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covent garden market empty during London lockdown
Photograph: rodwey2004 / Shutterstock

What are the new rules for Lockdown 3 in England?

The worst sequel ever

By Time Out London editors
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Okay, so 2021 probably isn’t the clean slate you’d been hoping for, with England plunged back into lockdown last night (Monday January 4). Addressing the nation from Number 10, Prime Minister Boris Johnson again called for people to stay at home to help tackle a further spike of cases across the country.

Many regions have done a very quick dance from lockdown to Tier 2 to Tier 3 to Tier 4 in the space of just over a month, before arriving squarely back in lockdown again. As such, it’s understandable if you’ve woken up this morning feeling a bit dizzy from it all. Here’s a quick run-through of some of the Lockdown 3 FAQs to help you navigate the coming weeks.    

What can you no longer do? 

On the surface, Lockdown 3 isn’t a great deal different for Londoners and England residents already living under Tier 4 restrictions. Non-essential retail, leisure and hospitality venues remain closed as before, after all, and we were already restricted to meeting up with just one other person in outdoor public spaces (for a walk or exercise, for example). So what’s the difference? 

For starters, the message is a more pronounced: ‘stay at home’. People are being asked to work from home unless they absolutely cannot and to avoid making journeys that aren’t essential.  

One of the most significant changes people are having to navigate is the immediate closure of classrooms. While vulnerable kids and the children of key workers are still attending school, all other students must now study at home and attend virtual lessons all over again. 

We’re also having to say goodbye to one of the stars of lockdown: the takeaway pint. While you can still order food and drink deliveries and collect takeaways of soft drinks and grub, alcohol pick-up is now forbidden. Meaning you can no longer pop to a hatch at your local to grab a pint to go or a cheeky mulled wine for your outdoor walks. Don’t worry, though, the unlimited outdoor daily exercise is a sanity-saving survivor.  

What can you do that’s different to other lockdowns? 

In Deep Lockdown back in March last year, everything ground to an eerily silent halt, but there will be a bit more movement in Lockdown 3. 

House moves, for a start, can continue. That means that socially distanced viewings and other activities relating to letting and selling can go ahead as planned. 

Garden centres and building merchants can also remain open. As can dental practices and veterinary surgeries – for urgent care only. Market stalls selling essential produce are also allowed to operate in England. 

Other exemptions to closure include – in no particular order – banks, places of worship and outdoor playgrounds. Public services will continue too, from court proceedings to all the action at your local waste and recycling centre. You can find a full list issued by the government here.   

How long will this lockdown last? 

Well, that’s the million dollar question. In his address, Boris Johnson suggested the latest measures would take us to at least February half-term, but this morning (Tuesday January 5), Michael Gove told Sky News that restrictions might not be relaxed until March. 

On the plus side, if you didn’t perfect your isolation hairdressing skills last time round, it appears you’ve been given another chance. 

14 simple London pleasures we can’t wait to have back.

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