National lockdown in England
- England will be entering a national lockdown, the Government is instructing people to stay at home and this will be backed up with legislation
- People will be permitted to leave home for limited reasons, including shopping for essentials, work if you cannot work from home, exercise, or to seek medical assistance.
- Shielding will begin again, those at risk will receive a letter.
- Primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges must move to online learning – except for vulnerable children and children of key workers. Nurseries will continue to be open.
- All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol.
- Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open.
Everyone should follow the new rules from now, and they will become law from 00.01 on Wednesday 6 January. Parliament will sit, largely remotely, on Wednesday to debate and vote on the measures. The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improves.
The following guidance has been published on GOV.UK for people who are fit and well.
People can exercise in a public outdoor place alone, with the people they live with, with their support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare or, when alone, with one person from another household
Public outdoor places include:
- Parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
- Public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
- The grounds of a heritage site
Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.
- People must not leave their home unless they have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If people need to travel, they should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of their village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys made overall.
- People can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where they first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, they should consider the public health advice in the country being visited.
- People cannot leave their home or the place where they are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not a primary residence.
Businesses and venues which must close
To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close will be available shortly in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:
- Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
- Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
- Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
- Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
- Animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
- Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
- Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services– for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services.
Businesses and venues which can remain open
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses will be available on GOV.UK shortly but some businesses in the tourism, hospitality and leisure sector that can remain open include:
- Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
- Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- Outdoor playgrounds
- Places of worship
- Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres and off-licences, market stalls selling essential retail
- Petrol stations, taxi and vehicle hire businesses
Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
- Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
- Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance.
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people and in exceptional circumstances.
New lockdown grants to support businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors
The Chancellor has announced grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors.
The one-off top-up grants will be provided on a per property basis to businesses closed as a result of the latest restrictions as follows:
- £4,000 for businesses with a rateable value of £15,000 or under
- £6,000 for businesses with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- £9,000 for businesses with a rateable value of over £51,000
A further £594 million is also being made available for Local Authorities and the Devolved Administrations to support other businesses not eligible for the grants, that might be affected by the restrictions. Businesses should apply to their Local Authorities.
The new one-off grants are in addition to the existing business support, including grants worth up to £3,000 for closed businesses, and up to £2,100 per month for impacted businesses once they reopen.
You can also visit the Business Advice Hub for practical guidance to help you operate in a COVID-19 Secure way during the pandemic.