THE NEW NATIONAL lockdown that comes into force from November 5 will bring a host of new restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus.
This comes as Lancashire as a whole has suffered from high infection rates and a series of local and tiered lockdowns since the summer.
With the rest of the country also seeing rising infections, prime minister Boris Johnson announced the decision last night for the new measures.
He said: “I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I’m truly, truly sorry for that – and that’s why we’re going to extend the furlough system through November.
“The furlough system was a success in the spring, it supported people in businesses in a critical time. We will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”
From Thursday November 5 until Wednesday December 2, the government is taking the following action:
- Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
- Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
- Closing certain businesses and venues.
At the end of the period, the government says it will look to return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.
Stay at home
This means you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:
- for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
- for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
- to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.
- for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm – such as domestic abuse
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
- to visit members of your support bubble or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer
Staying safe outside the home (Social Distancing)
People should minimise time spent outside the home and when around other people ensure that you are two metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble, keep faces covered and wash hands regularly.
Meeting with family and friends
The government says you must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit outdoor public places together.
You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or one person from another household.
Outdoor public places include:
- parks, beaches, countryside,
- public gardens, allotments
You cannot meet in a private garden.
Businesses and venues
The Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close, including:
- all non-essential retail stores including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
- 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,
- entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
- personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open.
Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
Playgrounds can remain open.
Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.
Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.
A full list of the business closures will be published and set out in law.
Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support.
Several public services will also stay open including:
- the NHS and medical services like GPs
- Jobcentre Plus sites
- Civil Registrations Offices
Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals
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.
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
Going to work
Everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so they should continue to travel to work/attend their workplace. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work.
Going to school, college and university
The Government will not be closing schools, colleges or universities and say that exams will go ahead next summer.
Universities and adult education settings meanwhile have been told they should consider moving to increased levels of online learning where possible.
There are further restrictions in place:
- if you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas
Childcare and children’s activities
Parents will still be able to access some registered childcare and other childcare activities where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work.
Early years settings can remain open. Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.
Some youth services may be able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.
Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus
If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If you are clinically vulnerable you:
- should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
- should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace
Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:
- aged 60 or over
- under 60 with an underlying health condition listed below
- chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
- chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- chronic kidney disease
- chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
- a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
- being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
Visiting relatives in care homes
The government says guidance on care home visits will be published ahead of Thursday. For now, you should follow existing guidance.
You should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport.
Essential travel includes, but is not limited to
- essential shopping
- travelling to work where your workplace is open or you cannot work 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
Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month.
The current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be retained to allow employees to continue to work where they can.
Employers are eligible and will now be asked to pay just National Insurance and Pensions contributions for their staff during the month of November.