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On Monday 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister addressed the nation and announced a third national lockdown in England. The latest lockdown will remain in place until mid-February 2021 at the earliest.

Here is our summary of what this means:

Stay at home

In line with the first and second lockdown, people are urged to work from home, where possible. There are exceptions in areas such as manufacturing, construction and those providing critical services. People may leave home to shop locally for essential items and exercise is permitted with one other person from another household or support bubble, provided social distancing provisos are followed. People may also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services, to provide care or support to a vulnerable person, medical appointments and animal welfare. Overnight stays are not now permitted meaning holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed at this current time.

Outdoor sports venues such as golf courses and tennis courts must close whilst gyms – both indoor and outdoor facilities – will remain closed for the next six weeks.

The majority of our staff will continue to work from home with skeleton staff in our Greenwich and Blackheath offices during specific times for administrative purposes. We would advise all clients to contact their lawyer via email or telephone in the first instance to set up a virtual meeting via Microsoft Teams, Zoom or WhatsApp. Our offices are closed to members of the public except by prior appointment and only where necessary.

The housing market

The housing market will remain open as usual meaning people can still move home. People from outside a household or support bubble should not help with the home moving process unless absolutely necessary. The Government guidance includes advice on maintaining social distancing, wearing a face covering and allowing fresh air in by opening windows. Estate and letting agents plus removal firms can continue to work and property viewings are allowed in line with the guidance notes.

Educational facilities

From Tuesday 5 January, schools will be closed for six weeks and remote learning will take place until the February half term, except for children of key workers or those that are vulnerable. Nurseries will remain open. College and university students will be expected to stay where they are and not return until mid-February at the earliest.

Retail, hospitality and personal care businesses

All non-essential retail, hospitality and personal care businesses must close. This includes hairdressers, entertainment venues and personal care facilities. Restaurants can offer takeaway and delivery services but may not serve alcohol. Supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and those providing essential services may continue to operate as usual.

The national guidance, which is regularly updated, can be found here.