UK Lockdown: Latest Updates

A new virus strain is on the loose, and it is reported to be more dangerous than the first one. While the UK is making sure that guidelines are met when it comes to fighting the virus and lowering its damage, they also need to keep up and adjust to the new changes of this bio war we have been fighting since last year. 

Thus, new rules have been made effective and modified to secure the safety of everyone and lessen the fatalities brought by the virus. To keep you updated, here are the latest announcements you should know about the UK Lockdown. 

Mass Vaccination Program

Amid the disaster this pandemic has brought, the UK government pins its hope through its CoVid-19 vaccination program that began last month. 

As of January 22, over 4.6 million people in the UK have already received the vaccine from pharmaceutical companies Pfizer/BionTech and AstraZeneca. 

Prioritized people are citizens over the age of 70, all frontline health workers, and everyone who is clinically vulnerable. And although there is a target date for the second dose of vaccine in which scientists advised for the vaccine to take in effect in its fullest form, the UK government decided to leave a 12-week gap for the first and second dose to make sure that everyone gets vaccinated first. 

But even with the vaccine present, authorities still promote keeping restrictions implemented as the prevention of the virus makes it a hundred percent secured with the vaccine and restrictions combined. 

When it comes to the vaccine supply, the UK government does not want to give “false hope of assurance” but guarantees its citizens that manufacturers are working hard to deliver the supply as fast as they can, as soon as possible to make sure that the vaccine supply will not be scarce. 

UK Lockdown New Updates 

Last Friday (January 22, 2021), Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned that the new UK variant of COVID-19 may be associated with a higher level of mortality. 

With that, the British government has decided to prolong lockdowns for pubs, shops, and public spaces. So instead of the original plan that restrictions will be likely lifted on March 8th, it was extended until July 17th with the sanction of also placing travellers from high-risk Covid-19 countries to an at least 10-day quarantine in hopes to arrest the rising number of new Covid variant infections. 

Once the four priority groups have been vaccinated, by mid-February, “we’ll look then at how we’re doing.” Says Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he thinks it’s “too early” to lift England’s Covid restrictions due to its increasing death tally, almost hitting the 100,000 mark. 

Lockdown Rules in England

  • Like the first lockdown last March 2020, people in England cannot leave their homes except for reasonable reasons. These include essential medical needs, food shopping, exercise and work for those who cannot do so from home
  • Leaving home to meet people outside your support bubble are not allowed
  • All schools and colleges will close to most pupils with remote learning until February half term
  • End-of-year exams will not take place this summer as normal
  • University students should not return to campuses and will be taught online
  • Restaurants can continue to offer food delivery, but takeaway alcohol will be banned
  • Outdoor sports venues, such as golf courses, tennis courts and outside gyms, must be close
  • But outdoor playgrounds will remain open

A new £800 fine for attending house parties of more than 15 people has been announced. It will double for each additional offence – up to £6,400. Organisers will be fined £10,000.

(Related: London Lockdown 3.0: Everything You Need To Know)

Lockdown Rules in Scotland

Scotland has its restriction levels – 0 to 4. Mainland Scotland and the isles of Skye, Arran, Bute, Gigha, Barra and Vatersay have moved to restriction level 4, while all other island communities remain in level 3. 

And by law, in a Level 4 area, you can only leave your home for an essential purpose. People who can work from home must do so. These restrictions will remain in place until at least mid-February as per Scotland’s official guidance

In the first weeks of January, what are considered as an “essential” include: 

  • education (although schools are largely closed until February)
  • shopping
  • exercise
  • childcare
  • healthcare. 

However, on January 16, Scotland tightened its national lockdown rules. The government has put further limits on social interactions around shopping and retail. 

People buying takeaways and coffee aren’t allowed inside the premises anymore, and restaurants and takeaways must also serve people through hatches. Drinking of alcoholic beverages outdoors under Scotland’s highest lockdown tier is also now illegal.

Moreover, retailers who are allowed to offer click-and-collect services have also been limited to only those selling essential items. Essential items include:

  • clothes
  • footwear 
  • baby equipment
  • books 

Rules For Islands Under Restrictions Level 3 

  • Pubs and restaurants open until 6:00 PM, but no alcoholic beverages should be served
  • Leisure and entertainment venues are closed
  • Non-essential travel in or out of the area not allowed
  • Hairdressers and barbers can open

Lockdown Rules in Northern Ireland

Their supposed six-weeks lockdown started on December 26th. However, rules and laws in Northern Ireland have been tightened and extended its restrictions until March 5th and will be reviewed on February 18th.

As per Northern Ireland’s official guidance, no one may leave their home without a reasonable excuse. These include:

  • Obtaining goods or services from any business permitted to open
  • exercise, as permitted in the regulations
  • visiting your bubble
  • visiting hospital, GP, medical appointments or health services (including mental health)
  • providing care or assistance to a vulnerable person, or to provide emergency assistance
  • avoiding injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • going to work (if you cannot reasonably do so from home)
  • accessing education or childcare

Other rules include:

  • Closure of all non-essential shops, including garden centres and homeware stores
  • No click-and-collect services, except supermarkets
  • Hair and beauty salons will remain closed
  • Hospitality businesses can only operate for takeaway and delivery
  • Leisure and entertainment venues must be closed

Failing to comply with the regulations without reasonable excuse may result in a fixed penalty or a fine.

