On Saturday 31 October 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation from Downing Street and announced a second lockdown across England from Thursday 5 November through to Wednesday 2 December.
So what does this mean?
The new restrictions mean people must stay at home unless there are specific reasons such as attending school, college or university or going to the supermarket. It is suggested that everyone should work from home unless this particular option is not available. Once the national lockdown is complete, it will be eased on a regional basis according to the latest COVID-19 case data at that time.
Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has confirmed that the housing market will remain open during the second lockdown allowing renters and buyers to move home. Tradespeople will be allowed to enter homes provided they adhere to social distancing measures and mortgage holidays will continue for those facing financial difficult during this difficult time – mortgage holidays were due to end on 31 October.
People are advised to work from home where possible. There are exceptions for those in critical infrastructure, manufacturing and construction. Public sector employees – those in education, for example – should continue to travel to work. The majority of our staff will continue to work from home and will be available via video conferencing facilities such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom.
The Prime Minister has extended the Government’s furlough scheme which sets out to ensure more workers retain their job with 80% of their salary paid up to £2,500 per month. Employers will now be asked to cover National Insurance and pension contributions for their staff during November. The furlough scheme was due to end on 31 October and will now be in place for the month of November and subsequently, the Job Support Scheme will now be introduced at the start of December.
Retail and leisure
All ‘non-essential’ shops, leisure facilities and entertainment venues will close. This includes bars and restaurants – except for takeaway and delivery services – plus hairdressers and beauty salons. Click and collect will continue and ‘essential’ shops such as supermarkets will remain open. GP surgeries, the NHS, Jobcentre Plus sites, courts and civil registration offices will also remain open to the public.