A new lockdown in England is due to come into effect on Thursday 5 November, lasting until at least 2 December.
Here are some of your questions about what the regulations will mean for you.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies cannot be held under the new lockdown rules, due to be in place until 2 December, unfortunately. That’s whether they are at a church or elsewhere. There are very limited exceptions to this rule and the government is due to outline what these are on Monday when the full regulations are published.
Support bubbles are still in place during the new lockdown. Anyone who lives alone can join up with one other household, which can be of any number of people. It’s advised that you form a bubble with someone who lives nearby to avoid unnecessary travel and potentially limiting the spread of the virus.
Bubbles can also be formed with another household if a single adult lives with children who were under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020. And if someone shares custody of their child or children with someone they do not live with, they can have a bubble with the child’s other parent in addition to their chosen support bubble. So, as long as your neighbour lives alone or with children under 18 and is not already in a bubble, other than for shared custody purposes, the answer is yes.
Places like hotels and hostels are only going to be open for people who have to travel for work purposes. There are going to be a “limited number of other exemptions” set in law, the government has said. Also if you were planning a holiday rather than a business trip, you should bear in mind that the new rules state “you should avoid all non-essential travel by private or public transport”.
The government has said that certain businesses will have to close during the lockdown, with only those offering what are deemed essential services staying open. Those having to shut include what it called “personal care facilities”, which are places like hairdressers and barbers, beauty and nail salons and spas. That was also the case during the first lockdown, earlier this year. In addition, mixing of households indoors is only allowed for very limited purposes – like childcare or providing other care – which would mean a mobile hairdresser could not visit your home.
The update that came out on Saturday did not specifically address house moves but more details are due on Monday. The current government advice is that house moves are allowed as long as measures like social distancing and wearing a face covering are adhered to. Even those in the extremely clinically vulnerable category are allowed to move according to that current advice. And when the tier system was introduced, people were told they could move house if they lived in an area under very high alert, tier three. But it will be worth double checking when the new information is released.
Places of worship are to be closed apart from in limited circumstances. This is for funerals, individual prayer, for broadcasts of acts of worship, formal childcare, voluntary and public services like blood donation or food banks, or for some support groups. They won’t be open for normal services. And all indoor and outdoor leisure facilities – including gyms, leisure centres and swimming pools – will have to shut. People are being encouraged to exercise outside during the lockdown, in places like local parks.
The new rules come into force at 00:01 GMT Thursday. From that point, overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences won’t be allowed – in the UK or abroad. If you own a second home, you cannot stay in it. There are some specific exemptions, including if you have to stay away for work purposes or for education. It does depend where you are going however as, for example, no one is allowed to travel into Wales during the nation’s current “firebreak” restrictions. And quarantine measures are in place for many overseas countries. Anyone currently abroad does not have to return home immediately, however, the government has said.
Mortgage payment holidays are being extended for homeowners financially affected by the pandemic. Borrowers who have not yet had a mortgage holiday can request from their lender a pause in repayments, and that can last up to six months. Those who have had their payments deferred already can extend their mortgage holiday until they reach the six-month limit.
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