What can do you under new lockdown rules? - GulfToday

What can do you under new lockdown rules?

Opinion

A woman is seen wearing a protective face mask, as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues, in London, Britain. File/Reuters

England went into a near month-long lockdown on Thursday to stem the current spike in coronavirus cases and different rules are now largely in place across all four UK nations.

Restaurants and non-essential shops were again forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 — a Government majority of 478 — for the new restrictions on Wednesday.

The new measures mean there is a ban on leaving your house unless absolutely necessary — for instance, if you have a medical appointment.

Schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open, however, unlike during the first lockdown.

The Prime Minister said he has “every confidence” the measures will work so the NHS will not be overwhelmed and the lockdown in England can be eased back into a tiered system on December 2.

What are the new restrictions in England?

On Saturday, Mr Johnson announced new measures for the whole of England which came into force on Thursday.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail will close until 2 December and people will be told to stay at home unless they have a specific reason to leave, but schools, colleges and nurseries will remain open.

People will be allowed outside to exercise and socialise in public spaces outside with their household or one other person, but not indoors or in private gardens, and will be able to travel to work if they cannot work from home.

The move comes after a three-tiered system was originally put in place, which saw different areas of England enter differing levels of lockdown — tier 1 being the lightest and tier 3 being the most strict.

Prior to the entire country being told it would enter the same lockdown later this week, Liverpool, Merseyside, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, and South Yorkshire were all areas placed in the “very high” risk category. London, Essex and York were in  the “high” tier.

For areas that were in the “medium” tier, people could still meet in groups of no more than six people from multiple households either indoors or outdoors. Unlike Scotland and Wales, the six included children.

For more detailed advice pertaining to each region, check the government’s website.

How do the rules differ in Scotland?

Nicola Sturgeon previously said England’s tiered alert system would “give an idea” of a similar scheme planned for Scotland.

The new regional system, that came into force on Monday, has five levels, with Level 0 being the most lenient and Level 4 amounting to a full lockdown, similar to the one imposed in England in March.

More than half of Scotland is currently under ‘level 3’ restrictions meaning you cannot have any indoor gatherings at your home. The rest of the country in either Levels 1 or 2.

The central belt — including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Falkirk — has been joined by Dundee and Ayrshire in Level 3.

Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen, Fife, the Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, Argyll and Bute, Perth and Kinross and Angus are in Level 2.

Highland, Moray, Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland have been assessed as Level 1.

Despite ministers considering putting North and South Lanarkshire into Level 4 — equivalent to a full lockdown — First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said on Thursday last week no area will be placed into that highest tier at the moment.

She has told Scots not to travel to England unless it is for “essential purposes”.The whole of Wales is currently under a 17-day “firebreak” lockdown which started on October 23 and will last until November 9.

What are the rules in Wales?

The firebreak lockdown that Wales entered into in October, weeks before the national lockdown in England, ended on Monday

First minister Mark Drakeford defined the 17 day period as a “short, sharp, shock” to tackle rising numbers of coronavirus infections and prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed.

With the circuit breaker now over, pubs, bars, restaurants and non-essential retail have reopened and groups of up to four people from different households are allowed to now meet in hospitality venues.

Face coverings must be worn when not seated.

Up to 15 people may participate in “organised indoor activity” while up to 30 can get involved in outdoor “organised activity,” providing everyone maintains social distancing and hand hygiene.

The Welsh government have said examples of organised activities include sports and exercise activities, support groups and other groups that support health and wellbeing.

In the guidelines, people can form a bubble with one other household, which does not necessarily have to be the same bubble as before lockdown. Mr Drakeford said people are allowed to make visits to another person’s home if there are concerns for their wellbeing.

Supermarkets may also go back to selling non-essential items, banned during the firebreak lockdown.

There are no restrictions to travelling within Wales, but people should avoid England and limit journeys to essential purposes.

The 10pm curfew on alcohol sales, social distancing and mask wearing in enclosed public spaces all continue while people are encouraged to work from home wherever possible.

All school groups returned to school on Monday as only year seven and eight went into the classroom during the firebreak. Meanwhile universities will resume with a combination of in-person teaching and blended learning.

What are the rules in Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland entered a four-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown on 16 October, with measures including shuttered pubs and extended school breaks coming into force.

Pubs and restaurants will be closed, while takeaways will be allowed until 11pm. Though shops will remain open, supermarkets and off-licences will only be permitted to sell alcohol until 8pm.

The school half-term break will be extended to two weeks, with students set to return to classes on 2 November.

The new rules will also see indoor sports, contact sports banned and close-contact services, like hairdressers and beauticians banned, while public events will be capped at 15 attendees. Gyms will remain open for individual training only.

Places of worship will have a mandatory face-covering requirement, and weddings and funerals will be limited to 25 attendees. Wedding receptions will be banned, as will pre- and post-funeral gatherings. Rules on weddings and funerals came into force on Monday 19 October.

Current rules bar different households from mixing in Northern Ireland, with exceptions for those “bubbling” with another household, and up to six people from up to two households can meet outdoors in a private garden. These rules continue to apply, while overnight stays in private properties have also been prohibited unless as part of a “bubble”.

Bubbles will be limited to a maximum of 10 people from two households.

Andy Gregory and Kate Ng, The Independent


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