A third national lockdown has now begun in England with Prime Minister Boris Johnson asking people to follow new rules immediately, ahead of them coming into law on Wednesday.

The rules will apply across England and will be in place until at least the middle of February.

The Prime Minister addressed the nation on Monday night and said he hopes vaccination of every high-risk person in the country will allow us to begin easing the rules after this lockdown.

But he warned that after vaccination there will be several weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective, and several more weeks for the pressure on the NHS to ease.

Mr Johnson said these measures had to be taken or risk the NHS becoming overwhelmed within 21 days.

Mr Jonshon gave a TV address after 80,664 people tested on a single day came back positive for Covid 19, reports The Mirror.

England has 26,626 patients in hospital, 40{540ccc4681f92a8237c705b0cdebbb9da373ec200da159e6cc1fd9f393be00be} more than during the first peak of the virus in April.

And the case rate in England up to December 30 was over 518 per 100,000 – three times the 151.3 on December 1.

The new lockdown applies across the whole of England, even the Scilly Isles which had been in Tier 1. There is no set end date, but it will be reviewed by February 22.

People who have been vaccinated will not be exempt from any lockdown rules.

Here are the new rules that have been announced and what they mean for you. Full details are also published on gov.uk here.

‘Stay at home’ order

There will be a very firm “stay at home” message similar to the March lockdown – and effective immediately.

You may leave home for one of these five specific “reasonable excuses”:

  • To go to work or volunteer if it’s impossible to do so from home, e.g. a construction or critical worker who can’t work from home.
  • To shop for necessities including food and medicine.
  • To exercise, which can be with your household or up to one other person from outside your household or bubble. The exercise should ideally be limited to once per day. Guidance is that people should try to do this locally.
  • To provide care or help to a vulnerable person. This includes buying food or medicine for a disabled person or someone self-isolating.
  • To attend medical appointments or seek medical care or fleeing the threat of harm or violence.

There are other ‘reasonable excuses’ on top of these main five ones.

You may also leave home for education and registered childcare, if your children are eligible to attend despite closures.

You may also leave home to be with your childcare or support bubble, if you have one, but you are advised to keep it local.

You can also leave home to:

  • provide emergency assistance
  • be with someone giving birth
  • visit someone who is dying
  • visit a care home, hospital or hospice resident
  • fulfil animal welfare reasons including going to a vet
  • attend a support group (of up to 15 people)
  • attend communal worship or life events such as weddings and funerals
  • fulfil a legal obligation
  • carry out activity related to buying, selling, letting or renting a property
  • fulfil respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked-after child.

Police will have legal powers to enforce through fines and dispersing orders. Fines will stay at their current level of £200 for a first offence.

Schools, education and childcare

All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will shut to almost all pupils.

Only children of key workers and vulnerable kids can attend in person. Others will learn remotely.

This is in line with the March lockdown and much stricter than the November lockdown.

There will be a system to get free school meals but it hasn’t been announced or rolled out yet.

BTec exams will go ahead this week but GCSEs and A-levels this summer are unlikely to proceed as planned.

Early years such as nurseries; alternative provision; and special schools remain open in the lockdown.

Nursery age, vulnerable children and children of critical workers over five can still attend childcare.

University students will not be able to return and will be expected to study from their current residence where possible until at least mid February.

In person teaching at university will only be allowed for a small number of critical courses previously announced such as those studying to work in the health service.

Meeting friends and family

You cannot meet people from outside your household or bubble anywhere – indoors or outdoors.

The only exemption is that one person can take exercise outside with one person from another household.

But you cannot sit down and have a drink together in the park, as you could previously under Tier 4.

You also can’t do anything that counts as “recreation and leisure” with them, which was allowed under the November lockdown.

When you do meet one person from outside your household, you should stay two metres apart, or if that’s not possible, one metre with extra precautions.

Under Tier 4, children under 5 or certain adults with care needs didn’t count towards that two-person limit. It’s not fully clear yet if that rule has survived into the full lockdown.

Shielding

Boris Johnson said if people were shielding before, they must begin shielding again. They will receive individual letters shortly.

However, it’s thought that, practically, rules for the 2million-plus previous shielders remain as they currently are in Tier 4.

The ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ should stay at home as much as possible and should only leave for exercise and health appointments.

They should not go to work even if they cannot work from home, and avoid busy places including shops and pharmacies.

But there is not a special support or food parcel package like there was in March.

The shielding group is not being expanded to include blanket groups such as the over-70s.

Support bubbles

Support and childcare bubbles will remain as they currently are under the new lockdown.

Support bubbles allow a single-adult household, or a couple with a child under one, to permanently ‘bubble up’ with one other household of any size. They can act as though they’re in the same household.

A childcare bubble is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare – unpaid and unregistered – to anyone under 14.

Children of divorced parents

Children of divorced or separated parents can continue to move freely between both parents’ homes, as in previous lockdowns.

Furlough

There is no change to furlough.

