New National Restrictions: Stay at Home; Protect the NHS; and Save Lives
What are the new national restrictions?
The public must stay at home and avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport. People may only leave home for limited reasons, including:
- Work if it is impossible for do this from home
- Essential shopping
- Outdoor exercise
- Medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm
- Providing care for vulnerable people or volunteering
- Caring for a child – including informal childcare. Children can move between homes if their parents are separated.
- Visiting members of your support bubble- adults living alone will still be able to form support bubbles
Meeting indoors or in private gardens will not be allowed, but individuals can meet one other person from another household outside in a public place. Children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside. This will mean that a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children. Children and adults who are dependent on around-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, will also be included.
- Non-essential shops, pubs, bars& restaurants will all be closed – but will be able to provide takeaway.
- Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities must close, along with entertainment venues and personal care facilities such as beauty salons.
- Non-essential retail will close apart from for click-and-collect purchases
- Essential shops will stay open: there is no need for people to stock up.
- NHS services, including GP surgeries will remain open. If you think you might need medical care it is important to come forward. GPs and hospitals have processes in place to keep you safe
- Workplaces should stay open where people cannot work from home – for example in the construction or manufacturing sectors.
- Places of worship will close, unless they are being used for funerals, for broadcasting acts of worship, individual prayer, formal childcare, or essential services such as blood donation or food banks
- Those who are clinically vulnerable, or over the age of 70, will be advised to be especially careful to follow the rules, to minimise their contacts with others, and not to go to work if they are unable to work from home. The Government will not ask people to shield in the same way again.
- Elite sport will be allowed to continue behind closed doors. But there will be no exemption for other organised team sports, and indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools and golf courses will have to close.
When do they start?
These measures will be time-limited, starting Thursday 5 November. These restrictions will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December, and will override the current Local Alert Level restrictions. On Wednesday 2 December, we will seek to ease restrictions on a local and regional basis according to the latest data and trends.
Is this the same as the first national lockdown? Whilst these new national restrictions require the public to stay at home, similarly to the first national lockdown, there will be some differences compared to March:
- These are time-limited measures. On the 2 December, we will seek to ease restrictions, on a local and regional basis, according to the latest data.
- Our priority remains keeping young people in education - so formal and informal childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open. Our senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be.
- We will also keep provision for non-COVID-19 healthcare needs going. We will continue to say clearly to the public that unless their clinicians tell them otherwise they should continue to use the NHS, get their scans, turn up for their appointments and pick up their treatments.
Will Parliament have any say on any future restrictions? These restrictions are time limited. After four weeks, on Wednesday 2 December, they will expire, and we intend to return to a tiered system on a local and regional basis, according to the latest data and trends. The House will have a vote to agree the way forward. We have updated the Devolved Administrations on the action we are taking in England, and we will continue to work with them on plans for Christmas and beyond.
Why did the lockdown not happen this earlier? There is never a good time to disrupt people’s lives, and tougher national measures cannot be entered into lightly. The Government had hoped we could manage the situation with our regional system of alert levels. That’s because a national lockdown is not cost-free–not only in terms of jobs, businesses, and livelihoods, but also the impact on mental health and loneliness. This is why we have been so determined to try and avoid another national lockdown. But we have always been clear that we wouldn’t hesitate to take further measures, and the latest data demonstrates that time is now.
Why is Rebecca supporting the Government's strategy?
The second coronavirus peak that we have seen around the world has shown us all that we are going to be dealing with the coronavirus for the long-term. That is why over the past weeks and months we have been working on a long-term, balanced approach that protects the NHS, keeps children in school, lets the economy function as much as possible, and does not require constant changes.
We had hoped we could manage the situation with our regional system of alert levels, and allow as many people to live as normal a life as possible. That’s because a national lockdown is not cost-free - not only in terms of jobs, businesses, and livelihoods, but also the impact on mental health and loneliness. This is why we have been so determined to try and avoid another national lockdown. But over the last few days the situation has significantly deteriorated.
This is now clearly a national problem. While the virus is more widespread in the North West, it is doubling faster in the South East, and fastest in the Midlands. on present trends hospitals in the South West would run out of current capacity by the end of November. Other regions would follow soon after.
If the NHS were to be overwhelmed, it would mean non-Covid cases turned away from hospital because there is no room left; critically important surgeries and treatments cancelled and many left without treatment. We will increase NHS capacity as much as possible but even if we doubled NHS capacity, that extra capacity would also be full within a single doubling time of the virus. Everyone can see that the situation in the UK, and across other parts of Europe, right now is incredibly serious. Incidence rates are growing and the NHS is under increasing pressure.
We need to take action now to protect the NHS and to reduce transmission. We must do this to curtail the exponential growth in hospitalisations and deaths. This aggressive action allows us the prospect of a better December. The alternative would be even more stringent, and longer-lasting, interventions through December and thereafter. What happens next depends on each and every one of us. It is therefore necessary for Rebecca to ask you to follow the Government’s guidelines: stay at home; protect the NHS; and save lives.
