Covid: What you can and can’t do under new lockdown restrictions

LAST night, Boris Johnson announced England would be placed under a third national lockdown, which will remain in place until at least mid-February.

The measures have been introduced in an attempt to stop the spread of a new, more transmissible strain of Covid-19 which caused cases to soar across Essex.

The restrictions, which bear many similarities to the Tier 4 measures already implemented across Essex, will be in place from today.

These are the key measures in place under “National Lockdown: Stay at Home”:

1. Leaving home

“You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary,” the government website states.

Police can take action against anyone who leaves their home without a “reasonable excuse”.

“Reasonable excuses” include –

– Shopping for basic necessities

– Going to work if this work cannot be completed from home

– Exercise

– Meeting with a support or childcare bubble

– Providing care

– For medical reasons or to seek medical assistance

– Attending education (for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers)

2. Exercise

Exercise is one of the “necessary” reasons to leave the house.

However, as during the March 2020 lockdown, the government says that “this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area”.

– Communal worship and life events (such as weddings and funerals)

Exercise may be completed with one person from another household if social distancing measures are adhered to.

This must be completed in a public outdoor space.

3. Meeting others

“You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with,” the government website states.

Exercise may be completed with one person from another household if social distancing measures are adhered to.

“You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason,” the restrictions say.

4. Meeting in larger groups

Larger groups may not meet for socialising purposes.

They may meet:

– For work

– In a childcare bubble

– When using education or childcare services

– For arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians

– To allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care

– To see someone who is dying

– To fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service

– To provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer

– For a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to six people

– For funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people.

5. Travel

The restrictions surrounding travel mirror the rules around leaving home, with people urged not to leave their home unless they have one of the lised “reasonable excuses”.

Government guidance states: “If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.”

During the first national lockdown, there was contention over people travelling to Sussex from other areas for exercise and recreation.

The government restrictions surrounding travelling for outdoor exercise state: “This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary.”

6. Education

All schools have been told to move to remote learning, except for vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers.

Exams such as A-Levels and GCSEs will not go ahead this summer as planned.

“We will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly,” a government spokesman said.

“Public exams and vocational assessments scheduled to take place in January will go ahead as planned.”

The vast majority of university students are being told to “remain where they are wherever possible” and will begin their spring term online.

These courses will continue face-to-face learning:

– Medicine and dentistry

– Medicine and health-related subjects

– Veterinary science

– Initial teacher training

– Social work

– Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled

7. Sport

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed.

Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Elite sport will also continue.

8. Punishment for breaking the rules

Police can take action against those who meet in larger groups.

This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices of FPN).

An FPN of £200 will be issued for the first offence, and this will double each time an offence is committed by the same person.

The maximum FPN police can issue for repeated breaches is £6,400.

Officers can also issue a £10,000 fine to people who hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people.

Echo | News