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What Are The New Rules For The Lockdown & How Does It Affect You?

young child with a mask holding their hand up

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, gave a speech last night and announced some changes to the lockdown with some new rules that will probably affect you. The new rules come into play this week and include the reopening of garden centres, the right for you to exercise as much as you like outside as well as changes to work.

Unfortunately, not everyone will interpret the rules the same way and may even stretch the limits the government has imposed.

For that reason, the Government is also increasing the fines for anyone who breaches the new guidelines where people can face charges as high as £3,200. Ouch!

To be clear, these rules don’t apply to Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales as they have the power to determine their own rules under the lockdown. The other nations have in fact opted to ease fewer restrictions than the PM has, so if you live in any of those countries, the following won’t apply to you:

New messaging

The new three-part slogan is now “stay alert, control the virus, save lives” and was previously, “stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.” The government is urging people to stay at home if they can, however,  there has been a shift in perspective as they are now encouraging the public to get out and exercise. 

Exercise

You may or may not have realised that the lockdown rule on exercise meant people were not allowed to go out longer than 1 hour per day. That is now being scrapped from Wednesday which is great as temperatures should start to rise this month and restricting people when the weather is nice is almost an impossibility. 

The only thing the government has requested is that we abide by the social distancing rules of keeping 2 metres apart from each other (unless you live in the same household).

Now for some good news: The Police will no longer reprimand those who fancy a cheeky sunbathe or families playing sports outside. Note: This is strictly related to families and not sports in a team!

The guidance has also suggested that people may be able to drive to different locations for their recreation too; that way,  they are not confined to a certain area around their neighbourhood. (The Welsh government is still restricting this to your local area).

Return To Work

This is the one that you’ll probably be the most interested in: The government is keen to breathe life back into our economy with shops, restaurants, and pubs shuttered for the last few weeks, The PM laid out plans for the manufacturing and construction sectors, by saying that if they cannot work from home, they will be allowed to go back to work. However, if you do work in one of these sectors and can work from home, then you are to continue to do so. This rule applies from Monday 11th May 2020.

However, each industry must follow very strict “Covid-secure” rules and practices so that they can keep their staff safe with the use of tape, masks, and the social distancing rules. Where it is needed, they must install perspex screens and staggered working hours.

Public Transportation

Where possible, the PM was encouraging people to either drive their own form of transport, walk, or ride if they were returning to work. 

This means he was discouraging us to take public transport. Not only that, the services that are running are limited as they are also required to operate with passengers being seated 2m apart. Unfortunately, the message wasn’t entirely clear;  there are certain parts of the country where public transport is essential for people getting to work.

Garden Centres

A strange piece to come out of the announcement was garden centres and nurseries: From Wednesday, they will be allowed to fully reopen, again, with a 2m social distancing rule in place. However, there have been a number of garden centres that never closed and remained open during the lockdown. 

Most were still taking deliveries and taking the opportunity to restock and change things around a bit. This industry is worth an astonishing £7bn a year to our economy and, like other industries, has been hit hard during its busiest period.

Shops

Unfortunately, retail shops are to remain closed. However, the PM hinted at a phased reopening of some stores from next month (June). It’s my understanding that the government is preparing a guidance report about the reopening of stores, so we’ll have to wait for that for more information.

Travel Quarantine

Until further notice, new arrivals from abroad will face a mandatory 14-day quarantine from next month in an effort to avoid a second spike of the virus cases (this is not for people traveling from France though).

This move is likely to be enforced next month and effectively kills the travel and tourism business as this would normally be the beginning of our busiest tourism months.

Travelers will be required to provide a UK address where they will be asked to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of 14 days - those who don’t follow the rules will either be fined up to £1000 or deported.

Fines For Breaches

All in all, the restrictions for outdoor activities have been relaxed considerably, but the government is increasing the amount the police can issue in fines. 

The current level is £60 to £100, however, serial offenders may end up paying as much as £3,200. The PM said: “You must obey the rules on social distancing and to enforce those rules, we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.”

In Summary

Looking around the many different forms and social media, it seems that a lot of people aren’t happy with the PM’s announcement since there seem to be a lot of grey areas and it wasn't entirely clear what sectors would be required to abide by the lockdown still. 

The announcement seemed to be very generic in meaning and didn’t really lay out the specifics that many of us were looking for.

It’s my understanding that the speech and its details will be debated in Parliament today (Monday) with a report to follow the following day. If anything changes we’ll try to let you know.

Also, if you have any extra information or if you don’t agree with anything written in this article, we’d love to hear from you?

Feel free to leave a comment below...

If you haven’t read them already. Please check out our other resource articles: -

RiiRoo Lockdown Kids Activity Sheets

RiiRoo Garden Scavenger Hunt

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A Few Cheeky Reasons To Home School Your Kids

 

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