In the kind of Halloween plot twist you couldn’t even script, last night (October 31) Boris Johnson announced the coming of a second lockdown for England, during a press conference staged in the middle of the nation’s muted celebrations.
In a delayed presentation – and following a series of graphs presented by Professor Chris Whitty (that were fairly illegible on the BBC due to formatting errors) – the prime minister declared that Lockdown 2 was on the way from Thursday November 5. Yes, that’s Bonfire Night. We told you you couldn’t even write this stuff. (Next paragraph, please.)
People in England were told they must again stay at home during a four-week lockdown Johnson described as ‘less restrictive’ than the last one that happened in March. Here’s what we know about the new rules and measures that will last from 12.01am on Thursday until Wednesday December 2:
You must work from home, unless your place of work remains open and your job means that you cannot work at home.
Schools, nurseries, colleges and universities will remain open this time. This is the biggest change from Lockdown V1. Students who live at university are also being asked to stay there until the end of term at Christmas and not visit their family home in between.
You can leave your house for exercise and to shop for essentials. You’re also permitted to leave for childcare purposes, medical reasons and emergencies, and to provide care for vulnerable people or to volunteer.
Single-adult households are allowed to form a support bubble with one other household.
You can meet up in outdoor, public settings with one other person from outside your household bubble. For a socially distanced walk, for example.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will close again. They can remain open for takeaway and delivery purposes only. In a crucial stipulation, takeaway alcohol is banned. Meaning those takeaway pints from the semi-lockdown of spring won’t be fuelling your outdoor walks.
Non-essential shops will close. Supermarkets and shops providing essential items are allowed to remain open for trading.
Leisure and entertainment venues will close. This includes cinemas, theatres, museums, galleries, bowling alleys, zoos and botanical gardens.
Gyms and swimming pools will close again.
Hair and beauty salons and tattoo parlours will also close.
Hotels can only accept guests travelling on business purposes.
Places of worship will close for the four weeks.
Weddings are not permitted during Lockdown 2.
Funerals can go ahead, but can only be attended by 30 people.
Overnight stays and holidays are off. You must stay in your own home or primary residence for the duration.
People are advised not to use public transport unless they absolutely have to, with walking and cycling encouraged for journeys instead.
Those who are clinically vulnerable are not being asked to shield this time, but are asked to minimise contact with others. The government has outlined more details here.
The same rules as before apply to the use of face masks in public places. You can read the current guidelines here.
It’s been said that when the four-week period comes to an end, the regionalised tier system will be reintroduced according to local infection rates. And while the hope is that this four-week lockdown will provide more flexibility around Christmas time, the prime minister made the point in his announcement that ‘Christmas is going to be different this year’.
You can find full outlines for the new rules that come into play on November 5 here.
See active cases by London postcode here.