Stay home, says Prime Minister, as he imposes another national lockdown

Posted On 04 Jan 2021 at 8:05 pm

Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson told everyone in England to stay home to prevent the spread the coronavirus as he imposed a new national lockdown until at least the half-term break.

Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges must move to remote learning except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

Mr Johnson said that exams had effectively been cancelled this summer. And children who were entitled to free school meals would receive extra help, he said, adding: “It’s a pivotal moment.”

Vulnerable people would also once again be asked to shield but nurseries and childminders could stay open, with existing childcare bubbles allowed to be kept in place.

University students will not be allowed to return to campus and will be expected to study from home, with face-to-face teaching taking place for those on a small number of critical courses.

Mr Johnson said that people could leave their home to go shopping for food, medicine and other necessities.

In Brighton and Hove, which is already under tier 4 restrictions, “non-essential” shops will stay shut, including hairdressers and nail bars, but supermarkets, builders’ merchants and garden centres can stay open.

Pubs, cafés and restaurants will stay shut but businesses already offering a takeaway or delivery service can continue to do so. People will not be able to add alcohol to their order.

Exercise would be allowed, he said, ideally once a day. People could exercise with members of their household or support bubble or with one other person from another household if going for a walk or run.

Guidance said that people would be able to go to work if it was impossible to work from home, such as critical workers and those working in the construction sector. Cleaners and tradesmen and women such as plumbers and electricians may still work in people’s homes.

MPs are due to debate the government’s lockdown proposals on Wednesday (6 January) when the measures are expected to become law, with the lockdown likely to last until at least mid-February and possibly into March.

One difference from the lockdown last spring is that social bubbles will remain in place during this lockdown. And this time playgrounds and churches will stay open.

While playgrounds can stay open, golf courses, tennis courts and outdoor gyms will be ordered to close and outdoor team sports will be banned. But the Premier League football season will continue, along with other elite sports fixtures, with testing regimes in place and their own professional bubbles.

Churches and places of worship can host communal worship and individual prayers but people should go alone or with members of their household or support bubble. Weddings and funerals can still go ahead but with limits on attendance.

Another key difference is the backdrop of the latest lockdown being imposed while thousands of people are being given at least the first dose of one of the new vaccines.

Labour opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said that he supported the package of measures and said: “It’s time to all pull together.”

 

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    Yet again, we are told that this will not last that long. The result of last year’s zig-zagging by the government means that this time around it will last six months (the welcome existence of the vaccine does not make that much difference for now as there are the logistics of administering it – and, as we saw, with tracing, that is likely to be a fumble). Word is that it will be June, at least, until there are signs of emerging from the current situation. And the aftermath will involve the continuing effects of the virus upon individual health and the social construct.

  2. fed-up with brighton politics Reply

    We don’t need your June gloom and doom, Christopher. Some of us, elderly, vulnerable and without any support at all except an odd kind neighbour, are totally ground down with all this and need to have some hope, so please desist from the scenario you are painting.

    • Christopher Hawtree Reply

      Er, even Johnson has now said this evening that this is going to last a very long time. June is the very earliest at which matters will lift.This is going to be a very different world, but, if well managed, it could – in time – be a better one in which people scrambled to earn money to buy things they do not need. We shall see.

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