National Lockdown Rules
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
The main symptoms are:
A high temperature
A new, continuous cough
A loss or change to your sense of smell or
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
- 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
- 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
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
- To attend education (for those eligible)
- To go to work when you are not able to do so
- 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
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
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?
- Public Gardens
- 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
- 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
- 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
- accessing education and for caring
- visiting those in your support bubble
- visiting hospitals, GP’s and other medical
- 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
- are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable
person seeking refuge
I am a university student, should I return to face to face
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 firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.