2021-01-31 11:12:16 | England’s lockdown rules – and when restrictions could end
People may still form a childcare bubble, through which they can provide or receive childcare from one other household if they live with a child under 14.
Support bubbles also remain permissible. A person is eligible to form a support bubble if they live alone, if their household includes a child under the age of one, or if they are a single adult living with one or more children under the age of 18.
A support bubble may include a maximum of two households and should be “fixed”; people are advised against switching between different bubbles.
Ministers were reported to be considering scrapping support bubbles as a way to slow the transmission rate of Covid-19.
But Mr Hancock ruled out cancelling them during lockdown at a press conference on Jan 11, saying: “I know how important they are to people, and they are an important part of the system we have got to support people.
Mr Hancock warned the public they should not change the people in their bubbles, adding: “The bubbles are there for individual specific people…if there is someone in your bubble, you are essentially part of the same household.”
Amateur and professional sports
All amateur sports are now banned, including outdoor games such as golf and tennis, as well as children’s sport. This marks a toughening of the Tier 4 rules, which had ordered indoor gyms and sports facilities to close, but allowed any outdoor sports courts, gyms, swimming pools, archery driving and shooting ranges, riding arenas to remain open.
Unlike the first lockdown in March, outdoor playgrounds will remain open.
Elite sportspeople and their coaches, as well as parents of athletes aged under 18, are still permitted to gather in order to compete and train.
The government is being urged to minimise the lockdown damage on children’s health by drawing up early guidance for the return of extracurricular school sport and accelerate a recovery fund for community sport.
Read more: Will elite sport continue and what form of exercise and activities can we still do?
Despite initial confusion, the Government has confirmed that fishing is allowed during the third lockdown.
The Angling Trust made an urgent representation following the announcement of a lockdown on Jan 4, after fishing was banned in England, but not Scotland and Wales.
The Government formally responded to the trust, and stated that after considering the benefits of fishing to individual health and wellbeing, fishing is permitted as a form of exercise and can therefore continue.
The Government and the Angling Trust have stressed that people must follow Covid rules, such as staying local, adhering to social distancing rules and limiting the amount of time spent outdoors. Overnight fishing and organised gatherings are not permitted under the new rules.
Under the latest government advice, car-related services such as vehicle repair and MOT garages are permitted to open. Fuel stations and automatic car washes can also open during lockdown, alongside vehicle hire and taxi services.
Covid regulations must remain in place at all the above. However, car showrooms must close.
People deemed “clinically extremely vulnerable”, which means they are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, have been ordered to shield once again. They should avoid the workplace or school, and should aim to visit shops or the pharmacy only at quieter times of day, or else ask friends, family or volunteers to collect supplies on their behalf. It echoes advice first issued in the initial March lockdown and latterly applied in Tier 4 areas.
Worship, weddings and funerals
Communal and individual prayer will be permitted to continue, marking a change in strategy from the first lockdown. However, Tier 4 requirements will now apply nationwide, meaning people will be required to observe social distancing rules and will be banned from attending services at churches and other places of worship with anyone outside of their household.
For weddings and civil ceremonies, only six people will be permitted to attend. Funerals can be attended by up to 30 people, although both are subject to strict social distancing rules.
Bereaved families could be asked to foot the bill for any fines if a funeral service is in breach of coronavirus restrictions, it has been reported.
The National Association of Funeral Directors (NAFD) has told the BBC it is considering suggesting to its members that they ask families in some areas to guarantee to pay the cost of any potential fines.
It comes a week after a funeral director from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was fined £10,000 for holding a service with 150 attendees in breach of coronavirus restrictions.
The decision to keep churches open comes after ministers said in December that they recognised the importance that many people placed on religious worship.
Read more: What the latest lockdown restrictions mean for your wedding
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