In Depth

Coronavirus: the UK’s new lockdown rules

Boris Johnson places UK under toughest restrictions since March

Boris Johnson has warned that the next few weeks will be the “hardest yet” in the Covid-19 pandemic as he last night announced that the UK would be put under a full lockdown for the third time

“From today life across the country will look very much like it did in the earliest days of the first lockdown last March”, The Times reports, as people in England are told to stay at home and go out only for essential reasons.

These include working, volunteering, or where it would be “unreasonable” to work from home.

People are allowed to exercise outdoors once a day, and to meet one other person from another household in an open public space to exercise. Other reasons include leaving home for shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, for medical appointments and emergencies.

Supermarkets, food shops, pharmacies, petrol stations and MOT centres, laundrettes, places of worship and playgrounds all fall under essential services and will remain open.

However, all pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars must close and can only serve takeaway food and soft drinks until 11pm. Unlike in the last lockdown, takeaway and click-and-collect alcohol are no longer permitted.

Elite sport has been given the all-clear to continue subject to safety measures, meaning Premier League football will continue. However, golf courses, tennis courts and outdoor gyms must close for at least seven weeks.

The restrictions on sport mean “most people’s activity will be restricted to cycling, running or walking outdoors”, The Guardian says.

Hotels and holiday accommodation are allowed to remain open for a small number of guests, but Sky News notes that you should only stay in a hotel or holiday rental if you are travelling for work, moving house or attending a wedding or funeral.

Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes are permitted with up to six people and funerals are allowed with up to 30 people.

Fines in England for those breaking the rules start at £200 for the first offence, falling to £100 if paid within 14 days. They double with each additional offence up to a maximum of £6,400. Penalties for failing to self-isolate start at £1,000. Organising a large gathering carries a fine of £10,000.

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