Last night (4th January 2021), the Prime Minister announced England will go into immediate lockdown, with the tightest restrictions in place since March last year. This is because of the recent rapid rise in cases, thought to be caused in part by the new coronavirus variant, which spreads more easily.

With Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland also following tighter restrictions, a nation-wide lockdown is now in place. You can find the full list of restrictions for the four nations here

Here are the key rules you should know and follow as a nurse or carer. 

Lockdown III: key rules care home staff should know

• As a nurse or carer, you are a key worker and should continue to go to work. 

• Others who are not key workers must now work from home.

• In care homes, visits are allowed behind screens, in visiting pods or behind windows

• Indoor visits in care homes are not allowed

• All care home visits will be suspended in the event of an outbreak

Our advice for staying protected in care homes

Continue to follow the existing guidelines while working in care homes, as well as in your daily life, to help protect against transmission and infection. 

1. Get the vaccine as soon as you are able - latest guidelines for how to receive the vaccine are here

2. Get regularly tested until you can get the vaccine - follow the guidelines for accessing testing here

3. Always wear a face mask in care homes - more advice around this here

4. Wear the correct PPE in care homes - guidance found here

5. Follow infection control guidelines in care homes - our full advice is here

Lockdown III: other rules you should know

England

Stay at home

• Outside of going to work, you should stay at home unless you have a "reasonable excuse" ie you are working in a care home.

• You can leave your house to buy food, collect essential supplies, attend medical appointments or get a coronavirus test, meet people as part of a support bubble, exercise once a day, provide care or to escape harm

• Overnight stays are not allowed outside of a support bubble

• You can leave your home to exercise outdoors once a day, with up to one other person from outside your household, but this should be within your local area

• Indoor and outdoor gyms are closed, including leisure centres, sports courts, swimming pools and golf courses

• You can leave home to offer voluntary or charitable services

• Communal worship is allowed but you must not mix with people outside your household or support bubble

• These rules are being enforced by law, so you can be fined £200 if you break them, doubling to a maximum of £6,400

Support bubbles and childcare

• Adults living alone can still form support bubbles with another household

• If you live with children under 14 you can form a childcare bubble to allow one other household to provide informal childcare

• Divorced or separated parents can continue to share the care of their children

Education

• From 5 January all colleges, primary and secondary schools will move to remote working until February half-term

• Vulnerable children and those whose parents are key workers can continue going to school

• University students will not be able to return to campus, but learning can take place remotely

• In-person tuition can continue for a small number of practical courses such as medicine, nursing, social work and education

• Exams will "not go ahead as planned this year"

• Nurseries and childminders can remain open

Shielding

• Those who previously shielded should not leave home apart from for exercise and medical appointments

• Extremely clinically vulnerable should not work if unable to do so from home

• They should also avoid crowded spaces

Travel

• You must not travel anywhere unless you have a "reasonable excuse"

• If you need to travel you must stay local and only leave home for essential purposes

• You can only travel abroad if you are legally permitted to do so, for example for work purposes

• If you are already on holiday, you should return home as soon as possible

Hospitality

• All pubs, restaurants, cafes and bars closed

• They are allowed to serve takeaway food and drink until 11pm

• Takeaway or click and collect alcohol is no longer permitted

Scotland

Mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye is now in lockdown.

Schools will remain closed until 1 February, with pupils learning remotely from 11 January when the extended Christmas holidays end.

The other new rules are:

• Stay at home and only leave for an essential purpose, i.e. for caring responsibilities such as working as a nurse or carer in a care home; or essential shopping

• If you are shielding and you cannot work from home, it is advised that you do not work at all

• Frequency of outdoor exercise is not being limited

• Only two people from two households can meet outdoors. Children under 11 do not count

• No one is allowed to travel into or out of Scotland unless it is for an essential purpose

Wales

All of Wales has been under Level 4 restrictions since 28 December.

Welsh schools and colleges will not open until 18 January, but no other changes to the rules have been announced.

See the current restrictions here

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland has been subject to a six-week lockdown since 26 December.

See the current rules here

Here to help

We’re always here to provide the latest guidance and help you find work in your area - if you have any questions at all, please get in touch. Simply speak to your account manager directly, call us on 020 3911 2555 or email [email protected], and we’ll do our best to help you.

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