Why are schools and universities staying open?
The Government will continue to prioritise the wellbeing and long-term futures of our young people and will not be closing schools, colleges or universities. It remains very important for children and young people to attend, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians. Senior clinicians still advise that school is the best place for children to be, and so they should continue to go to school. Schools have implemented a range of protective measures to make them safe.
The Prime Minister and Education Secretary have been clear that exams will go ahead next summer, as they are the fairest and most accurate way to measure a pupil’s attainment. We therefore need to keep schools and colleges open so that children are able to keep progressing towards exams and the next stage of education or employment. Students now have more time to prepare for their exams next year, as most AS, A levels and GCSEs will be held 3 weeks later to help address the disruption caused by the pandemic.
What economic support is the Government offering?
Over the past eight months of this crisis we have helped millions of people to continue to provide for their families. But now - along with many other countries around the world - we face a tough winter ahead. We have always said that we will do whatever it takes as the situation evolves. Now, as restrictions get tougher, we are taking steps to provide further financial support to protect jobs and businesses. These changes will provide a provide a vital safety net for people across the UK.
- Extend Furlough for November - The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, known as the furlough scheme, will be extended until the end of November to cover the new restrictions with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked.
- Support businesses forced to close - Business premises which are legally forced to close to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month in England.
- Additional support for local authorities - £1.1 billion will also be provided to Local Authorities to enable them to support businesses.
Banks are extended Mortgage payment holidays for homeowners financially affected by the pandemic. Borrowers who have not yet had a mortgage holiday can request from their lender a pause in repayments, and that can last up to six months. Those who have had their payments deferred already can extend their mortgage holiday until they reach the six-month limit. Read MORE...
What do the new national restrictions mean for places of worship?
Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:
- To broadcast acts of worship
- Individual prayer
- Formal childcare or where part of a school
- Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
- Other exempted activities such as some support groups
What about weddings, funerals and civil partnerships? Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.
Will Remembrance Sunday events happen? Remembrance Sunday is on 8th November, the Prime Minister has said outdoor events of commemoration can go ahead if they take place with social distancing being observed.
What do the new national restrictions mean for meeting with family and friends?
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble. You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
Outdoor public places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside,
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
You cannot meet in a private garden.
What exercise/sport can I take part in?
The Government recognises the vital role sports and physical activity plays in ensuring physical and mental health. You can exercise in an outdoor public place with one person from outside your household or bubble if you remain socially distanced. For example: going for a run or bike ride, or outdoor yoga.
Group exercise classes are not permitted in any setting during the lockdown. Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.
- Question: Golf clubs and gyms will be closed despite their valiant efforts to ensure that they are Covid safe. Will the Prime Minister publish the scientific data behind this set of decisions?
- The Prime Minister’s answer: “I am happy to provide all the scientific data on which these decisions have been made, but I think that the House will appreciate that for any particular human activity, one can always find an arguable exemption from these measures—or from many of them. The difficulty is that to be consistent and have a package that works, we need a thoroughgoing series of measures of the kind that we have described. I bitterly regret that we have to curtail for 28 days football clubs and sporting activities in the way that we are—I bitterly, bitterly regret it—but I believe that that is necessary to get the R down.”
Can I travel?
You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:
- travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
- travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
- hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
- visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
- exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so
If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.
Can I go on holiday?
Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes, but this means people cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.
Can I still see relatives in care homes?
All care home residents in England should be allowed to receive visits from their family and friends in a COVID-secure way – with social distancing and PPE – following new guidance to be used while national restrictions are in place from Thursday 5 November.
Visits outside of these principles should still be allowed in exceptional circumstances such as end of life.
When will this end? Will ‘normality’ ever return to our lives?
We have updated the Devolved Administrations on the action we are taking in England and stand ready to work with them on plans for Christmas and beyond.
We are optimistic that this will feel different and better by the spring. We have ever better medicine and therapies, and the realistic hope of a vaccine in the first quarter of next year. We now have the immediate prospect of using many millions of cheap, reliable and above all rapid turnaround tests, that you can use yourself to tell whether or not you are infectious within 10 to 15 minutes. We know from trials across the country in schools and hospitals that we can use these tests to drive down the disease. We are planning a steady but massive expansion of these quick turnaround tests applying them in all kinds of situations, from helping women to have their partners with them in labour wards, to testing whole towns and even whole cities. The army has been brought in to work on the logistics and the programme will begin in a matter of days, working with local communities, local Government, public health directors and organisations of all kinds to help people discover whether or not they are infectious, and immediately to get them to self-isolate and to stop the spread.
The country will get through this – but we must act now to contain this autumn surge. We are not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April - it is less prohibitive and less restrictive. However, from Thursday until the 2nd of December the basic message is the same: stay at home; protect the NHS; and save lives.
Also, please be aware of two important documents we released on 5 November: 1. care home visiting guidance; and 2. guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable.