Lockdown has been imposed on those in England for almost a month now, with many people hoping that the end is in sight for a return to (somewhat) normal life.
But when does lockdown actually end? With the new tier system now outlined by the government, it’s looking as though lockdown measures could be in place for longer than previously thought. The addition of the lockdown rules of Christmas, plus the extension of the furlough scheme, has many people wondering when lockdowns and tiers will finally come to an end.
As we’ve seen since March when the UK first went into lockdown, there’s no way to tell what could happen months or even just weeks from now. But for the moment we do know the basics, like when this second national lockdown will come to an end, when shops and businesses can open again and what happens immediately after.
This is what you need to know about when lockdown ends in England…
When does lockdown end?
Lockdown, the national restrictions currently in place throughout England, come to an end on December 2 at one minute past midnight.
After the national lockdown ends, regions will immediately go into localised lockdown in either tier 1, tier 2 or tier 3 restrictions as announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in November. Most of the country, it’s been slowly revealed, will be in the highest level of restrictions with areas in tier 3 including major cities and hubs such as Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol. While London, Liverpool and Cambridgeshire are among the areas that will be put into the second highest, ‘high’ risk level, otherwise known as tier 2.
This will be a great relief to thousands upon thousands of hospitality venues, businesses and events spaces who have been forced to close through the lockdown. When the measures were first implemented on November 5, only essential businesses were able to stay open and people were limited to only meeting one person from outside their household for exercise. This meant that every shop and business, including gyms and leisure centres, had to close for one month with little information about when they would be allowed to open again.
Now that the end of lockdown is just around the corner, many of these businesses and shops will be able to open their doors again under the new rules for the three tier system.
When do shops open after lockdown?
Shops are allowed to open after lockdown from December 2, the same day that lockdown ends. This means that all shops, those deemed both essential and non-essential, will be able to re-open on Wednesday morning – in time for Christmas shopping!
This is the case for all shops, regardless of the tier. Non-essential businesses and personal care, such as hairdressers, are allowed to stay open in tier 3 so even those in the highest level of restrictions will be able to go out and have a browse. However, the re-opening of shops and businesses after lockdown does come with some clauses from the government as all re-opening venues of any kind have to be made Covid-secure, just as they were when the previous restrictions were in place.
We also know that even though coronavirus cases are rising in some areas, schools will stay open after December 2, as they did in lockdown. The same goes for universities and colleges, along with workplaces where people are unable to work from home. It is only hospitality venues in tier 3, and those businesses that can’t remain Covid-secure, that will have to stay closed.
Will we go into a third national lockdown next year?
At the moment, nobody knows whether there will be a third national lockdown next year. Although, there has been talk of a January lockdown after it was revealed that for every day spent moving around without restrictions over Christmas, there could be days of lockdown as re-payment to bring the infection levels down. Others, a little more pessimistically, are arguing that lockdown could be extended until 2021.
The government hopes, however, that both of these situations won’t be necessary. They’ve argued that people should be sensible over the festive season and take precautions, in the hope that the infection level won’t rise dramatically over the holidays. Testing capacity and developments in the coronavirus vaccines have also been cited as the two main ways that the UK will be able to get out of lockdown for good.
So there’s plenty of good news to be happy about this week and with the end of lockdown in sight, many people are starting to gear up for (Covid-safe) Christmas and festive celebrations.