Employees not at work can be paid 80{540ccc4681f92a8237c705b0cdebbb9da373ec200da159e6cc1fd9f393be00be} of their usual salary up to a cap of £2,500 a month, funded by the government.

It applies to anyone who was employed on October 30 last year.

The furlough scheme has been extended several times and currently expires on April 30.

Parents who can be at work themselves, but have kids out of school, can be furloughed but that’s up to the employer.

Unions have called for firms to “do the right thing and support parents” who can’t work due to childcare responsibilities.

All non-essential shops shut

All non essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must shut if not already, and remain closed.

Essential retailers which include supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, and builders’ merchants may stay open.

Non-essential retail stores that must shut include:

  • clothing and homeware stores,
  • vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
  • betting shops
  • tailors
  • tobacco and vape shops
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
  • market stalls selling non-essential goods.

All pubs, cafes and restaurants shut – and takeaway pints banned

Restaurants, cafes, pubs and other hospitality venues must shut.

They can continue doing delivery or takeaway – but only for food.

Takeaway pints will no longer be allowed from pubs. This is a tightening of the rules since Tier 4 after people got drinks and gathered outside venues.

However, you will be able to walk to a pub, restaurant or other outlet and pick up takeaway food.

And if you’re getting your takeaway delivered , rather than picking it up, it can come with alcohol.

All hairdressers and beauty salons shut

All personal care services including hairdressers, nail bars and tattoo parlours must shut.

Spas, massage parlours, and body and skin piercing services must also close.

Full list of other venues that can remain open

● market stalls selling essential retail

● businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services

● petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses

● banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses

● funeral directors

● laundrettes and dry cleaners

● medical and dental services

● vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals

● animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)

● agricultural supplies shops

● mobility and disability support shops

● storage and distribution facilities

● car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas

● outdoor playgrounds

● outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise

● places of worship

● crematoriums and burial grounds

All gyms and pools shut

All outdoor gyms and pools must shut. This goes further than Tier 4 when they could remain open if they were outdoors.

Other sport

Outdoor sports venues including gyms, tennis courts and golf courses must close. So must archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas.

Outdoor team sports will not be permitted.

Elite sport – such as the Premier League – will continue.

PE lessons and sports clubs for children attending school (i.e. critical workers’ / vulnerable kids) can continue.

You can meet a personal trainer if you’re on your own, but you should do so in a public outdoor space like a park if you can.

Weddings and funerals

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only be in exceptional circumstances – which usually means deathbed weddings.

They must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included and you can’t have a reception afterwards.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, just like Tier 4. But wakes can only be attended by up to six people.

Travel

You must not travel or leave your home unless it is for one of the specially laid out reasons above.

This means travelling for recreation or to a second or holiday home is not allowed. You shouldn’t be travelling across the country.

There is no formal limit in terms of a number of miles you can exercise or visit a support bubble, but both should be local. You shouldn’t be travelling across the country to do exercise.

People who want to travel for business may still be able to do so but only in highly specified situations where it is impossible to do your work from home or you are a key worker.

This means most international travel is highly unlikely to fall within the rule.

If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical.

Inbound flights are not covered by this update but ministers are understood to be looking at the issue.

Places of worship

Churches, temples and mosques can remain open for individual prayer and congregational worship – i.e. services.

This is a change compared to the first lockdown last year.

But they will be expected to follow the same social distancing rules as they have been following for many months.

Overnight trips

You cannot stay overnight away from home, even in your own second home or caravan. However, you are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

● are visiting your support bubble

● are unable to return to your main residence

● need accommodation while moving house

● need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event

● require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services

● are a child requiring accommodation for school or care

● are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)

● are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

Dentists, opticians and healthcare

Dentists, opticians and other healthcare appointments can continue to go ahead.

Driving lessons

Driving lessons and tests will not be allowed under the new lockdown, the DVSA has said.

Zoos and outdoor attractions

All outdoor attractions must close except parks – and in a change from the first lockdown – playgrounds.

This means theme parks, zoos, outdoor sports facilities must close throughout the lockdown.

However, you are still allowed to go to public gardens and the grounds of a heritage site.

Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.

Entertainment venues must shut

Entertainment venues that must shut include:

  • theatres
  • concert halls
  • cinemas
  • museums and galleries
  • casinos
  • amusement arcades
  • bingo halls
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • go-karting venues
  • indoor play and soft play centres
  • circuses
  • fairgrounds
  • funfairs
  • water parks
  • theme parks

Having a plumber, nanny or cleaner in your house

You can still have people into your home to do work if they can’t do it from home, but you would be expected to maintain social distancing and clean any surfaces they touch.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Local elections

Local elections across England are currently still scheduled to go ahead in May.

Masks

There is no change to the rules on wearing masks.

But they are already required by law in shops, public transport and most other indoor public spaces.

What happens at the end?

The idea is England will return to a tiered system – with schools prioritised for reopening first.

But February 22 is not set in stone for the lockdown to end and it could be extended.

Officials also warn when the tiers return, there will be no sudden return to normality.