The Prime Minister has proposed a 4 week national lockdown, beginning on Thursday 5 November.
These are subject to approval in Parliament. On Wednesday 4 November there will be a debate and vote in the House of Commons on these measures.
New lockdown rules
Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.
Until then the Epping Forest district remains in the High Tier 2 of local restrictions.
Stay at home
Like in March, people will be asked to stay at home, except for the following reasons:
- Education – schools, colleges, and universities will remain open
- Work – if your workplace is open and you cannot work from home
- Shopping for food and essentials
- Exercise and outdoor recreation. This is subject to restrictions – more info below
- For medical reasons or appointments
- To escape injury or harm, such as domestic abuse
- To provide care for vulnerable people
Can I meet up with friends?
Indoor gatherings with anyone from outside your household or support bubble are not allowed.
That means you cannot go to a friend’s house unless you are in a support bubble with them – see below.
Some outdoor meetings are allowed – see below.
Can I meet people outside?
Outdoor meetings will only be allowed in public open spaces, such as parks. So you cannot meet people in private gardens.
You can meet outdoors with your own household or support bubble.
Individuals can meet outdoors with 1 person from another household (so a maximum of 2 people, if you are mixing out of your bubble) but 2m social distancing should be maintained at all times.
Children under school age do not count towards the limit of 2 people so, for example, a parent could meet a friend or family member in the park with their baby or toddler.
If I meet a friend outside, can we stop and sit in the park?
Yes, as long as you maintain 2m social distancing.
Can I only exercise outside once a day?
No, there are no restrictions on the number of times you can leave your home for exercise per day.
What about support bubbles?
If you live alone (or are a single parent), you may form a support bubble with 1 other household.
This means you can mix with the members of your bubble as though you were a household.
Once you have chosen your support bubble, you cannot change it to bubble up with someone else.
What about informal childcare?
Informal childcare bubbles for children under 14 can continue.
What will be closing?
Non-essential shops – such as clothes shops, electronics stores, betting shops, car showrooms, travel agents, vape shops – but they can remain open for delivery or click and collect.
Pubs, bars, and restaurants – they can stay open for takeaway and delivery, but alcohol takeaways will not be allowed.
Indoor and outdoor leisure venues – like leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, dance studios, golf courses, soft play centres.
Entertainment venues – such as cinemas, theatres, museums, bingo halls, bowling alleys, casinos.
Personal care facilities – like hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo studios, tanning salons.
My workplace has been told to close – will I get any support?
The furlough scheme has been extended until December. If your workplace is ordered to close, your employer may furlough you for the duration of the closure, meaning you will receive 80% of your salary, up to £2,500 per month.
Mortgage holidays will also be extended.
My business has been told to close – will I get any support?
The furlough scheme will be extended until December. The cost to employers for retaining workers will be reduced compared to in October.
Grants will be available for closed businesses, up to £3,000 per month, and distributed through local councils.
Councils have also been given £1.1bn for discretionary one-off payments to support businesses.
The Self Employment Income Support Scheme Grant was extended to April 2021.
Mortgage holidays will also be extended.
I’m a plumber / electrician / etc, can I still work?
Yes, if you cannot work from home, you may continue to work, including for jobs that involve working in other people’s homes. Social distancing should be maintained.
What about shielding?
Shielding will not resume as it did in the spring. However, clinically extremely vulnerable people (who were previously shielding) are asked to minimise contact with others, and to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you should not go to work. If you cannot go to work, you may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay or Employment Support Allowance.
More guidance will come out, and the Government will write to people in the clinically extremely vulnerable category setting out detailed advice.
Clinically vulnerable people (over 60s and people with conditions like asthma) are asked to minimise contact with others and be particularly careful to follow the rules and maintain social distancing.
Are there travel restrictions?
You should stay at home, and only leave for the reasons outlined above. As such, you should only travel for these reasons:
- Travel for work is allowed
- You can make a short journey to travel for exercise
- You should not travel to go on holiday, either in the UK or abroad
- People are advised to try and avoid public transport
What about weddings, funerals and religious services?
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Stone settlers and ash scatterings can continue with a maximum of 15 people. As tough as it may be not to offer a hug for comfort in such difficult times, social distancing should be maintained.
Weddings and civil partnerships will not be allowed to go ahead except in exceptional circumstances.
Places of worship will be asked to close except for funerals, private prayer, to broadcast services, or for voluntary services like to operate food banks.
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