Will there be another lockdown in England?

BORIS Johnson's new three-tiered lockdown system is being resisted in some parts of England, with one leader telling the PM to 'sod off'.

But with coronavirus cases rocketing again, commentators warn a second national lockdown could be brought in by stealth, "by the back door".

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Will England go into a second lockdown?

The Telegraph and i newspapers have asked whether we are plunging towards a national lockdown "by the backdoor".

This is due to a new three-tiered system which means millions of people have been slapped with restrictions to help halt the rising number of coronavirus cases.

But, these are aimed at local areas only.

And, while he is keen to avoid another national lockdown, the Prime Minister has refused to rule a second one out.

So he has been focusing on localised limits through his tiered approach.

The toughest of these levels, Tier 3, currently covers Greater Manchester, along with the Liverpool and Lancashire regions of England.

Strong resistance has been encountered in Greater Manchester, which wasforced to become the third area to be hit with the most serious measures – including a closure of pubs and bars and a ban on overnight stays outside the home.

Angry Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham warned on October 20: "Make no mistake, all parts of the country may find themselves in a Tier 3 lockdown at some point this winter."

Other locations in England remain at risk of moving into a Tier 3 lockdown as cases of the coronavirus continue to rise across the country.

One of these areas – Hartlepool – has reacting angrily to news that talks are planned this week with South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside about a possible shift to Tier 3.

An angry Hartlepool Borough Council leader Shane Moore tweeted: "If anyone suggests it to me this week they'll be told to sod off."

The government is continuing to resist a recommendation from its scientific advisers to have a short circuit-breaker lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus.

This follows a comment by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on October 6 that nationwide lockdown measures were "not appropriate".

Yet Mr Sunak has failed to rule out harsher restrictions to control Covid-19, despite warning of the "economic damage" caused by lockdowns.

On October 20, Labour pressed the Chancellor about a short "circuit-breaker" lockdown, given that Mr Johnson said "I rule out nothing" when asked if such a move is likely or not, to combat the virus.

Speaking in the Commons, shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds asked: "Does the Chancellor rule it out, yes or no?"

Mr Sunak replied: "Of course, I agree with the Prime Minister."

Ms Dodds warned that not undertaking a circuit-breaker now "could cost our economy £150 million" and asked the Chancellor if he had estimated the costs of not implementing harsher restrictions nationally.

Mr Sunak said: "It's very clear that the party opposite thinks we should have a rolling programme of national lockdowns.

"What I can tell her is that would be enormously damaging for people's jobs and livelihoods, causing unnecessary pain and suffering in parts of the country where the virus prevalence is low.

"Localised approach is the best approach."


When could a second national lockdown start?

No date has been mentioned for a possible second national lockdown as the government is keen to avoid one.

Telling The Sun he wanted to "stop the surge" and get a "grip" on the pandemic, Mr Johnson said: "Christmas we want to protect, and we want everyone to have a fantastic Christmas.

"But the only way to make sure the country is able to enjoy Christmas [without a second lockdown] is to be tough now."

Could there be a short 'circuit breaker' lockdown?

Scientists advising the Government want a two-week national lockdown over the October half-term to battle the Covid-19 surge.

And Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called for a   shutdown of up to three weeks.  

But, on October 19, Mr Johnson rejected a circuit breaker for England as it became the only part of the UK to stay fully open.

He maintains that a regional approach is better.

Experts have previously suggested an October lockdown during half term before the virus "breaks the NHS".

But the new three-tier system will attempt to curb cases instead, with those in areas with the highest rates of transmission placed in Tier Three, with most non-essential businesses closed and residents urged to stay at home.

How would a 'circuit break' lockdown work?

A possible short and sharp fortnight-long lockdown is among measures being considered by ministers to curb the escalation of infections, and ease pressure on the NHS.

Mr Johnson could implement a circuit breaker lockdown, in which pubs and restaurants would be closed, to give the nation “breathing space” in the battle against coronavirus.

Such a lockdown would likely include bans on socialising with other households, and ordering people not to use public transport unless it was essential.

However, it is highly unlikely that schools and workplaces would close at this point.

What are the latest restrictions in the UK?

Tougher restrictions are now in place across all four nations – with England the only country not under the toughest of measures.


  • A three-tiered lockdown system is now in place, with varying restrictions
  • Working from home is encouraged for those who can
  • Hospitality firms that remain open must offer table service only and comply with the 10pm curfew
  • Face coverings are mandatory on public transport and those in customer-facing jobs – unless exempt
  • The rule of six applies – where social gatherings of more than six people are against the law
  • Large sporting events, business conferences and exhibitions remain closed
  • Fines of up to £10,000 for people who fail to self-isolate

Downing Street said military support was an option to free up police so they can focus on enforcing the tougher rules.

Northern Ireland:

  • Northern Ireland is in the midst of a four-week circuit breaker lockdown with pubs and restaurants closed
  • The mini-lockdown began on Friday, October 16
  • Schools will reopen on November 2
  • Pubs and restaurants can provide takeaways or deliveries
  • Off-licences must close at 8pm
  • Shops are allowed to stay open, along with gyms for individual training
  • Churches can also remain open with a 25-guest limit on funerals and weddings
  • People are still able to meet up with people in their "social bubble" with a maximum of ten people
  • No one is allowed to stay overnight unless they are part of the bubble
  • The circuit breaker lockdown has been timed to fall over the half-term holiday, so kids in Northern Ireland only miss a week of lessons


Nicola Sturgeon has warned Scots the ban on households visiting is to stay in place indefinitely.

The First Minister also hinted on October 20 that tough new Covid-19 restrictions were on the cards from next week, including a ban on travelling to and from England.

A planned three-tier lockdown system will begin on November 2 if it's given the seal of approval by Holyrood MSPs.

If it's passed at the Scottish Parliament, it will come into force a week on Monday – in line with the UK Government's furlough scheme.

But Ms Sturgeon warned some areas may face stricter measures than those currently in force in the Central Belt.

Scotland's current coronavirus rules include:

  • Pubs and restaurants in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas have to remain shut until October 25
  • But, licensed premises can still serve takeaways
  • Cafes which don't serve booze can stay open until 6pm
  • Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes in the rest of Scotland are banned from serving alcohol indoors.
  • And, they can only open between 6am and 6pm for food and non-alcoholic drinks
  • Licensed premises away from the central belt can continue to serve booze outside until the 10pm curfew
  • Weddings and funerals are limited to a maximum of 20 people
  • You can meet people outside, in your garden or a public space, in groups of up six people from no more than 2 households
  • A maximum of six 12-17 year old can meet outdoors, with no household limit
  • A maximum of six people from two households (excluding kids under 12) can meet in public indoor spaces such as cafes, pubs and restaurants
  • Customers must wear a face covering in shops and other retail premises


A national “fire-break” lockdown has been announced in Wales to slow the spread of Covid-19.

Wales's full – but temporary – national fire-break lockdown is essentially the same as a circuit breaker measure.

All pubs and shops are being forced to shut from 6pm on Friday October 23 for two weeks.

People have been told to stay at home until November 9.

It means people in Wales will have to:

  • Follow strict stay at home orders
  • Pubs, restaurants and all non-essential retail will be closed
  • No meeting with anyone outside your household
  • No alcohol sales after 10pm
  • Leisure centres and services, including gyms, will have to close
  • Professional sports will be able to continue
  • Hairdressers and beauty services will have to close
  • No gatherings will be allowed outdoors including Halloween and fireworks on Bonfire night

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