The government yesterday announced a month-long national lockdown for England amid spiraling rates of infection and worries about the NHS becoming overwhelmed.

People have been told to stay at home from Thursday – as the national lockdown gets underway with the closure of hospitality and non-essential shops.

The measures will be in place until at least December 2 in a bid to drive down spiralling rates of the virus. The Prime Minister said he ‘could not ignore’ bleak figures which suggest the second wave could be twice as deadly as the first as he outlined details of the new lockdown at a Downing Street briefing.

Here are five key things you need to know about the new lockdown:

1) National lockdown overides dsicussions about Tees Valley

Tees Valley leaders had been in discussions with the government about the area being placed into Tier 3 restrictions but those talks were paused this weekend.

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said the Secretary of State had confirmed that “talks had been paused” on Saturday.

It's understood that the new national lockdown overrides the government's three tier system.

However, the government has said it will revert back to the three tier system if and when the national lockdown ends as predicted on December 2. Different regions will reportedly be allowed to come out of the national lockdown at different points under tiering measures and depending on the rate of infection.

The Tees Valley is currently in Tier 2, but talks should resume during the national lockdown about what tier the area is placed in after the national lockdown comes to an end.

2) Financial support will be better for people and businesses in the wake of the new lockdown

Apologising to businesses, Boris Johnson said the Government will extend furlough payments at 80 per cent for the duration of the new national lockdown measures in England.

The scheme was due to end at the end this week with a lower level package of support due to be introduced.

The Prime Minister said: “I’m under no illusions about how difficult this will be for businesses which have already had to endure such hardship this year and I’m truly, truly sorry for that – and that’s why we’re going to extend the furlough system through November.

“The furlough system was a success in the spring, it supported people in businesses in a critical time. We will not end it, we will extend furlough until December.”

He said the measures would be time-limited from November 5 to December 2, when restrictions would be eased and regions would go back into the tiered system.

He added: “Christmas is going to be different this year, perhaps very different. but it’s my sincere hope and belief that by taking tough action now we can allow families across the country to be together.”

It's an improvement on the support offered to places like Manchester when they were placed into Tier 3 last month.

Under the Job Support Scheme, which was expected to come into efffect in November, the governemnt would provide just 67% of normal salary up to a maximum of £2,100 a month.

3) These are the shops that are allowed to remain open:

This list of businesses is expected to remain the same, which includes:



Takeaways and food deliveries

Health shops

Medical services - eg, dentists



Pet shops

Hardware stores

Garden centres

Retail shops in hospitals

Petrol stations

Bicycle shops

Laundrettes and dry cleaners


Banks, building socities

Short-term loan providers, credit unions and cash points

Storage and distribtion centres

Post Offices

Car rental services and car parks near vital services such as supermarkets

Public toilets

Car garages and repair shops

Food banks and shelters

4) These are the shops ordered to close:

All shops deemed to be "non-essential" will close from next week.

This means all non-essential retail will close including those that sell clothing, electronics, books, gifts and homewares. 

Fashion chains, all pubs, bars and restaurants in England will shut but will be allowed to do takeaways and deliveries

Gyms are also set to close, as are salons, hairdressers and nail salons.

5) New lockdown might just save Christmas

Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty warned that the prevalence of coronavirus has been increasing “extremely rapidly” in recent weeks and could peak just before Christmas.

Citing Office for National Statistics data, the chief medical officer for England told the Downing Street press conference yesterday: “The prevalence of this disease has been going up extremely rapidly over the last few weeks, having been very flat due to the work of everybody in the country over spring and summer.

“And we now have around 50,000 new cases a day and that is rising.”

Professor Chris Whitty said the number of people in NHS beds in England will exceed the peak of the first wave without further measures.

The chief medical officer for England told the Downing Street press conference there is an increase in prevalence “in virtually every part of the country”, apart from possibly the North East where stricter measures are in place, and cases are not constrained to one age group.

Discussing NHS bed use in England, he said: “Currently only in the North West is this coming close to the peak that we previously had, but it is increasing in every area.

“And if we do nothing, the inevitable result is these numbers will go up and they will eventually exceed the peak that we saw in the spring of this year.”

More people could be admitted to hospital over the next six weeks than was seen over the first wave, Sir Patrick Vallance has said.

Projections suggest this would be seen “across the country as a whole” with “some hospitals earlier than others, some a bit later”, Sir Patrick warned.

The models suggest “increasing deaths over the next six weeks”, with a figure close to the first wave peak by December 8 “if nothing is done”.

“Clearly if you stop the R from increasing, if you allow R to come down then you would flatten this off and then potentially reverse it,” Sir Patrick said.

“But on the current trajectory that is what is thought to be the prediction for deaths over the next six weeks and of course that would continue to go up because the hospitalisations already exceeded the first wave peak by this time, deaths would follow.

“So unfortunately that’s a very grim picture in terms of what this looks like in the absence of action and continued growth.”