BORIS Johnson has announced another national lockdown for England tonight, forcing millions to stay home again to try and drive coronavirus cases down.
People will only be able to leave home for essential reasons – and the nations pubs, restaurants and shops will have to shut for four weeks.
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So what’s he announced, and what are the rules for the next month?
What has the PM said tonight?
Boris Johnson has announced another lockdown which will take place across England.
It will come into place on Thursday and remain for four weeks.
What will be closed?
All non-essential shops and retail.
Hairdressers, leisure centres, nail bars, cafes, restaurants and most indoor activities will also be included.
Places will be able to serve take away and do deliveries – like in the last lockdown.
Click and collect services can continue as normal.
Will people have to stay at home again?
Yes, they will.
The nation will only be allowed to leave their home for the following reasons:
- Work if you cannot work at home
- For exercise and recreation outdoors – with your own household or on your own with one plus one with someone from another household
- Medical reasons
- To escape injury or harm
- Shop for food and essentials
- Provide care to vulnerable
People will be allowed to lounge around on park benches and on beaches, and they won’t be told to move along like the last lockdown.
I am vulnerable, do I have to shield again?
The PM said tonight that they were not bringing back the shielding programme, despite the lockdown.
However, they did say that vulnerable people should take extra care and be sensible with their interactions in the coming weeks.
Can I see my friends or family?
Only if you are living with them, or they are part of your support bubble.
People living alone can form a support bubble with another household.
People will be allowed to exercise with one other person outside.
But you can’t socialise with people – indoors or outdoors.
Children will still be able to see their parents if they are under 16 and their parents are split up.
And kids will still be able to access childcare.
Can I still get married?
It’s unclear whether wedding receptions will be allowed to continue, but funerals are likely to be restricted to family in the same household only.
Most indoor venues will be closed, meaning marriage ceremonies may have to be postponed.
People won’t be able to get married in churches as services are going to be cancelled.
What will stay open?
Schools, colleges and universities will stay open.
Childcare provisions will be allowed to stay in action.
Anything selling essentials, like supermarkets, hardware shops and garden centres are going to be allowed to remain open.
Churches are expected to remain open for private worship, but there won’t be any services.
Click and collect services can continue, and pubs, cafes and restaurants can continue to do take away services.
Playgrounds will remain open this time too.
Vets will continue to stay open.
Can I travel?
No, everyone should remain at home apart from essential journeys – or for the reasons above.
Internal travel inside the UK is discouraged.
And international travel will be banned to all countries – meaning holidays for thousands will have to be cancelled.
People who are on holiday will be allowed to return home.
Can I still play sport?
Amateur sport is now going to have to be cancelled – including lower league football.
But the Premier League will continue, the PM said tonight.
Will furlough continue?
Yes, for businesses that have to shut the furlough scheme will carry on through the four-week lockdown.
They will carry on getting 80 per cent of pay for the duration.
After that, it’s expected that the Job Support Scheme will come in – which pays some of people’s wages but is less generous.
What happens after that and is the Tiers system over?
Mr Johnson introduced a three-tier system this month to try to steer away from a second national lockdown.
But as cases continue to rise he is expected to tell the nation in a press conference that it’s impossible to avoid and his local approach has failed.
But it’s expected that he will reintroduce local measures for the tiers system after the lockdown is over.
He will look at the figures and examine which tier areas will go back into at a later date.
Do MPs have a say in this?
Yes, the PM has promised all MPs will get a vote on any new national measures.
It’s likely the PM will face a huge Tory rebellion from his backbenchers – who are determined to fight another national shutdown.
They will have to vote on the national measures this week before they can come into force – probably on Wednesday.
He wrote in a message to them tonight: “I assure you we are doing what we believe is best for the country and to ensure that the NHS is not overwhelmed in a way that could cost many thousands of lives.
“There is a clear way out of this, with better medication and rapid testing – and the genuine prospect of a vaccine. Our country will recover well. But I am afraid there are no easy short term options. Best Boris.”
And he apologised they had to find out from newspapers – rather than an announcement from him on Monday as he’d planned.
But the PM may get support from Labour and Sir Keir Starmer, who has backed a national lockdown.