We’re roughly a week into to what the cool kids are calling ‘Lockdown 3’ in England and there appears to be continuing confusion about what is allowed and what is, in fact, not allowed. Which is in itself confusing because everyone fully understood all of the rules during the last two lockdowns. Except for the rules that they didn’t understand. Of which there were a few.
However, it really is all very simple but if you are still having difficulty understanding the rules then hopefully this post will help you to finally catch up.
Stay at home
This is the key message really and the one that people need to stick to. You must stay home. It is the law. You can’t leave your house for any reason at all. Except for any of the numerous reasons that are permitted.
This one is really simple. If you must leave your house (which you mustn’t) then you must stay local. ‘Local’ is an easy word to understand and is not at all subject to different interpretations by different people so it should be really easy to stick to this one without any further definitions of the word. Although I might differentiate between what I consider my ‘local supermarket’ and what I consider my ‘local beach’. I live fairly inland so I will need to travel quite far to get to my local beach, but that would still be within the rules as I understand them. And a bit of coastal air is probably just the ticket in these troubled times.
Wear a mask
Obviously you shouldn’t be going anywhere, ever, at any time. Except when you are permitted. But when you are allowed to go to places, you should always wear a mask, without exception. Unless you are exempt. Whether you are exempt or not is a decision you can make for yourself. But you can be fined for not wearing a mask if you are not exempt, so it is really important to either wear a mask or to say that you are exempt if challenged.
Work from home
If you are lucky enough to still have a job then you must work from home. Unless you can’t. Then you can go to work. If the nature of your work means that you have to go to another person’s house then you’ll just have to do that. But wear a mask. Unless you don’t want to. If you haven’t been lucky enough to hold on to gainful employment then you are exempt from working from home. But you must still stay home. Unless you don’t want to.
Don’t meet up with anyone from outside your own household
Well you can, but only one other person. But you must wear masks unless you don’t want to and you must stay local, if you can establish an agreed definition of the word. You must also maintain social distancing protocols at all times, which may or may not be to stay apart at least 2 meters, but probably, in reality to stay apart 1 meter, unless you can’t or you don’t want to. Obviously this rule only applies to family or friends. If you are meeting colleagues or clients then you can meet with as many as you like and probably still do that indoors. With or without a mask as you see fit.
Schools are completely safe
But they are also not safe. This is because children can and also can’t get the virus. We think adults who work in schools probably can get the virus but they don’t really count. Anyway schools are closed so it doesn’t matter. But they are open to vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. If you feel that your child qualifies on those grounds then by all means send them into school. There is no need to produce any kind of evidence, it’s all a judgement call at the end of the day.
Above all else, use common sense
This is the most important rule of all. Although it isn’t an actual rule. There isn’t a law that says ‘you must use common sense’ but the law does imply quite heavily that you must use common sense, because without common sense, none of the rules would make any sense at all. If you’re not sure if you possess any ‘common sense’ I wrote some helpful guidance on that back in June. But a good rule of thumb is that the amount of common sense that you possess is inversely proportional to the amount of common sense that you believe you possess.
I hope that this guidance goes some way to clarify any points of confusion. But if you remain uncertain then prolific use of social media should see you though this and many other national emergencies moving forwards.