Coronavirus: Changes to lockdown

Additional restrictions from 18 September 2020

From Friday 18 September 2020, Newcastle along with Durham, Gateshead, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside and Sunderland became an area of national intervention.  This means that the following additional restrictions are in place in these areas:

 Regulations will ban the following:

  • Residents must not socialise with other people outside of their own households or support bubble in private homes and gardens
  • Hospitality for food and drink will be restricted to table service only
  • Late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Residents are also advised to adhere to the following guidance to further reduce rates of infection:

  • Residents should not socialise with other people outside of their own households in all public venues.
  • Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  • Holidays should be taken within your own household or support bubble
  • Residents are advised against attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators.

These changes are in addition to the nationwide six person limit on social gatherings that came into force on Monday 14  September 2020.  The 'rule of six' remains in place across the country and sits alongside these additional restrictions in the local area.  Measures to protect people who are shielding are being developed for implementation in the affected areas.  

Once legislation is in place the police or the local authority will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.  People aged 18 or over will be able to be fined:

  • £100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days
  • £200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200

You can find answers to the most frequently asked questions here

Other restrictions 

Below is information on restrictions that are in place across England, and where relevant, in the devolved nations.  These restrictions should be read in conjunction with the additional restrictions outlined above that were implemented in Newcastle from 18 September 2020.

On 9 September, following a rise in cases the government announced a number of new measures would come into place on Monday 14 September.  They also stressed that this was not the time for complacency and that it is critical that everyone observes the following key behaviours:

Hands: Wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser if you are out and about.

Face: Wear a face covering in all indoor settings where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet unless you are exempt.  You can find more information on face coverings including exemptions here

Space: Stay at least 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible.  If this isn't possible then stay at least 1 metre apart and take other precautions such as wearing a face covering or meeting outdoors.

Changes from 14 September 2020

Rule of Six: You must not meet with people from other households socially in groups of more than 6 people.  This applies indoors and outdoors, including in your own home.  The police will have the power to enforce these limits including issuing fines of £100 for a first offence, which can double to a maximum of £3,200 for further breaches.  There are a limited number of exceptions to the rule of six including:

  • Where more than six people live together or are in the same support bubble;
  • To continue existing arrangements for children who do not live in the same parent as both their parents;
  • Workplaces including voluntary and charitable services
  • For education, training or registered childcare
  • To fulfil legal obligations such as attending jury service
  • To provide emergency assistance or support to a vulnerable person
  • To avoid illness, injury or harm
  • To participate in children's playgroups
  • Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, other religious life-cycle ceremonies and funerals - a maximum of 30 people will be able to attend
  • Organised sports, physical activities and exercise classes
  • Youth groups or activities
  • Protests and political activities organised in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessment

You can find out more about the rule of six including information on exceptions to the rule here

NHS Test and Trace: It will become mandatory for certain businesses to have a system to collect NHS Test and Trace data and to keep this for 21 days.  This will be enforceable by law.  Business who must collect this data include bars, restaurants, hairdressers, local authorities, libraries and places of worship.  You can find more information on which businesses should collect data and how to store it safely here.

Border enforcement: The government plans to simplify the Passenger Locator Form and increase enforcement to ensure those returning from abroad are quarantining if required to.

Planned pilots: Pilots planned for sports events will be limited to small numbers with strict conditions in place.  Plans for audiences to be able to return to conferences and other events from 1 October are being reviewed.

Restricted opening hours: The government will restrict the opening hours of certain businesses in lockdown areas with an option for this to be extended national in the future if necessary.  These restrictions are not currently in place in Newcastle.

Rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland may be different so please check before travelling to the devolved nations.    

Please be aware that there are local lockdowns in place in some areas of the UK.  You should check whether this applies to the area you are planning to visit before travelling.  More information on where local restrictions are in place can be found here.

Previous changes

Prior to 9 September the government had introduced  a number of other changes to lockdown measures in England.  Below are details of changes that are still in places  The latest government advice on what you need to do during the coronavirus pandemic can be found  here.  

1 June 2020 - People can meet in groups of up to six people in outdoor spaces including private gardens.  You can find guidance on how to do this safely here.

8 June 2020 - Holiday accommodation in Northern Ireland began to reopen but there are still some restrictions in place.  You can find the most up to date information here.

13 June 2020 - Social distancing measures changed to allow people living alone or in single adult households to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household.  This means people in the support bubble will be able to spend time inside the other person’s home, including overnight, without the need to stay 2 metres apart.  These measures don’t apply to people in the shielding group.  You can find more information here

15 June 2020 - More shops and businesses were able to reopen.  The government have issued new guidelines to help them start planning to reopen which can be found here.

