Boris Johnson has tonight announced tough new measures nationwide to help curb the spread of Covid-19.
The Prime Minister addressed the nation this evening (October 31), to explain the new national lockdown, which will very soon replace the tiered-system brought in at the beginning of the month.
There are a whole raft of new measures which have been announced, similar to the lockdown in March. However under the new rules, educational establishments such as universities, colleges and schools, will be able to stay open.
The lockdown will begin at 12.01am on Thursday 5 November, subject to Parliamentary approval.
It will end on Wednesday 2 December, when the government seek to ease the new restrictions on a local and regional basis, according to the latest data and trends at the time.
The key difference between the first and second lockdown is that this one has a set cut-off time.
The lockdown will be subject to a debate and a vote in the House of Commons. The vote is likely on Wednesday.
Boris Johnson spoke to Keir Starmer and the Commons Speaker this afternoon following an emergency Cabinet meeting earlier this afternoon.
It is thought his announcement was brought forward to today after the plans leaked to three newspapers.
Under the terms of the new lockdown, you may only leave your home for specific reasons.
These will include:
- Work, if you cannot work from home;
- Exercise and recreation outdoors, either with own household or bubble, or on your own with one person from another household or bubble;
- For medical reasons, appointments, or to escape injury or harm, including domestic abuse;
- To shop for food and essentials;
- To provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.
Like in the first lockdown, any household social mixing between different households – indoors or outdoors – will be banned.
The exception to this is two people only from two households meeting in a public open space, as above. This exemption does not apply to private gardens.
Unlike in the first lockdown, there will be no limit to the number of times a day you can exercise.
Playgrounds will also remain open, unlike in the first lockdown. People will also be allowed to sit down on the park, including for a picnic.
However, the rule of six no longer applies to outdoor gatherings – instead, people can only meet one person from one other household or bubble, and only if they’re on their own when they do so.
Places of worship will remain open for private prayer.
Non essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed.
Pubs, bars and restaurants must also close, except for takeaway and delivery.
As per the previous lockdown, click and collect services can continue and essential shops, including for food, will remain open. Officials believe there is no need for stockpiling.
The definition of essential retail will be similar to the last lockdown.
Hairdressers will be closed.
Support bubbles will remain, which mean one household of any size can ‘bubble up’ with a household that only has one adult in it.Those two can then act as if they are in one household, as long as the arrangement is exclusive and they’re not in any other ‘bubbles’.
The definition or rules for support bubbles will not change.
Childcare bubbles – which allow informal childcare for kids under 14 – will remain as they are now.
Shielding will not resume under the new lockdown However, the ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ – the more than 2million people who shielded last time – will be asked to minimise contact with others, and not go to work if they’re unable to work from home.
The ‘clinically vulnerable’, which includes all over-70s and people with conditions like diabetes and asthma, will be asked to be especially careful to follow the rules or minimise contacts with others.
People will be told to continue using the NHS for non-Covid health care.
Elite sport – including the Premier League – can continue because it has put Covid measures in place.
But amateur sport including Saturday leagues will be put on hold for the duration of the four-week lockdown.
It is thought golf clubs will need to shut and gyms must also shut.
The new lockdown will apply to England only.
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have taken their own steps.
More details are expected to be spelt out, including on gov.uk, over the next few days and before Thursday.
Boris Johnson is understood to want to return to the current three-tier system, or something close to it, from December 2 onwards.
People will be told not to travel unless for a limited number of essential exemptions, similar to leaving home.
People will be expected not to go on holidays, either domestically in the UK or abroad.
Travel for work – including abroad – will still be allowed.
It was not immediately clear if this would be a legal ban or just guidance. The current system of travel corridors was expected to remain in place.