As you will be aware the new coronavirus restrictions come into place today (5th November). Here are the answers to frequently asked questions which have come in from constituents over the past few days.
Who has to stay at home?
From today you must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:
- People who cannot work effectively from home, such as people who work in construction, or manufacturing should continue to travel to work
- Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should also continue to go into work
- Where it is necessary to work in other people’s homes for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople you can do so
The risk of transmission in the workplace can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 Secure guidance is followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk, and those who are extremely critically vulnerable should work from home.
- Essential activities such as shopping from shops which remain open, withdrawing money, or collecting items from places such as takeaways
- Unlimited exercise with one other person outside your household if you remain two metres apart
- Education, training, and childcare in formal settings. Parents are also still able to take their children to school;
- Meeting others in your support bubble, providing care for vulnerable people, or attending a support group
- Any medical reason including: a COVID test, appointments and emergencies, visiting people who are giving birth
- Attend a place of worship for prayer, a funeral or memorial service, or to visit a burial ground
- Fulfilling legal obligations such as attending court proceedings
Can I meet other people?
In general, you must not meet people socially. However, you can exercise or meet in a public, outdoor space either with people you live with, your support bubble (or childcare bubble), or with one other person. Where possible you should remain 2m apart from anyone not in your household. You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
You can exercise or visit outdoor public places with:
- The people you live with;
- Your support bubble;
- 1 person from another household. Any child under five or disabled person reliant on round-the-clock care isn’t included within these totals.
You can meet in larger groups for work or volunteering purposes, however where possible this should take place in public rather than in a private home or garden. There are also exemptions for support groups with up to 15 participants which provide mutual aid or therapy for example drug and alcohol recovery. Parent and child groups can also meet, and children under five do not count towards the 15 person limit.
Which businesses have to close?
Unfortunately, some businesses will have to close until 2nd December. These include:
- Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms, betting shops, electronic goods, and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to operate click-and-collect and delivery services
- Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, and pubs. They may provide food and drink for takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
- Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites
- Leisure facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis courts, and golf courses
- Entertainment venues such as theatres, cinemas, and museums. Indoor attractions at heritage homes must also close, though outdoor grounds can stay open
- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. It is also prohibited to provide these services in other peoples’ homes
- Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services and for click-and-collect
- Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, broadcasting services, and funerals
These businesses and places will be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:
- Education and training
- Childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
- Blood donation and food banks
- To provide medical treatment
- For elite sports persons (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), professional dancers and choreographers (in fitness and dance studios)
- For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
- For the purposes of professional film and TV filming
Which businesses can remain open?
Other businesses are permitted to stay open if they follow COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods or services, including:
- Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences
- Petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
- Banks, building societies, post offices, loan providers and money transfer businesses
- Funeral directors
- Launderettes and dry cleaners
- Medical and dental services
- Vets and pet shops
- Agricultural supplies shops
- Storage and distribution facilities
- Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
- Outdoor playgrounds
In addition, most public services will continue, and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists, Jobcentre Plus sites, and courts and probation services.
What is happening to weddings, funerals, and places of worship?
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Other events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in the totals. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’). These weddings are limited to 6 people.
More information about the virus restrictions can be found on GOV.UK: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-national-restrictions-from-5-november