National Lockdown

5 January 2021

On Monday 4 January 2021 the Prime Minister announced that England would be returning to a national lockdown from Tuesday 5 January 2021.  This means you must stay at home and can only leave for specified reasons. 

The latest government advice on what you need to do during the coronavirus pandemic can be found here.  The slides and datasets that accompanied the Prime Minister's address can be found here

Leaving home

The most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home or minimise contact with others in order to protect the NHS and save lives.  You can only leave or be outside of your home for specific reasons including to:

  • Shop for basic necessities for yourself or for a vulnerable person;
  • Go to work or provide voluntary or charitable service where you cannot reasonably do this from home;
  • Exercise with your household, support bubble or one other person once a day.  You should not travel outside your local area to do this;
  • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble if you are legally allowed to form one;
  • Seek medical assistance or to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm including domestic abuse;
  • Attend education or childcare if you are eligible to do so;
  • To provide care for a disabled or vulnerable person;
  • To provide emergency assistance;
  • To attend a support group of up to 15 people;
  • For respite care where that care is provided to a vulnerable or disabled person
  • Be with someone who is giving birth;
  • Visit someone who is dying;
  • Permitted visits to a care home
  • Visit someone in a hospice or hospital or to accompany someone to a medical appointment if permitted;
  • Animal welfare reasons;
  • Attend a funeral - maximum of 30 people depending on the size of the venue;
  • Attend stone settings, ash scatterings and other religious or commemorative events - maximum of 6 people;
  • Attend a wedding or civil partnership in exceptional circumstances, for example where someone is seriously ill and not expected to recover - maximum of 6 people;
  • Attend a place of worship for a service.  You must not mix with anyone from outside your household or support bubble and must maintain social distancing
  • Facilitate a house move

Nurseries, including those attached to schools, pre-school provision and early year settings currently remain open for all children.

Primary and secondary schools and colleges will only be open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers.  All other school aged children will learn remotely until February half term. 

Higher Education will remain online only until mid February except for courses for future critical workers.

If you leave home for a permitted reason you should stay in the village, town or part of the city where you work.  You may leave your local are for legally permitted reasons such as work.  If you meet with someone from outside your household, support bubble or childcare bubble for a permitted reason you must stay 2 metres apart.

You cannot stay away from home overnight including staying in a second home or caravan.  You can stay overnight if you are visiting your support bubble,, are unable to return to your main residence, need accommodation while moving home or to attend a funeral or related commemorative event, are required to for work purposes, are homeless, seeking asylum or to escape harm.  Elite athletes and their support staff can stay away from home for training or competitions. 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise of if it is essential.  You should not attend work. You can find the government guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable here

These national lockdown guidance will be put in law.  The police will have powers to enforce the regulations.  If you leave home for a reason that isn't allowed you could be issued with a fixed penalty notice of £200 for a first offence, doubling up to a maximum of £6,400 for further offences.


To reduce social contact some businesses must close and others will have to provide goods and services in a different way. 

The following businesses can remain open:

  • Essential retail including food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, builders merchants and off-licenses;
  • Market stalls selling essential retail;
  • Repair services where repairs are their primary business;
  • Petrol stations, automatic car washes, MOT and vehicle repairs, bicycle shops and taxi and vehicle hire businesses;
  • Banks, building societies and post offices;
  • Funeral directors;
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners;
  • Vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers for animal welfare rather than aesthetic purposes;
  • Mobility and disability shops;
  • Storage and distribution facilities;
  • Outdoor playgrounds;
  • crematoriums and burial grounds;
  • Places of worship;
  • The majority of public services including GPs, dentists, Jobcentre Plus, courts and probation services, passport and visa services and waste or recycling centres

The following businesses must close or change the way they operate:

  • Non-essential retail including clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), mobile phone shops and market stalls selling non-essential goods.  They can still offer click and collect for pre-ordered goods collected off the premises and delivery services;
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs, bars and social clubs.  They can still provide food and non alcoholic drinks for takeaway, click and collect and drive through.  All food and drink, including alcohol, can be provided by delivery;
  • Accommodation such as hotels, guest houses and campsites need to close except for specific reasons set out in law.  A full list of reasons why they can remain open can be found here.
  • Leisure and sports facilities including indoor gyms and sports facilities and outdoor sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, riding arenas and other facilities.  Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue;
  • Entertainment venues including theatres, cinemas, museums, indoor play areas and bowling alleys;
  • Outdoor attractions including funfairs, theme parks and animal attractions;
  • Indoor attractions including heritage homes and landmarks.  Outdoor grounds can stay open for outdoor exercise;
  • Personal care facilities including hairdressers, tattoo parlours and nail salons.  These services should not be provided in other people's homes;
  • Community centres except for exempt activities such as hosting food banks, childcare purposes and for elite sports people to train including professional dancers

A full list of businesses that need to close or change the way they operate can be found here.


You can only travel internationally or within the UK if you have a legally permitted reason to leave home.  If you must travel abroad for a permitted reason you must take into account the public health advice in the country you are travelling to as well as Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice.  You must not travel internationally or within the UK for holiday.

The government have announced, that from the week commencing Monday 11 January 2021, anyone travelling to the UK from abroad will need to have a negative COVID-19 test before they can travel. The test can be taking up to 72 hours before departure and you will need to have proof of the test results on arrival.  The rules apply to travellers from all international destinations, including UK nationals.  Anyone not complying will be issued with an immediate £500 fine.  Travellers will still be required to fill in a passenger locator form and to self-isolate for 10 days after they return unless arriving from a country on the travel corridor list. You can find the full statement on the new measures here.

Covid-19: new variant

On the 19th December the Prime Minister announced that a new variant of the virus had been detected in test results. FAQs have been created with further information on the new variant. 

Did you know?

National lockdown came into effect from Tuesday 5 January.  The best thing we can all do to help is to stay at home to save lives and protect the NHS.

We can also all do our bit by following the rules, the HANDS - FACE - SPACE guidance and knowing the symptoms and when to get tested. 


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