What are the key differences in regulations and guidance between England’s national lockdowns?

What are the key differences in regulations and guidance between England’s national lockdowns?

The first lockdown was the period of national lockdown regulations from 26 March 2020 to 4 July 2020.

The second lockdown was the period of national lockdown regulations from 5 November 2020 to 2 December 2020.

The third lockdown began on 6 January 2021 and is expected to last until 8 March 2021 at the earliest.

There are several key regulatory differences from the first lockdown in England to subsequent lockdown restrictions including:

  • more businesses are now able to operate including construction, dentistry, waste recycling centres, estate agents and those working in an individual's homes such as cleaners and tradespeople
  • nurseries are permitted to stay open
  • elite sports training can continue (but grassroots sports is not permitted)
  • places of worship are permitted to remain open
  • permitted numbers at funerals has increased from 15 to 30, while weddings are permitted to take place in the most exceptional circumstances, but limited to a gathering of six people
  • shops may offer click and collect services (providing that collections are made off premises) and hospitality is permitted to offer takeaway and delivery services (including takeaway alcohol, subject to a curfew of 11 pm)
  • fines for those breaching the regulations has increased from £60 to £200 for a first offence, doubling on repeat offences to a maximum of £6,400 (which is an increase from £960). Additionally, for those who hold or are involved in holding an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police now have powers to issues fines of £10,000

For further information on the past and current coronavirus restrictions for licensed premises, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—keeping up with restrictions for licensed premises [Archived]. For further information on the restrictions amid England’s first lockdown, see: Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on Licensing [Archived].

For analysis on the interpretation of the restrictions by the Court of Protection, see News Analysis: Family care and the lockdown regulations—an important (but nuanced) Court of Protection decision (NG (by his litigation friend, the Official Solicitor) v A local authority).

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