England will enter a second period of coronavirus lockdown on Thursday 5 November in a bid to stop the spread of the disease.
The new set of rules across the country will supersede the current three-tier regime, where restrictions are more severe in some regions than others. The new scheme will last until 2 December.
The government’s Job Retention Scheme (where staff can be placed on furlough with 80% of their wages paid by the government and employers up to £2,500 a month) will be extended throughout November. It was scheduled to close on 31 October.
From Thursday, non-essential retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will close in England. Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to provide takeaway meals, and deliveries will be allowed.
Other businesses, such as those involved in manufacturing and construction, will be permitted to continue operations. Working from home will be encouraged for those able so to do.
Supermarkets will remain open, and there will be no restrictions on what they can sell, as happened in Wales in the past week.
Schools, universities and colleges will remain open.
The general advice is that people should stay at home from Thursday except in a number of circumstances, including for:
- work (if you cannot work from home)
- exercise and recreation
- medical reasons
- shopping for essentials
- caring for others.
Households will not be allowed to mix indoors, although exceptions will be made for childcare and other care and support provision. It will be permissible for a household to meet one other person from beyond their household outside.
The news regarding the lockdown in England came in a twice-delayed press conference on Saturday 31 October. Mr Johnson has until now fought against imposing a national lockdown in England, but has been persuaded that stringent action is necessary to curtail the spread of the disease.
The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are responsible for their own policies on restrictions and already have tough measures in place regarding certain business opening hours and travel.
Wales’ 17-day ‘fire-break’ will end as planned on 9 November, when the situation will be reviewed.
Scotland will enter a five-tiered regime of restrictions from Monday. People are being discouraged from traveling to or from England.
A package of restrictions has been in place in Northern Ireland since 16 October.