back in lockdown.

From today (5 November), many businesses will close, most household mixing will be banned, and almost everyone will need to stay at home as much as possible.

The new restrictions will be in force until December 2 – when the government will perform a review.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is promising the lockdown will be lifted on schedule, but in the meantime, most of the country is set to spend four weeks in hibernation.

Here’s what you need to know now about the second lockdown.

What am I allowed to do during the second lockdown?

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From today, an official stay at home order is in effect. This means that you can only leave home for certain reasons.

These include:

  • Work and volunteering
  • Essential shopping
  • Visiting people in your support bubble
  • Medical reasons (such as appointments).
  • For individual prayer at a place of worship

Can I meet others during lockdown?

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The government’s official advice is as that you must not socialise in general.

However, you are allowed to exercise or meet in a public outdoor space with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

The only time you should be congregating in groups is at work, volunteering services and support groups. More info is available on the government website.

What must close during the second lockdown?

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The full list of premises required to close in the second lockdown is as follows:

  • All non-essential retail must shut. This includes clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls (click-and-collect and delivery services are permitted).
  • Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • Hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites (can remain operational in certain circumstances, such as when functioning as residences or for essential work purposes)
  • Leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios, climbing walls, archery, driving, and shooting ranges
  • Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, soft play centres and areas, circuses, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks, theme parks
  • Botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • Hairdressers, barbers, beauty, tanning and nail salons
  • Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services
  • Community centres, halls and libraries must close but can also remain open to certain people (e.g. libraries can provide access to IT and digital services for people who do not have it at home)
  • Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, and service broadcasting and funerals

What can stay open during the second lockdown?

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Some companies can continue trading throughout the second lockdown. These include:

  • Food shops
  • Supermarkets
  • Garden centres
  • Retailers providing essential goods and services
  • Petrol Stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas

The government has also published a list of businesses and places ‘permitted to open for a small number of exempt activities’. These include:

  • Education and training (including for schools to use sports and leisure facilities where that it part of their normal provision)
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • Blood donation
  • Food banks
  • Medical treatment
  • Elite sports persons (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), professional dancers and choreographers (in fitness and dance studios)
  • Training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • Professional film and TV filming

Public services will also remain open throughout the next lockdown. These include:

  • GPs
  • Dentists
  • Job centres
  • Courts and probation services
  • Civil Registrations Offices
  • Passport and Visa Services
  • Services provided to victims
  • Waste/recycling Centres

Can I travel during the second lockdown?

The government states: “If you live in England, you cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make.”

Travel is permitted for the following reasons:

  • travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • to visit those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • to buy goods or services from premises that are open, including essential retail
  • to spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of a pet, or veterinary services

For all the information on the new set of national restrictions, head over to the government website.

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