Last night the Prime Minister addressed the nation, announcing a national lockdown, as he asked the British public to once again: stay at home, control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives. Everyone should follow the new rules from now, and they will become law from 00.01 on Wednesday. Parliament will sit, largely remotely, on Wednesday to debate and vote on the measures.
While there is no doubt that in fighting the old variant of the virus, our collective efforts were working and would have continued to work, we now face a new variant of the virus – which is spreading at an alarming speed. It is clear that we need to do more, together, to bring this new variant under control while our vaccines are rolled out.
To view the National lockdown: Stay at Home rules in full, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home. For Summary of National lockdown: Stay at Home, please read below:
National lockdown: Stay at Home
Leaving your home
From tomorrow, you must once again stay home. You may only leave home for limited reasons permitted in law, such as for the following reasons:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible.
You should work from home unless you absolutely cannot.
All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children. Schools will be required to provide remote education for those learning at home.
Early years settings such as nurseries, alternative provision and special schools will remain open and vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities.
Exercising and meeting other people
You should minimise time spent outside your home. It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
Support and childcare bubbles
You are still permitted to form support and childcare bubbles. You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable, we are advising you to begin shielding again.
Bars, pubs and restaurants
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. All Hospitality must close.
Retail and personal care
All non-essential retail and personal care services must close, or remain closed. 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.
Places of worship
Places of worship can also remain open, but you may only visit with your household.
Weddings 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. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people.
Care home visits
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.
Indoor and outdoor sports
Indoor and outdoor sports facilities including sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, and riding arenas must also close. Elite sport and disabled sport can continue, as can PE lessons for those children attending school.
You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
Parliament has been recalled to debate these measures tomorrow, with these new restrictions due to be formally reviewed on 15th February.
One huge difference compared to last year’s lockdowns
We are now rolling out the biggest vaccination programme in our history. So far, we in the UK have vaccinated more people than the rest of Europe combined. With the arrival yesterday of the UK’s own Oxford Astra Zeneca vaccine, the pace of vaccination is accelerating.
The NHS’s realistic expectations for the vaccination programme in the coming weeks is by the middle of February, if things go well and with a fair wind in our sails, we expect to have offered the first vaccine dose to everyone in the four top priority groups identified by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation.
That means vaccinating all residents in a care home for older adults and their carers, everyone over the age of 70, all frontline health and social care workers, and everyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable.
If we succeed in vaccinating all those groups, we will have removed huge numbers of people from the path of the virus. And of course, that will eventually enable us to lift many of the restrictions we have endured for so long.
To view the Prime Minister's full address to the nation, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/prime-ministers-address-to-the-nation-4-january-2021