Prime Minister Boris Johnson has imposed the toughest national lockdown in England since March, announcing strict new measures to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The announcement, which was made in a televised address to the nation on Monday evening (4 Jan), followed First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposing a lockdown on Scotland for the rest of January.
People in all of England and mainland Scotland must now stay at home, aside from a few limited exceptions, in an effort to drive Covid infection rates down and prevent the NHS being overwhelmed.
In England, the new rules will become law as of Wednesday (12:01am on 6 Jan), but Mr Johnson advised that citizens should start following them now. The restrictions are expected to be in place for around six weeks, until mid-February.
Scotland’s lockdown rules will be imposed for the rest of January, after which they will be reviewed. Schools will be closed to most pupils until February.
Here is a breakdown of the rules for England and Scotland.
What are the rules in England?
Under England’s new lockdown restrictions, you should stay at home and only leave for limited reasons, including shopping for essentials, to work if you cannot work from home, to exercise or for medical reasons.
You may also leave your home if you are caring for someone, are a volunteer, or to provide essentials for people who are self-isolating.
Those who are clinically extremely vulnerable and who were previously told to shield should stay at home and only leave for medical appointments and exercise.
Exercise is permitted, but preferably limited to once a day, with members of your household or support bubble, or one other person from another household, and should be taken locally.
You can go to work if it is impossible to work from home - for example, those who work in the construction sector, or who are critical workers. All others must work from home. Cleaners and other tradespeople will still be able to work in people’s homes.
All primary and secondary schools and colleges will move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers or vulnerable children. Early years settings, such as nurseries and childminders, can remain open, and existing childcare bubbles will be allowed to stay in place.
University students will not be allowed to return to campus, and will be expected to study from their current residence. In-person university teaching will only take place for a small number of critical courses, including medicine, dentistry, teacher training, veterinary science and social work.
Churches can stay open, but weddings are only allowed in exceptional circumstances and with strict limits on attendance (up to six people). A maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral, while wakes and other ceremonial events can continue with a group of up to six people in attendance.
All non-essential shops, hairdressers and personal care salons must close, as well as entertainment venues, such as cinemas, skating rinks and bowling alleys.
Gyms (indoor and outdoor), tennis courts, swimming pools and golf courses must close, and outdoor team sports will not be permitted. Premier League football and other elite sports that already have strict testing regimes and their own bubbles in place will be allowed to continue.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, off-licences, builders’ merchants and garden centres can stay open, as can launderettes, car repair shops, car washes, banks, market stalls selling essentials and bike shops.
Restaurants and other hospitality venues can continue with delivery or takeaway only, but people will not be able to add alcohol to any orders they collect.
Holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed, including staying in a second home or caravan. People must also not stay overnight with anyone they do not live with, unless they are in a support bubble.
What are the rules in Scotland?
A legally-enforceable stay at home order will apply in Scotland from today (Tue 5 Jan) to areas currently under Level 4 - mainland Scotland and Skye - with residents only permitted to leave for limited exemptions.
This includes essential shopping, exercise, caring for someone, or if you are part of an extended household.
Anyone able to work from home must do so, and those who are shielding to protect should not go into work, even if they cannot work from home.
Schools will be closed to most pupils until 1 February at the earliest, meaning an additional two weeks of home learning.
The numbers of those allowed to gather outside have been reduced to just two people from two different households, instead of the previous limit of six people from two households.
However children aged 11 and under are not included in this limit and can still “play outdoors in larger groups, including in organised gatherings.”
From Friday (8 Jan), places of worship must close but can open to broadcast a service or conduct a funeral, wedding or civil partnership.
A maximum of 20 people can attend a funeral service but wakes are banned, while up to five people can attend weddings and civil partnership services.
Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone also confirmed there will be “increased patrols” in Scotland’s communities and said officers will continue to act against anyone making “wilful breaches” of the law.