Lockdown 3: What you can leave home for and who you can meet, what’s open, what’s shut


Prime Minister Boris Johnson has  announced a new national ‘lockdown’ for England to be effective from now and being made law on Wednesday morning. The lockdown is expected to last until at least mid-February if the situation in hospitals improve.

By this point, the NHS hopes to have vaccinated everyone in the top four priority groups identified by the JCVI – including older care home residents and staff, everyone over 70, all frontline NHS and care staff and all those who are clinically extremely vulnerable..

The rules have now been outlined on the government website.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. This will be put in law. The police can take action
against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse).
  • You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.
  • You may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property.


Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until February half term. Early Years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until mid February for all except future critical worker courses.


If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.

Clinically vulnerable

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Sports and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.


Closures include

● non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops,
tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
● hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and
non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through.

UPDATED – Venues will no longer be able to serve takeaway or click-and-collect alcohol. Delivery is still allowed.

● accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where
these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support
to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
● leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios,
riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses.
● entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including
inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
● animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife reserves)
● indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
● personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and
skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
● community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for
click-and-collect services

Remaining open

● essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
● market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
● businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
● petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and
vehicle hire businesses
● banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
● funeral directors
● laundrettes and dry cleaners
● medical and dental services
● vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
● animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather
than aesthetic purposes)
● agricultural supplies shops
● mobility and disability support shops
● storage and distribution facilities
● car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
● outdoor playgrounds
● outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
● places of worship
● crematoriums and burial grounds

Find full guidance here