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Staffordshire will move to very high COVID alert level on 2 December

National restrictions FAQs

Due to rising cases of Covid-19 the Government is introducing national COVID restrictions. These will come into force for all of England from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December.

Detailed guidance about the new national restrictions in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19 are available on the government's website.

You can visit the key changes to your council services page to see how these restrictions impact council services. 

The key points

  • People will be told to stay at home except for education, work (if it can't be done from home), exercise and recreation, medical reasons, shopping for food and other essentials, or to care for others.
  • All pubs and restaurants will have to close.
  • All non-essential shops will have to close.
  • Households will not be allowed to mix with others indoors, or in private gardens.
  • Individuals can meet one person from outside their household in an outside public space.
  • Support bubbles for people who live alone, and households made up of single parents and children can continue.
  • Schools, colleges and universities will remain open.
  • Workplaces will be asked to stay open if people cannot work from home - including construction and manufacturing.
  • Outdoor exercise and recreation will be allowed, but gyms will have to close.

Further information



What it means for families meeting up

We are a family of four - can we visit my parent’s house?

No. You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household - meaning the people you live with - or support bubble.

What about meeting them in their private garden?

Under the new national restrictions, you would not be permitted to meet them in a private garden.

Am I allowed to mix with anyone who is not in my household or social bubble?

You can meet one other person from another household in an outdoor public place.

Does that one person include children under school age?

Children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

What counts as an outdoor place?

Outdoor public places include parks, beaches, countryside, public gardens (where you pay to enter them), allotments and playgrounds.

Can I be part of more than one support bubble?

Sorry no. Support bubbles are to allow households with only one adult member (with or without children) to meet up with another household of any size. This is an exclusive arrangement, so you can’t have more than one.

I have a wedding planned at the end of November – will this be able to go ahead?

No – weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances.

What are the new rules concerning funerals?

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Anyone working is not included.

Am I able to go to a group religious service?

All places of worship will be closed, unless they are being used for: 

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups

What about childcare - can I still take my children to nursery?

Early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal.

You can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers.

Can I form a childcare bubble?

Parents can form a childcare bubble with another household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.

Will I still be able to use my nanny?

Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home.

Can my child go to her after-school club?

Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

My children live with my ex-partner, can I still see them as before?

Yes, children will be able to move between homes if their parents are separated. 

What it means for the most vulnerable

I over 60 years of age – what is the advice for me?

Over 60s should minimise contacts with others.

What if you are classed as clinically extremely vulnerable?

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised not to go to work if they are unable to work from home.

Central advice but not an instruction is to:

  • Stay at home as much as possible
  • Go outside to exercise if you can
  • Continue to attend NHS appointments
  • Work at home if you can. If not, then don’t go to work – trigger statutory sick pay
  • Don’t attend shops or pharmacies
  • Other household members of clinically extremely vulnerable do not need to shield. They should continue to offer support
  • There is an outstanding issue reference sick and vulnerable children not attending school and more guidance on this is expected soon

Can I still visit an elderly relative in a care home?

Each care home has its own visiting policy. Care homes can allow residents to receive visits from family and friends providing this can be done in a COVID-secure way, following national guidance and using social distancing and PPE.

We advise you contact any care home before arranging a visit to ensure they are able to fully comply with the national guidance and facilitate visits. 



What it means for businesses

I understand bars and restaurants will have to close – what about takeaway food?

Takeaways and deliveries can continue.

Can hairdressers or beauty salons stay open?

No, all non-essential shops will have to close.

What about buying alcohol for takeaway from my local pub?

Pre-ordered alcohol can be collected as long as you do not enter the premises. You must order via a website, phone or text message. Deliveries are allowed.

Can I buy non-essential goods anywhere?

Online and supermarkets can sell non-essential goods.

I was planning to move to a new house soon – can I still proceed?

People will still be able to move to a new house, whether they are renting or buying. Removal firms and estate agents can also carry on working but must follow Covid safety guidance. This will be reviewed in time, along with all other national restrictions prior to 2 December.

What is happening to the furlough scheme that expired on 31 October?

The furlough scheme will be extended until December paying 80% of employee wages.

What support can businesses get?

In addition to the furlough scheme, the government will give firms: 

  • Up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant if their premises is forced to close
  • £1,000 for every furloughed employee kept on until at least the end of January
  • £1,500 for every out-of-work 16-24-year-old given a ''high quality'' six-month work placement
  • £2,000 for every under-25 apprentice taken on until the end of January, or £1,500 for over-25s
  • A grant available to self-employed people affected by coronavirus has also been doubled to 40% of profits, with a maximum grant of £3,750 over a three-month period.

What it means for education and work

Will schools, colleges and universities still open?

Yes, schools, colleges and universities remain open.

Should I work from home?

People are being advised to work from home where they can, but obviously this is not possible for everyone. If you must go to work your employer should make sure the environment is COVID-secure.

What do the new restrictions mean for travel?

Travel should only be for work, education, to care for someone vulnerable or to purchase essential shopping. Essential shopping should be kept to a minimum.

Can I still use public transport?

If the journey is essential, as outlined above, yes. However, people are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

I had a mini-break at the seaside planned - can I still go on this holiday?

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed.

What about if I own a second home?

This is also not permitted except for work purposes.

What about foreign holidays?

The same rules apply to overseas travel.

What it means for COVID-19 testing

Advice surrounding testing remains the same. If you have symptoms you should stay at home and book a test online or by ringing 119.

What if my test is positive?

You should self-isolate for 10 days and tell the Test and Trace team who you have been in close contact with. They will need to self-isolate for 14 days.

I have been told I have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. I have tested negative so can I still go out?

If you have been asked to self-isolate you must do so for 14 days, even if you have a negative test or have no symptoms. This means you can’t leave your home and you should limit your contacts with others in your household.

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