Stay At Home: England Under New Lockdown Restrictions

From 5th January 2021, the entire country is subject to new lockdown restrictions, and everyone must stay at home. Read this article to find out what this means for you, what you can and can't do, and important information you need to know.
stay home

Stay At Home

You must stay at home and follow the below guidance immediately. 

You can leave your home to:

  • shop for basic necessities for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble), or one other person, but this should be limited to once per day
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble when necessary
  • seek medical assistance, or avoid illness, injury or risk of harm
  • attend education or childcare, for those eligible
  • attend a place of worship for a service

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in your village, town or part of the city where you live. 

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only leave your home for medical appointments, or for exercise if it is essential, and you should not go to work. 

You should only meet with those in your household or support bubble. If you are exercising you may do so with your household, support bubble or one other person. 

You must keep 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household. 

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines. 

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. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Meeting in larger groups

There are some circumstances in which you can meet others from outside your household, support or childcare bubble. These include: 

  • for work or providing voluntary servicers if you cannot do so from home
  • where eligible, for educational, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to fulfill a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people
  • for funerals - up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people.
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

Going to school, college or university

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until at least February half term.


Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training)
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled 

Businesses and venues

The following businesses must remain closed:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms, 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.
  • hospitality venues such as restaurants, bars, cafes, pubs, with the exception for take-away, click and collect and drive through. 
  • entertainment venues 
  • leisure and sports facilities
  • accommodations such as hotels, B&Bs, hostels, guest houses, campsites 
  • animal attractions
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and salons, spas, tattoo parlors, massage parlous

The following venues can remain 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 
  • businesses providing repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic 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
  • 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

Care home visits

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted. 


You should not leave your home except for the legally permitted reasons stated above. If you need to leave your home you should stay local. 

International travel

You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must not go on holiday.

If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.

Further information


* indicates required

Please select the bulletins you'd like to receive