Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced tougher national restrictions across England from Thursday, including the closure of non-essential shops and leisure facilities, in a bid to slow a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections across the country
In a national address at the weekend, Johnson said that from Thursday 5 November, everyone must stay at home and reduce their contact with others, for a period of a month until 2 December.
The move, which had been fiercely debated within Cabinet prior to the announcement, requires people to remain in their homes, except for specific purposes.
It is intended to prevent gatherings of people from different households, and will mean the closure of some businesses and venues, many of which had only recently reopened following previous Covid-19 measures.
Unlike the initial lockdown in March, educational settings including schools and universities will remain open, as will childcare facilities.
However, people should only go into their place of work if they cannot work from home, and should stay indoors except for the purposes of exercise, medical reasons, to shop for food and essentials and to provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer.
People cannot travel internationally or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted exemptions. Overnight stays away from primary residences will not be allowed, meaning people should not travel to second homes if they have one, while hotel visits are for work purposes only.
Pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed to customers, but takeaway services will be permitted, although the guidance indicates that takeaway alcohol will not be allowed.
All non-essential retail will close. This includes clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities will also be shut. This applies to bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks.
Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, and botanical gardens are required to stop operating.
Personal care facilities are also required to close, including hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.
Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open, but must ensure they are following Covid-secure guidelines to protect customers.
A full set of exemptions will be set out in law, with MPs set to vote on the proposals on Wednesday.
After the four-week lockdown, the government has indicated that areas of the country will return to the previous three-tier system of Covid alerts, with the levels of restrictions varying depending on the rates of infection locally.
Wales is already undertaking a 17-day ‘firebreak’, with non essential shops shut, a ban on households meeting and only some pupils in school. These restrictions are set to run until 9 November, with first minister Mark Drakeford to announce new rules to apply from that point in a speech later today.
Scotland is introducing a new five-tier set of Covid restrictions from today. Currently each of the country's 32 local authorities has initially been graded between levels 1 and 3, with the situation to be reviewed weekly.
Under level one, six people from two households can meet indoors or outside. Level two bans indoor meetings, and pubs can serve alcohol indoors only and with a meal.
People under level three restrictions have been told to make only essential journeys outside their council area, while alcohol sales are not permitted indoors or outdoors.