For some offences, a fixed penalty of £200, which will be reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days, or you could face a fine of up to £5,000 if you are taken to court. 

Lockdown Rules in Wales

Wales went into a national lockdown a few days before Christmas after a surge in coronavirus cases. The country, at one point, had the highest infection rate of any UK nation. Thus, placing it at alert level four by the Welsh government. 

Here’s what you need to do at alert level 4 as per Wales’ official guidance:

  • people must stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • people must not visit other households, or meet other people they do not live with
  • many types of businesses are required to close
  • Face coverings continue to be mandatory in the indoor public spaces that remain open including on public transport and in taxis
  • Wedding receptions and wakes are not allowed
  • Work from home if you can

The following must close:

  • Entertainment venues including theatres and concert halls must close
  • Indoor and outdoor visitor attractions must close
  • Sport, leisure and fitness facilities must close
  • Pubs, bars and cafes can only operate for takeaway and delivery
  • Hairdressers and nail salons must close
  • Non-essential shops must close but can operate through click-and-collect
a photo of two bottles of COVID 19 vaccine

Travel Guidelines 

When it comes to travel, there is a strict 10-day quarantine rule implemented for travellers who will be coming from high-risk countries. And although travel corridors are currently suspended, they also require a completed passenger locator form and proof of negative coronavirus test to make sure that all measures are met in decreasing the fatalities of the virus. Travellers must also comply with all restrictions, both domestic and international, set by the UK government. 

Travellers arriving in the UK from 30 countries will be placed in mandatory quarantine in government-provided accommodation including hotels, for 10 days. 

Travel Rules in England

England is welcoming international visitors. Thus, to keep everyone safe, a completed passenger locator form and proof of a negative Covid-19 test is required

However, even if you provide a negative test for entering the country, you still must follow the rules for self-isolating when you arrive in England. And that means self-isolation for 10 days. You may opt into the Test to Release for International Travel scheme to shorten your self-isolation period.

Travel Rules in Scotland

You should not travel outside your local authority area for anything other than “essential” reasons. Meaning travelling between Scotland and other parts of the UK for leisure is not allowed.

Moreover, the Scottish government strongly advises against non-essential foreign travel. 

If you are entering the country, given that you’re legally permitted to do so, you must have proof of a negative COVID-19 test to travel to Scotland. 

Travel Rules in Northern Ireland

Anyone travelling into Northern Ireland who plans to stay for at least 24 hours should self-isolate for 10 days. But if you routinely cross the border for essential purposes, then you are not subject to restrictions.

Moreover, The Republic of Ireland has imposed a temporary travel ban on Great Britain.

Therefore, international travellers, including those from Great Britain, arriving in NI must produce evidence of a negative Covid-19 test.

Note: a test and release scheme being introduced in England for international travellers will not be introduced in NI. 

Travel Rules in Wales

International travellers arriving directly into Wales will be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result. If you do not present proof of a negative test result, you may not be able to board and could be fined £500 on arrival into Wales.

In addition, a 10-day self-isolation is also a must, regardless of your pre-departure test result. 

Is Public Transport Available?

Public transport is still available in all parts of the UK. But your risk of getting the virus will be high since you’ll be exposed to people outside your bubble.

What we recommend is to hire a chauffeur to accommodate you during your stay in England and all around the UK.

If you decide to hire a chauffeur service during your visit to and from the UK, My London Chauffeurs remain open and can even assist you for a Meet-and-Greet at the airport. Our professional chauffeurs will act as your personal assistant and will accommodate you with all your transport needs. 

We are following all the government recommendations for transport providers to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. We assure you that your safety is our priority. Our professional chauffeurs are fully trained to ensure that they follow correct safety procedures, such as wearing face masks at all times and sterilising the inside of the car before and after use, for both our clients and themselves.

When Will the UK Lockdown End?

Technically speaking, there is still no possible date of when restrictions will be over even though data shows that the new Covid variant is “not less deadly but is more contagious” at this point. But it’s more likely that covid-19 will never go away for good, and over time, us, humans, will learn to live with the virus. 

The vaccine, however, will allow our lives to return to normal and lower death rates. National-level restrictions across the UK will not fully end at once, though. 

But whatever the restrictions will be after this UK lockdown, let’s all hope for the best and remember to always wear a face mask, wash your hands frequently, and keep a safe distance from other people when going out.

We look forward to assisting you again on your travels and provide you with a comfortable, safe, and seamless transit!

A Luxury Chauffeur Car Company – Reliably on time, every time. 

My London Chauffeurs is a well-established company which has been providing luxury cars and chauffeurs for many years. Our drivers are very well trained and have expert knowledge of the London area. You can hire our services for longer periods or even for your whole stay in the UK. We offer a premium service which is flexible, reliable, and discreet, and our representatives speak many different languages to ensure that each client is comfortable with their service.