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January 2021 Lockdown for England

Boris Johnson announced tonight (4th January) that England will enter into another national lockdown.

The same as the March 2020 lockdown, we are told that we must stay at home except for permitted reasons.

Schools, colleges and universities will close to pupils from 5th January and switch to remote learning, this will be until at least the middle of February 2021. Some will remain open for the children of critical workers and the vulnerable only.

The permitted reasons for leaving home include:

  • To get essential medical supplies, food and shopping.
  • To undertake exercise outdoors, with your household or one other person, but not mixing with other households. This is limited to once per day and you are not allowed to travel outside your area.
  • Meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, only if you are legally permitted to form one.
  • To go to work, for those who cannot work from home, if you can work from home this is strongly encouraged to be done.
  • Taking children to early years settings, such as nursery, as these will remain open.
  • Seek medical attention or to avoid injury, illness or risk of harm, including domestic abuse.

Anyone leaving their home for a permitted reason, should stay local to the city, town or village where they live. Leaving your local area is only permitted for a legally permitted reason, such as travelling to work.

Anyone who is clinically extremely vulnerable should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if essential. These people should not attend work.

The announcement also confirmed:

  • All end of year exams will not be taking place in the summer as normal.
  • Restaurants are only permitted to open to offer a delivery service, takeaway alcohol sales will be banned.
  • Outdoor sports venues such as golf course, outdoor gyms, tennis courts will be closed.
  • Any amateur sports will not be permitted.

The timeframe of this second national lockdown has been indicated to last until at least mid-February, if not into early March.

The plan during the lockdown will be to roll out the first vaccine by the middle of February to the top 4 priority groups, these include residents of care homes, health and social care workers, anyone over the age of 70 and the clinically extremely vulnerable. It will take up to 3 weeks for people to start to gain immunity to the virus following their vaccination.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CRJS) remains available to employers, who are either forced to close due to the lockdown, or who cannot provide their employees with sufficient work, until the end of April 2021.  This scheme allows employers to claim grants for 80% of an employee’s salary up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives.

For advice on any HR and employment topic, contact our specialists today.

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