Coronavirus lockdown: What are the new rules coming into effect from today?

Non-essential shops reopen from Monday 

Matt Mathers
Monday 15 June 2020 10:17 BST
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Coronavirus in numbers

England saw a further easing of lockdown measures on Monday, almost three months after restrictions were first introduced in March.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier this month announced a further relaxation of the rules in England, many of which came into force on 15 June.

Decisions on easing lockdown in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are being made by the devolved administrations in those countries.

Here’s everything you need to know about the changes.

Can I go to the shops?

Some non-essential shops will resume business on 15 June for the first time since a nationwide lockdown was announced on 23 March.

These include high street retailers and department stores, including book shops, indoor markets and shops selling clothes.

Restaurants, pubs and hairdressers will remain closed until at least July, although they can continue to operate delivery and takeaway services.

Across the Irish Sea in Northern Ireland, shops opened last week. Both the Scottish and Welsh governments are yet to confirm when non-essential stores can start trading again.

Full list of reopened shops:

  • Fashion shops
  • Charity shops
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors, dress fitters and fashion designers
  • Auction houses
  • Antique stores
  • Retail art galleries
  • Photography studios
  • Gift shops and retail spaces in theatres, museums, libraries, heritage sites and tourism sites
  • Mobile phone stores
  • Indoor markets
  • Craft fairs
  • Similar types of retail

Do I have to wear a face covering on public transport?

People in England are being encouraged to avoid public transport where possible.

However, some people have no other option than to use a bus or train to get to work.

It is now compulsory for everyone in England travelling on rail, bus and boat to wear a face covering – this excludes school transport, taxis and private hire vehicles.

Those not wearing a face covering may be refused access to services or receive a £100 fine.

There are exceptions for people with certain health conditions, disabled people and children under the age of 11.

The compulsory rules do not apply in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – but their governments recommend that people cover their faces in places where social distancing is difficult, including on public transport.

Are schools open?

Some primary school pupils went back to school earlier this month
Some primary school pupils went back to school earlier this month (PA)

Secondary schools in England can open for students in years 10 and 12, but only around of 25 per cent of eligible pupils will be allowed in the classroom at any one time due to the two-metre social distancing rules.

Some primary pupils – years one and six – are already back in school, having returned on 1 June.

However, the government was last week forced to abandon its pledge to get all primary school pupils back in lessons before the end of the summer.

Schools in Northern Ireland remained closed, with provisional plans to get pupils back in September.

Schools in Wales also remain shut although the government has said that all pupils will be able to return for limited periods during the week from 29 June – but only a third of students would be allowed into school at any time.

The Scottish government has said schools will reopen in August.

Can I stay over at someone else’s house?

People in England and Northern Ireland who live alone are allowed to form a “support bubble” with another household.

This means that people who have spent almost three months in solitude under lockdown rules will now be able to visit another household, containing any number of people, freely.

They will also be entitled to stay overnight and vice versa.

The new rule only applies to people who live alone and to single parents who live only with children under the age of 18.

In Scotland, the government is considering the idea, while the Welsh government is reviewing the next steps out of lockdown

Can I visit the zoo or outdoor cinema?

The government last week said that people will be allowed to visit zoos, safari parks and outdoor cinemas from 15 June.

Announcing the move, Boris Johnson said the attractions could open so long as they followed social distancing guidelines.

All reopening zoos, safari parks and outdoor cinemas must ensure that amenities such as cafes comply with social distancing measures to help limit the spread of Covid-19.

In Scotland, zoos can’t reopen until 15 July while the government in Wales has said attractions will only open when it’s safe to do so.

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