The regulations have now been published that implement the government’s new national lockdown restrictions which start on 5 November 2020 and run for four weeks. What are the key points?

The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 come into force on 5 November 2020 (in England only) and expire 28 days later, i.e. at the end of 2 December 2020. The regulations impose restrictions on the occasions on which you can leave or be outside of the place where you live and on gatherings. They also require the closure of a number of businesses. At 34 pages in length, the regulations are extremely complex, but the key points can be summarised as follows:

    • you can’t leave or be outside your home without a reasonable excuse
    • you have a reasonable excuse where one of the permitted exceptions apply – there are actually quite a lot of these, and they include leaving home to:
      • buy goods or services from businesses that are permitted to remain open
      • take exercise or visit a public outdoor place for open air recreation
      • attend a place of worship
      • visit estate or lettings agents, view residential properties to buy or rent, or move home
      • visit your support bubble
      • collect food, drink or goods that you’ve ordered
      • visit a waste disposal or recycling centre
      • go to work (where it’s not reasonably possible to work from home)
      • undertake education or training
      • provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person or provide emergency assistance to someone
      • fulfil a legal obligation
      • access critical public services or services provided by voluntary or charitable services, such as food banks
      • seek medical assistance
      • donate blood or attend medical trials
      • avoid injury or escape a risk of harm
      • attend a birth or visit a close family member or friend in hospital, a hospice or care home
      • attend a support group
      • attend a funeral, marriage or civil partnership ceremony
      • have contact with your child where they don’t live you with
      • access educational facilities or accompany a child to those facilities where you’re their parent or you have care of the child
      • attend a vet or care for or exercise your pet
      • return home from somewhere you were on holiday immediately before 5 November
      • visit a close family member or friend in prison


  • participating in indoor gatherings and private outdoor gatherings of two or more people is prohibited and participating in public outdoor gatherings of more than two people is prohibited, unless an exception applies – some of the exceptions in relation to gatherings are similar to the exceptions set out above
  • restaurants, cafes, bars, social clubs and public houses must close, but they can sell food and drink (but not alcohol) for consumption off the premises between 5am and 10pm – if they want to additionally sell alcohol for consumption offsite, this can only be done either via delivery or pre-order and collection outside where the order was received online, by telephone, text message or post, or via drive-through collection
  • the following are some of the businesses that must also close: cinemas, theatres, nightclubs, bingo and concert halls, museums and galleries, casinos, betting shops, spas, nail, beauty, tanning and hair salons, barbers, massage and tattoo parlours, skating rinks, dance and fitness studios, gyms, sports courts, swimming pools, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, soft play areas, circuses, theme parks, fairgrounds, outdoor sports centres, golf courses, water parks, car showrooms, aquariums, zoos, farms and indoor attractions at botanical gardens, historic homes and castles
  • shops that offer goods for sale or hire, unless they’re on the list of businesses permitted to stay open, must also close, but they can still make deliveries or allow pre-order and collection outside where the order was received online, by telephone, text message or post
  • businesses that are permitted to stay open include: food retailers, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, newsagents, hardware stores, building merchants, petrol stations, car repair services, taxis, banks, post offices, funeral directors, dry cleaners, dentists, opticians, chiropractors, osteopaths, other medical or health services, vets, pet shops, storage facilities, car parks, garden centres and public toilets
  • there are some exceptions where closed premises can still stay open for certain limited purposes, such as the premises being used to make a television programme or to host blood donation sessions, hotels providing accommodation for anyone who needs it for the purposes of their work, etc.
  • workplace canteens can only remain open where there’s no practical alternative for staff at that workplace to obtain food.

You can’t leave or be outside your home unless you have a reasonable excuse, as listed in the regulations. There are also restrictions on gatherings. A number of businesses are required to close their business premises, and others can only stay open subject to restrictions.

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