7 of the most obscure rules and loopholes of this new lockdown

Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Thursday 07 January 2021 08:17
news

New lockdown restrictions have come into force

(Andrew Milligan/PA)

England has entered its third national lockdown, with new restrictions expected to last for at least six weeks in an effort to reduce transmission after the number of coronavirus cases hit record highs.

Workers have been told to WFH if they can, non-essential shops have been shut and schools and colleges are closed except for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers.

People are only allowed to leave home for necessary journeys such as to go food shopping, seek medical assistance, exercise or to escape domestic abuse.

But what more can’t you do?

1. Go for a picnic

The guidance states people are permitted to exercise outdoors with one other person outside your household (if you are on your own) or with your support bubble, just once a day within your local area. 

It must not be “recreation or leisure”, so this means, for example, no picnics. 

2. Play sports (unless it’s your job)

Elite sportspeople are allowed to train and compete while the Premier League matches and elite leagues in other sports will still go ahead. Indoor as well as outdoor sports facilities are closed but organised outdoor sport for disabled people can continue. 

3. Get a takeaway drink

Hospitality venues are closed except for takeaways (until 11pm), click-and-collect orders, drive-throughs and deliveries. Pubs and restaurants can no longer serve takeaway alcoholic drinks though. So pizza is fine, a pint not so much.

4. Go on holiday (again, unless it’s your job)

You can only travel within the UK or internationally if you have a legally permitted reason to leave home. Reasons for being allowed to do so include “work purposes”.

5 and 6. You are, however, allowed to go to a garden centre… and move house.

You must have a ‘reasonable excuse’ to be outside your home, or you may risk a fine. 

Garden centres have been classed as “essential” in the new set of restrictions, so you can’t see your family but at least you can stock up on houseplants.

Moving house is still allowed and estate and letting agents and removals firms may continue to work. You can attend property viewings while adhering to Covid safety restrictions such as social distancing. However, people outside your household or support bubble are not permitted to help with the move unless it’s deemed “absolutely necessary”.

7. And there are exceptions to the rules which allow you to meet up with a group of people in specific circumstances.

You can also attend a support group outside a private home, of up to 15 people, which has been formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or other forms of support. 

Other circumstances when you are allowed to meet others include to visit someone who is dying or receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, birth partners and for respite care. 

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