Coronavirus: Your lockdown questions answered
- Credit: Archant
From going fishing, to visiting a partner and doing your essential shop – here we have answered all your questions on England’s new lockdown restrictions.
Everyone is being asked to stay at home whenever possible to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in England as cases rise across the country.
MORE: The neighbourhoods with the highest and lowest Covid infection rates
The restrictions, which were introduced on Thursday, are much stricter than the three tier system which began in October – but some rules still differ from the first lockdown.
Many of you have sent in questions about how this second lockdown will affect you, and how it might be different.
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We have answered some of your questions below.
Can I form a support bubble if I am a single parent?
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Yes. A support bubble is a close support network between an adult who lives alone or a household with one adult and children who are under the age of 18 (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
Once you are in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
Once you make a support bubble, you cannot change who is in your bubble.
Can family members who formed a bubble of six still meet up?
The ‘rule of six’ law is not in action during the lockdown. You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
You can however exercise or visit a public outdoor space with the people in your household, with your support bubble, or, when you are on your own you can meet one person from another household.
Does the support bubble apply if you are caring at home for a disabled adult?
Yes. You can form a support bubble with one single-adult household who are not part of a support bubble with anyone else.
Are you allowed to go round your partner’s house if you don’t live with them?
If one of you live alone, then you can form a support bubble. This means you would be able to visit each other’s house.
However, if this is not the case then you are not allowed to mix indoors or in private gardens with other households. You can however meet outside in a public space with one person from another household.
How many people can you go shopping with?
The government has not issued a rule on how many people can go shopping from one household, but some supermarkets have restrictions in place.
Sainsbury’s is asking people to only shop one adult per household where possible, to keep people a safe distance apart and to reduce queues to get into stores.
Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Aldi and Morrisons have not specifically made an announcement about how many people can shop in their stores from the same household. Face masks are compulsory, however, and many have traffic light systems in place to ensure a safe amount of people in store at one time.
I’m 62 and work in a supermarket. Are we allowed to work as over 60s are to be treated as vulnerable?
If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus, so you must be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others.
The government guidance states that if you can work from home, you should. However, if this is not possible and if you are a public sector employee working in essential services, you should continue to go into work.
As you are vulnerable, you should follow the rules carefully and continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual.
Will places for medical care still be open - such as the eye clinic?
The Association of Optometrists (AOP) has confirmed with NHS England that optical practices in England will stay open during lockdown, as they are considered an ‘essential service’.
Can I go fishing at my local lakes?
Yes, fishing is the only recreational activity allowed to continue during the lockdown.
The Angling Trust has issued the following guidance after examining the government’s new restrictions.
“The regulations are clear and you can only leave home to fish with members of your own household, your support bubble or with one other individual,” The Trust said.
“The rule of six is now effectively the rule of two for most of us. The tightening of the rules on ‘gatherings’ means that match fishing or any other organised fishing event is prohibited by law during lockdown. However, competitive fishing will be able to resume once there is a return to the three tier system of restrictions.”
Are house moves allowed to go ahead?
Yes, you can still move home. However, people outside your household or support bubble should not help you move house unless absolutely necessary.
Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.
MORE: Can I move house during the second lockdown?How does it affect home education groups?
The government states: “For those who are home-schooled, pupils can still access education and training in community settings where needed to receive a suitable full-time education.
“Out-of-school activities that are primarily used by home educating parents as part of their arrangements for their child to receive a suitable full-time education (which could include, for example, tuition centres, supplementary schools, or private tutors) may also continue to operate for the duration of the national restrictions.”
Can you drive somewhere to exercise your dog?
Yes, you can travel to spend time or exercise outdoors.
The government guidance says this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary, such as to access an open space.
Will car garages still be open?
Yes, garages can remain open for petrol stations, car repair and MOT services.
How do I get my son to and from school as I am regarded as vulnerable and I am shielding?
It remains very important for children and young people to attend school, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians.
There is no requirement for anyone to shield in this second lockdown, but the government is advising people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to stay at home as much as possible.
You can still take your son to and from school, but should avoid taking public transport, should wear a mask, follow social distancing measures and avoid coming into contact with others.
If you are a single-parent household you could form a support bubble with another household, who could help you get your son to and from school so you can stay at home.
Parents are also able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.