Tough new lockdown restrictions have been announced for England in response to the rising number of Covid-19 cases across the country.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the new measures in a televised national address on Monday (4 January) evening, which will see England once again advised to stay at home, with the exception of a limited number of reasons.
The strict rules will become law as of Wednesday (12:01am on 6 January), but people are advised to start following them now. The restrictions are expected to be in place for around six weeks, until mid-February.
Which businesses must close?
England’s national lockdown will see several businesses forced to close while restrictions remain in place, with rules not expected to change until mid-February.
This is the full list of businesses required to close under the new rules:
- Non-essential retail - such as 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) and market stalls selling non-essential goods.
- Hospitality venues - such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs, with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway until 11pm, click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
- Accommodation - such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
- Leisure and sports facilities - such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
- Entertainment venues - such as 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 and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks.
- Animal attractions - such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves.
- Indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks, although outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
- Personal care facilities - such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.
- Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities.
Some of these businesses and places will be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including the following:
- Education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
- Childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
- Hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
- To provide medical treatment
- For elite sports persons to train and compete, and professional dancers and choreographers to work
- For training and rehearsal without an audience
- For the purposes of film and TV filming
Which businesses can stay open?
A limited number of businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open during lockdown. These include:
- Essential retail - such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
- Market stalls selling essential retail
- Businesses providing 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