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North of England lockdown: what are the rules for Greater Manchester, Bradford and Blackburn?

Boris Johnson has ordered swathes of the north of England back into partial lockdown in a bid to stop a second wave of coronavirus. 

As many as four million people in Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire are now banned from meeting people from different households indoors.

The decision comes after Public Health England data showed coronavirus cases reaching worrying levels across the region. In the past week, there have been 69 cases per 100,000 in Blackburn with Darwen, which has now surpassed Leicester, where the infection rate has fallen to 50 cases per 100,000.

Effective from Friday, the new restrictions extend to Greater Manchester, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendleton, Rossendale, Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

Here are the rules as they apply in the affected areas:

Can I go and visit my family at home?

If they live in one of the affected areas, the answer is no. Two households are no longer permitted to meet at home or in a private garden, except where they have formed a support bubble. 

What if they want to visit me?

The same rule applies. Even if you live outside the lockdown zone, they are not allowed to come to your home. 

Could we still go to the pub or a restaurant together?

No. Under the new lockdown restrictions, pubs and restaurants will remain open but two households will no longer be allowed to mix indoors. The restriction extends to cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues. 

The relevant businesses have also been advised to monitor customers to make sure they are not interacting with other households. 

New laws are being implemented to enforce the changes, with police able to take action if people flout the ban on meeting in homes and gardens. They will have the power to break up gatherings and issue fines of up to £100, which will double for subsequent offences. 

So I cannot see my family or friends, then? 

Not quite. People living in the lockdown zones can still continue to meet in outdoor public spaces in groups of up to six people. They will still be required to socially distance

Can I go to work? 

There is no restriction on travelling to and from the office. 

Are any businesses closing? 

Yes, but only in specific locations. In Blackburn with Darwen, and in Bradford, indoor gyms, fitness and dance studies, sports courts, swimming pools and water parks will remain closed by law. 

Can we still celebrate Eid? 

Yes, although the rules mean people cannot meet indoors or host family and friends as you might normally. Instead, any gatherings will need to take place outdoors and be limited to groups of six, unless they are two households (in which case there is not a limit). 

People can also attend mosque, provided the venues are Covid-secure and they are observing social distancing. However, the Government is encouraging religious leaders to hold prayers and services outdoors. 

Can I still come out of shielding if considered clinically vulnerable?

Unfortunately not. The relaxations to shielding, due to commence on August 1, have been suspended for the areas within the new lockdown zones.

Should I cancel my wedding? 

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are still permitted, with up to 30 people able to attend. However, large receptions or parties afterwards should not go ahead. People can also travel in and out of lockdown zones to attend weddings. 

Funerals of the same size can also take place. 

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