Coronavirus FAQs

Home / Campaigns / Coronavirus FAQs

FAQ

New National Lockdown Rules

Dear Resident,

I hope you have all had a very happy New Year! I hope this email finds you, your family, your friends and neighbours well in these uncertain times. I have put together some answers to some frequently asked questions I have received regarding the new rules set out by the Prime Minister yesterday evening.
 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s)
 
I am worried I may have the virus, what should I do?

If you are worried that you may have the virus, please call 111 or visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test to book a test. You must stay at home for 10 days if you have any symptoms.

The main symptoms are:
A high temperature
A new, continuous cough
A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

More information is available at https://www.merton.gov.uk/coronavirus/test 
 

Which businesses will remain closed?
- All non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops must remain closed during this lockdown.

- Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through must remain closed.

- Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites must remain closed.

- Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, fitness and dance studios must close.

- Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys must close.

- Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons

Which businesses will be open?
- Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences

- Businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services

- Petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services

- Funeral directors

- Agricultural supplies shops
 
What public services will remain open?
- The NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists

- Jobcentre Plus sites

- civil registrations offices

- passport and visa services

- services provided to victims

- getting an MOT, if you need to drive when lawfully leaving home
 
Am I allowed to leave home for any reason?

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for where it is absolutely necessary.
This includes for:
- Buying essential items such as food and drink.
- To exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person but only once per day.
- To seek medical assistance or to avoid injury or emergency.
- To attend education (for those eligible)
- To go to work when you are not able to do so from home.
- Volunteering
- For reasons relating to animal welfare
- For communal worship and life events - You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony
- To fulfil legal obligations
 
For work, I need to visit other peoples homes, what should I do?

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden
 
Are schools closing or remaining open?

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical/key workers.

All other children will be learning remotely until February half term.
 
How do I know if I am a key/critical worker or not?

Parents whose work is critical to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and EU transition response include those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors, such as
- Health and social care
- Education and Childcare (childcare, support & teaching staff, social workers etc.)
- Key Public Services (justice system, religious staff, charities, journalists and broadcasters, those responsible for the management of the deceased etc.)
- Local and National Government (only includes those administrative occupations essential to the effective delivery of the coronavirus response and essential public services such as the payment of benefits)
- Food and other necessary goods
- Public safety and national security
- Transport and Border
- Utilities, communication and financial services
 
 
I am in the ‘extremely vulnerable’ category, what can I do?

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only leave your home for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work in person.
 
What do the new rules mean for meeting others?

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live. You should not meet other people you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with.
 
It is important to always stay at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household.
 
Are there any exceptions at all for meeting others outside my household in larger groups?
- For work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is unreasonable to do so from home
- For arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- For prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- To see someone who is dying
- To fulfil a legal obligation
- For a wedding ceremony (up to 6 people)
- For funerals (up to 30 people)
- To move to a new house
 
What are the best techniques I can use to help stop the spread of the virus?

Wash your hands regularly, for at least 20 seconds. Wear a mask indoors where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not usually meet.

What do the new rules mean for exercise?

You are still allowed to exercise outdoors in a public space by yourself, with members of your household or when you are on your own, with one other person from a different household.

What constitutes a public space?
- Parks
- Beaches
- Countryside
- Public Gardens
- Playgrounds
- Grounds of heritage sites
 
Am I still allowed to form a support bubble?

A support bubble is a support network which links 2 households together so that you may meet. Only certain people are permitted to form a support bubble, the criteria to be able to form a support bubble includes:
- If you live by yourself
- You are the only adult in your household and do not require continuous care
- Your household includes a child under the age of one
- Your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5
- You are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
- You are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 
 
Am I allowed to travel outside of my local area?
 
Unless it is of some importance, you should always stay at home as much as possible. There are, however, some reasons the government has laid out as to why you can travel outside of your local area. These include:
- work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
- accessing education and for caring responsibilities
- visiting those in your support bubble
- visiting hospitals, GP’s and other medical appointments
- buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
- outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary
 
I am a UK resident but am currently abroad, what should I do?

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.
 
Am I allowed to travel internationally?

You are not permitted to travel internationally unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so.

If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination and visit https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for FCO travel advice.
 
Am I allowed to stay away overnight away from home?

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:
- are visiting your support bubble
- are unable to return to your main residence
- need accommodation while moving to a new house
- need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
- require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
- are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
- are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge
 
I am a university student, should I return to face to face learning?
 
Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:
- Medicine & dentistry
- Subjects allied to medicine/health
- Veterinary science
- Education (initial teacher training)
- Social work
- Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments
 
Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online.
 
I am a university student, can I return home?

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

Can I continue to visit loved ones in care homes?

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

Are funerals still allowed to take place?

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Are weddings still able to take place?

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included.

Will places of worship remain open?

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.


I know that these new restrictions will be hard for many within our community including many schoolchildren and parents. I want to say thank you to all of our critical/key workers for everything they are doing in the most difficult circumstances.


My warmest wishes,


Siobhain McDonagh MP

P.S. I hope that this local update has been helpful. As ever, if I can be of any help or support to you and your family please do not hesitate to contact me at mcdonaghs@parliament.uk at any time.




back