Q&A: What has changed following Boris Johnson’s latest lockdown announcement?
Following the prime minister’s Sunday evening address, the nation remains under lockdown, but with a number of slight changes and tweaks to regulations.
Boris Johnson announced the country would be making a “slow and gradual” exit from lockdown measures as the country continues to fight Covid-19.
The government’s message of “stay home” has been replaced with “stay alert” but people are still encouraged to only make essential trips; though extra outdoor exercise is permitted.
• Are we still in lockdown?
Yes, the prime minister said it would be “madness” to end lockdown now, adding that there will be no immediate end to it.
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He urged the country to “stay alert”, but adding that any significant relaxation will depend on people continuing to stay at home unless absolutely necessary.
• When the country does come out of lockdown, will it be the same everywhere?
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Not necessarily. The PM said that once changes are made they will be monitored at a local, regional and national level, meaning that some places could see greater restrictions than others.
With Norfolk one of the region’s with the lowest rate of infection it is possible the county could see looser restrictions than other places.
• Can I visit friends and family?
The PM’s announcement contained no new information regarding paying visits to friends and family, therefore, the existing restrictions on visitation remain in place.
• Who can return to work?
As of today, the government has said that anybody who is unable to work from home, should be actively encouraged to return - giving construction workers and manufacturers as examples.
However, with the lockdown remaining in place, pubs, restaurants and most shops will remain closed, meaning this workers can not return.
Meanwhile, anybody who is able to work from home is required to continue doing so.
• Do we know when the schools will return?
Tentatively, yes, however this depends on the rate of infection in the coming weeks.
The second phase of the lockdown exit, which will begin on June 1 at the earliest will see primary school pupils begin a phased return - beginning with reception, Year 1 and Year 6.
It is also hoped that secondary school pupils facing exams next year will at least get some time with their teachers ahead of the summer holidays.
• When will shops open?
While shops selling essential goods remain open, the government is hoping that a phased reopening of other businesses can begin at the beginning of June - but this is again dependent on the progress the country has made in reducing its infection rate.
• What about pubs and restaurants?
The restart of the hospitality industry is earmarked for the third phase of the lockdown exit - at the earliest, by July.
Subject to scientific advice, the government is hoping that at least some of the hospitality industry will be able to reopen within the next to months, but said it will be driven by “science, data and public health”.
• What can do I now that I could not do before?
While most of the lockdown restrictions remain, daily outdoor exercise is now unlimited and people are encouraged to spend more time outdoor for these purposes. However, this must still remain at a social distance from others.
You can now sit in the sun in your local park, drive to other destinations and play sports with members of your own household - but these activities must be socially distant.
- Can I drive elsewhere to enjoy the outdoors?
Yes, you can drive to other destinations but only with members of your own household.
- What if I don’t obey the social distancing rules?
You could be fined, and the financial penalties will be increased in order to enforce the social distancing rules.
- Can I use public transport?
Mr Johnson advised people to avoid public transport “if at all possible because we must and will maintain social distancing, and capacity will therefore be limited”.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Saturday that even with England’s public transport network running at full capacity it could only safely cater for 10% of the usual passenger load with the two-metre social distancing rule in place.