The UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has confirmed a new national lockdown for England.
Primary schools, secondary schools and colleges must move to remote learning and will remain open only for vulnerable children and those of key workers. Early Years Settings will remain open.
Boris Johnson has addressed the nation again tonight to confirm that we are entering another new lockdown which will take us until at least the February half term. He said that the new variant is 50-70% more transmissible, cases are rising too quickly and that these measures are absolutely necessary.
“You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. You should follow this guidance immediately.”
The key message again is to ‘Stay At Home’. We must only leave the house for limited reasons including: to shop for essentials, work if we cannot work from home, exercise, seek medical assistance or to escape domestic abuse. If you must leave home you should stay local: “meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall”.
The clinically extremely vulnerable should start shielding again and will receive a letter.
Alternative arrangements will be made for exams this summer in due course.
The prime minister also confirmed that those entitled to free school meals will continue to be eligible and they will continue to roll out technology to eligible families for remote learning.
Key Points from the Government Statement (full details at the end of the blog):
Exercising and meeting other people
You should minimise time spent outside your home.
It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
● by yourself ● with the people you live with ● with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one) ● in a childcare bubble where providing childcare ● or, when on your own, with 1 person from an other household
Support and childcare bubbles (see full statement for definitions)
You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.
A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you meet the eligibility rules.
It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these rules.
You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.
If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.
You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.
There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:
Early Years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities
parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. The is to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults.
some households will be able to benefit from a support bubble
nannies will be able to continue to provide services
City of York Council
The City of York Council has reacted to the new national restrictions with:
“As we have done since the very beginning of this pandemic, the Council will continue to do all we can to make sure residents, businesses and communities are supported through this difficult time. We will also continue to make the case to Government for increased financial support, both to local businesses and households on low incomes.”