Am I on lockdown for Christmas? UK quarantine explained by region
Last week, news came out about a new mutation of COVID-19. It was discovered in the UK and could be up to seventy percent more transmissible. The rapid spread of the mutated virus led to the UK government putting tighter lockdown restrictions on millions of people as cases continue to climb during the holiday season.
Many people will be on lockdown over the holidays – this will likely put a lot of family gatherings on hold or cancel them altogether. There are a number of factors which led to the decision to impose the new lockdowns and there are some regions with stricter lockdown rules than others.
For example, twenty-one million people in England & Wales are going into tier four lockdown restrictions, which means people have to stay home and all non-essential shops & businesses are required to close.
Not sure how these lockdown orders will affect you? Here’s a guide to understanding what the lockdown means for different areas around the UK:
UK lockdown in England
Every part of England was placed into four different tiers depending on how hospitals are doing and how fast the virus spreads in particular areas. People in tiers one to three are told not to travel to the new tier four areas. All areas which were tier three have moved to tier four because of the new virus mutation.
This affects seventeen million people from various parts of England, including all thirty-two boroughs of Greater London and the city of London. New tier four restrictions are similar to what they were during the last national lockdown last month, according to BBC News.
Residents are advised to stay home except for work or school, non-essential businesses can’t be open, people shouldn’t leave tier four areas, and people can’t meet indoors unless they’re in the same household or part of a support bubble, and no one in tier four can join Christmas Day bubbles in tiers one to three. According to the UK government’s website, a support bubble is a network linking two households together.
UK lockdown in Scotland
Scotland’s lockdown rules have also been altered. Throughout the holidays, non-essential travel between Scotland & England is not allowed. For Christmas, a maximum of eight people can get together from three households.
Every part of Scotland is put into a level ranging from zero to five. Zero has the least amount of restrictions and five has the most. Some areas recently lowered their levels, but Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, and East Lothian moved from level two to level three last Friday. Other level four areas are under strict lockdown, and non-essential businesses have had to close. Schools remain open in each of the levels.
UK lockdown in Northern Ireland
Starting Dec. 26, Boxing Day, Northern Ireland will go into a six-week lockdown. This means non-essential businesses will close, hotels can stay open until Dec. 28, weddings and other ceremonies will be limited to twenty-five people, and churches will be able to stay open with restrictions.
From the time the new Northern Ireland lockdown restrictions start until Jan. 2, essential businesses will have to close at 8 PM.
UK lockdown in Wales
The original plan was for Wales to go into level four measures on Dec. 28, but that changed. Wales is now in a level four national lockdown. First Minister Mark Drakeford said on Christmas, bubbles of no more than two households can get together.
The new restrictions include staying at home, not visiting other households unless they’re from a support bubble, many businesses have to shut down, and weddings & funerals are not allowed. The new restrictions also advise people to work from home if possible and not travel unless absolutely necessary.
“The new variant is out of control and we need to bring it under control. And this news about the new variant has been an incredibly awful difficult end to, frankly, an awful year,” said Matt Hancock, UK Secretary of State for Health & Social Care, in an interview with BBC News.