The Prime Minister has announced a new national lockdown, in response to a rapid rise in Covid-19 cases and hospital admissions.
This drastic jump in cases has been attributed to the new variant of COVID-19, which Government’s scientists have now confirmed is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible.
The new regulations will see all citizens to stay at home unless for essential reasons. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following reasons:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person.
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home.
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one.
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse).
- attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
All primary schools, secondary schools and colleges will now move to remote learning, except for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.
All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care services must close, or remain closed. Restaurants can continue delivery, takeaway or click-and-collect of food and non-alcoholic drinks, but venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol.
Essential shops and garden centres can remain open. Entertainment venues and animal attractions such as zoos must close, but the outdoor areas of venues such as heritage homes and botanical gardens can remain open, to be used for exercise. Playgrounds may also remain open.
Places of worship can remain open, but you may only visit with your household.
Indoor and outdoor sports facilities including sports courts, gyms, golf courses, swimming pools, and riding arenas must also close. Elite sport and disabled sport can continue, as can PE lessons for those children attending school.
The restrictions are expected to last until the middle of February if the situation in hospitals improve. By this point, the NHS hopes to have vaccinated everyone in the top four priority groups – including older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable.
Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “With the new variant causing infection rates to rapidly increase and with hospitals across the country under extreme pressure, it became inevitable that this would happen.
“We realise this will be hugely difficult news for us all, for some more than others and I’m thinking particularly of those living on their own, older people and those with health problems.
“However, we can’t ignore the stark picture before us, and I urge everyone to stick to the new restrictions. Stay at home and don’t mix with others apart from your own household or bubble. Keep to the hands, face, space guidelines, and, if you develop any symptoms, no matter how mild, then please self-isolate and get tested.
“Please do get out and exercise as it’s important that you maintain your health and wellbeing at this most difficult of times.
“The new vaccine means we can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. However, let’s not be complacent and let things slip, as we aren’t out of the woods yet. The vaccines are effective, even after a single dose, in protecting the most vulnerable people from becoming seriously ill and when these people in our families are vaccinated then life will begin to return to normal.
“I’d like to wish you all a happy New Year, and remind everyone to be safe and stick to the rules.”