Lockdown 2.0 - what are the new rules?

by Martin Malone

So it’s time for “Lockdown 2, Electric Avenue” (those who are old enough will recognise the reference – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtPk5IUbdH0). What are the key restrictions which will take effect from 00:01 on Thursday 5 November? In summary:

  • you must stay at home, except for specific purposes
  • there will be no gatherings with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes
  • many businesses and venues will be closed

The new rules will apply for an initial four weeks, until 2 December. The Government says that we will then return to the Tier system, almost certainly including Tier 3+ or, if you prefer, a new Tier 4 which will include the continued closure of pubs and restaurants. However, at the delayed Government press conference last Saturday, the medical and scientific experts said that this is contingent on getting the R rate “well below” 1 which is, taking into account not least the inevitable increase for at least the first couple of weeks, on any reading of the data, a tall order.

So here is a condensed version of the latest instructions (they have been revised several times already and there are no doubt further revisions to come). I’ve highlighted the more interesting aspects, such as less widely publicised or particularly significant restrictions.

Stay at home

You must not leave (or be outside) your home, other than:

  • for childcare or education where this is not available online
  • for work, where your workplace is open and you cannot work from home (professional work in other people’s homes remains permitted)
  • 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 one other person from another household”. Note: this replaces the “rule of six” and children under school age, as well as those dependant on round-the-clock care, will not count towards the total of two.
  • for medical reasons or emergencies, or to avoid or escape the risk of injury or harm, e.g. domestic abuse
  • shopping for basic necessities, e.g. for food and medicine, but as infrequently as possible
  • to visit members of your support bubble, provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer

Meeting with family and friends

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household (i.e. the people you live with), or your support bubble. A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins another household.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public spaces with your household, your support bubble, or one other person from another household (plus a child under school age or person requiring round-the-clock care) and “outdoor public spaces” include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside, public gardens, allotments, playgrounds

but you cannot meet in a private garden.

Businesses and venues

The businesses and venues which are required to close include:

  • all non-essential retail, 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, 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 good and services can remain open.

Non-essential retailers can remain open for deliveries and click-and-collect.

Hospitality venues must close but can still provide takeaway and delivery services (not including alcohol).

Hotels and similar accommodation can only open for “those who have to travel for work purposes“.

Certain public services providers will remain open, including:

  • NHS services
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • Courts
  • Civil Registrations offices

Weddings, religious services and funerals

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people and should be limited to close friends and family. Linked activities such as ash scatterings are limited to 15 people.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not permitted other than in exceptional circumstances (and no receptions).

Places of worship are to be closed, other than for for funerals, to broadcast acts of worship, individual prayer and other very limited reasons.

Education

Most education settings will remain open, at least for the moment. However, if you live at or near 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.

Shielding

Although the Prime Minister stated in his press conference that shielding is not being reintroduced, “quasi-shielding” is back and it covers a lot of people.

Clinically vulnerable

This group now includes people aged over 60 as well as those who have an underlying health condition (i.e. anyone who is advised to obtain a flu jab) – 5.9 million people.

These people should be “especially carefully to follow the rules and minimise…contacts with others” as well as continuing to wash their hands carefully and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in their homes and workspaces.

Clinically extremely vulnerable

These people (2.2 million) have specific serious health conditions. They should work from home (where possible) and not go to work at all (they may be able to claim SSP or Employment Support Allowance (ESA)). They should stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise.

The Government is going to write to all people in this category to set out detailed advice.

Travel

You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area and reduce the number of journeys that you make. Permitted travel includes:

  • travelling to work if you cannot work from home
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • hospital, GP and other medical appointments “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 so so

Overnight stays and holidays away from home, including holidays abroad and in the UK are not allowed. You cannot stay in a second home or stay with anyone that you do not live with, or are in a support bubble with, other than for very limited exceptions.

Advice

As you may have seen from my earlier posts, I've been keeping a very close eye on the rapidly moving restrictions throughout the Corinavirus pandemic and, in particular, their impact locally. If you are unsure about how they apply to you and/or your business, please don't hesitate to contact me and I will do my best to help, free of charge. You can contact me at martinmalone@canter-law.co.uk. We are all facing a tough winter but there will be better times to come!