4 July 2020: 

  • Places of worship can reopen including for weddings of no more than 30 people as long as they are social distancing guidelines are followed.  You can find more information here.
  • Social distancing changed to 1 metre plus.  You should still observe 2 metres social distancing wherever possible but where it is not possible to stay two metres apart guidance will allow people to  stay one metre apart with mitigation to reduce the risk of transmission.    You can meet with up to six people from more than one other household outdoors.  Gatherings of over 30 people will be against the law except in exceptional circumstance.  More guidance on these changes can be found here.
  • Restaurants, pubs and social clubs which operate as a pub or restaurant were able to reopen as long as they are Covid secure and social distancing is maintained.  You may be required to provide your contact details when visiting these venues.  You can find more information on the reopening of bars and restaurants here.
  • Public places such as libraries, community centres, outdoor play grounds and outdoor gyms, theme parks, museums and cinemas will be able to open as long as they are Covid secure.  You can find more information here.
  • Hotels and other guest accommodation in England will be able to reopen providing all guests are in self-contained accommodation and are Covid secure.  More information can be found here

6 July 2020 - If you are in the shielding category you will be able to meet up to six people from different households outside as long as you maintain strict social distancing.  You will no longer need to socially distance from other members of your own household.  If you live in a single adult household you will be able to form a support bubble with one other household.

10 July -  People arriving in England from more than 50 countries will no longer need to self-isolate on on their return unless they have been in or travelled through non-exempt countries in the past 14 days.   You will still need to self-isolate for 14 days if when returning from a non-exempt country.  Please be aware that countries can be added to or removed from the quarantine list as short notice and you should consider this before travelling.  You can find more information and details of which countries you can travel to without needing to quarantine on your return here.   

11 July 2020 - Outdoor swimming pools can reopen.

13 July 2020 - A phased reopening of the tourism sector including hotels and other guest accommodations in Wales began.  You can find the most up to date information here.

15 July 2020 - Hotels and other guest accommodation started to reopen in Scotland.  You can find the most up to date information here.

25 July 2020 - Sports facilities and venues including indoor gyms, fitness and dance studios and indoor swimming pools including water parks can reopen as long as they are Covid secure.

1 August 2020:

  • Shielding will be paused from this date unless the transmission of Covid-19 increases significantly in the community.  This means the government will no longer be advising people to shield.  Free food parcels and other support from the National Shielding Service will stop.   If you were in the shielding group support will still be available from NHS Volunteer Responders and Citylife Line if you need it and you will still be eligible for priority delivery slots from supermarkets if you registered by 17 July.  You may still be at risk of severe illness if you catch coronavirus so you should continue to stay at home as much as possible and continue to take precautions when you go out.  You can find more information here.
  • Employers, in consultation with their employees, will have more discretion on how to ensure people can work safely.  Working from home is one way to do this but workplaces can also be made safe by following Covid-19 Secure guidelines.
  • People in the shielding category and those who are clinically vulnerable should continue to be especially careful and extra diligent about social distancing and hand hygiene.  Details of people classed as clinically vulnerable can be found here.

8 August 2020 - The law requiring people to wear face coverings on public transport and in shops and supermarkets, unless they are exempt, was extended to include more indoor settings where you are likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet.  This includes in shops, museums, cinemas and places or worship.  You can find more information on face coverings and when you should where them here. If you are exempt on medical grounds you may find it useful to download a Journey Assistance Card to show to staff when you are travelling on public transport in Tyne and Wear.  You can find guidance on face coverings and what else you can do to stay safe outside here

15 August 2020 - More businesses including some close contact businesses are able to reopen and pilots will begin for some other activities:

  • Bowling alleys, skating rinks and casinos can reopen 
  • All remaining close contact services such as facial treatments can restart
  • Small wedding receptions, sit down meals for no more than 30 people, can take place subject to Covid secure guidance
  • Conference and exhibition centres can reopen to enable pilots for business events to take place but should not be fully open  
  • Indoor performances can begin to take place in line with Covid-19 Secure guidelines and subject to the success of pilots that are taking place  
  • Pilots for larger events in venues including sports stadiums will begin

You can find more information on which businesses must continue to remain closed here.  

September 2020

Nurseries, schools and colleges: All students will return to school in September.  Fines may be imposed on parents who refuse to send their children to school.  Nurseries and colleges will also fully reopen in September.  Guidance for children returning to school can be found here, guidance for nurseries and other early years settings here and guidance for colleges here.

Universities: Universities are working to reopen as fully as possible from October.   You should check individual university websites for more information on when and how they will be reopening or when to apply.

Did you know?

Newcastle is now part of an area where additional restrictions came into place from Friday 18 September 2020.  

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


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