Boris Johnson placed England into a full six-week lockdown this evening, as the UK’s top media warned the NHS would be overwhelmed within 21 days without tougher measures against the faster-spreading variant.

In a televised address to the nation, the Prime Minister said the country was at a “critical moment” and faced many difficult weeks ahead, with hospitals already dealing with 40% more patients than during the first peak in April.

The new lockdown comes into force on Monday evening, with regulations laid into law on Tuesday. It will be in place until the middle of February at the earliest.

Under new law, all residents within England must stay at home unless leaving the house for restricted government-approved reasons, which include:

  • Outdoor exercise
  • Shopping for food and other essentials such as medicine
  • Going to work if it is impossible to do so from home
  • Leave home to provide care for a vulnerable person
  • Attend medical appointments
  • Seek medical care

Despite an announcement on Sunday that schools were “safe”, all schools, colleges and universities will close in England from Tuesday, except for children of key workers and vulnerable youngsters. Nurseries and other childcare settings will remain open.

Police will have legal powers including fines or dispersal orders to ensure people comply with the new rules. Unlike under the November lockdown and tier 4, when outdoor exercise was unlimited, people are advised to leave the house for exercise just once a day.

Those unable to work from home are likely to include the construction sector and critical and key workers, including supermarket staff.

The Government has published a full list of businesses required to close throughout the duration of this lockdown:

  • non-essential retail, such as
    • clothing and homeware stores,
    • vehicle showrooms (other than for rental),
    • betting shops,
    • tailors,
    • tobacco and vape shops,
    • electronic goods and mobile phone shops,
    • auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment)
    • market stalls selling non-essential goods.
      • These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as
    • cafes,
    • restaurants,
    • pubs,
    • bars and social clubs;
      • With the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • Accommodation such as
    • hotels,
    • hostels,
    • guesthouses
    • campsites,
      • except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as
    • leisure centres and gyms,
    • swimming pools,
    • sports courts,
    • fitness and dance studios,
    • riding arenas at riding centres,
    • climbing walls, and
    • golf courses.
  • Entertainment venues such as
    • theatres,
    • concert halls,
    • cinemas,
    • museums and galleries,
    • casinos,
    • amusement arcades,
    • bingo halls,
    • bowling alleys,
    • skating rinks,
    • go-karting venues,
    • indoor play
    • soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres),
    • circuses,
    • fairgrounds,
    • funfairs,
    • water parks and
    • theme parks
  • animal attractions such as
    • zoos,
    • safari parks,
    • aquariums, and
    • wildlife reserves
  • Indoor attractions at venues such as
      • botanical gardens,
      • heritage homes and
      • landmarks
        • though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • Personal care facilities such as
    • hair,
    • beauty,
    • tanning nail salons
    • tattoo parlours,
    • spas,
    • massage parlours,
    • body and skin piercing services
      • These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below.
  • Libraries can remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the ​guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England​, but includes:

  • Education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • Childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • Hosting blood donation sessions and foodbanks
  • To provide medical treatment
  • For elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • For training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • For the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the ​guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England​, but includes:

  • Essential retail such as
    • foodshops,
    • supermarkets,
    • pharmacies,
    • garden centres,
    • building merchants
    • suppliers of building products
    • off-licences
  • Market stalls selling essential retail
  • Businesses providing repair services where they primarily offer repair services
  • Car Facilities
    • Petrol stations,
    • Automatic (but not manual) carwashes,
    • vehicle repair and MOT services,
    • bicycle shops,
    • taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Financial Institutions such as
    • Banks,
    • Building societies,
    • Post Offices,
    • Short-term loan providers
    • Money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • Animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Mobility and disability support shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds
  • Outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • Places of worship
  • Crematoriums and burial grounds