Londoners plot their escape before England's new lockdown

‘Need to get out of London by TOMORROW’: People living in capital plot their escape before England’s new national lockdown comes into force

  • Londoners have reacted to news that England will enter a March-style lockdown 
  • Boris Johnson addressed the nation last night, telling them to stay at home again
  • Draconian rules will come into effect for a third time on Wednesday morning

People in the capital have said it’s ‘time to get out of London,’ after Boris Johnson plunged England into a draconian third lockdown since March.

Speaking to the nation from Downing Street last night, Mr Johnson said measures would likely stay in place for seven weeks – with schools and universities moving to online learning and vulnerable people told to shield.

The public will once again only be allowed to leave home for one of five reasons: to go to work if essential, shop for necessities, exercise – allowed with one other person from another household, care for someone, or to seek medical help.

The PM urged people to follow the guidance immediately, before the March-style measures come into effect on Wednesday.

Londoners said they were looking to get out of the city.

Boris Johnson last night announced England would enter a March-style lockdown which could last for at least seven weeks. Londoners have expressed plans to get out of the capital before the rules become law in the early hours of Wednesday morning

One Twitter user wrote last night: ‘Bro I need to get out of London by tomorrow, can’t be trapped here.’

Another wrote: ‘Well for me I’m still leaving London and running back to Coventry so I’ll do my Tier 5 up there.’ 

Others complained about the prospect of people travelling out of the city, which was living under Tier 4, along with swathes of the country, before last night’s announcement.

Londoners have suggested they may try and get out of the capital before lockdown officially begins on Wednesday. The Prime Minister has urged Brits to follow rules ‘immediately’

One wrote: ‘All those b***** ‘Londoners’ escaping to their London homes in the north.. heh f****** ‘Londoners’.’

Traffic on London’s roads is up by two per cent compared to 6am yesterday.

With his hands clasped together and seated behind a desk in Downing Street, Mr Johnson made clear there is no chance of them being lifted for at least seven weeks – and possibly longer if the vaccine rollout does not go well.

‘Our hospitals are under more pressure than at any time since the start of the pandemic. It’s clear we need to do more.. while our vaccines are rolled out,’ he said.

He said it would not be ‘possible or fair’ for exams to go ahead this summer as normal.

‘The weeks ahead will be the hardest but I really do believe that we are reaching the end of the struggle,’ he said, pledging that by mid-February the top four categories on the vaccine distribution list will have had their first jabs. 

There are 13.2million people in the top four groups on the vaccination list – care home residents and the over-80s, frontline healthcare workers, the over-70s and the clinically vulnerable. 

But the Prime Minister admitted that he could only give assurance that the situation will improve assuming that ‘our understanding of the virus does not change again’

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said the Government should have gone further by extending the rules on wearing face masks to cover busy outdoor areas and toughening up controls at the borders.

‘This announcement by the Government of a full national lockdown was inevitable,’ Mr Khan said.

‘It is unclear why it took Boris Johnson so long to reach this conclusion.’

No10 sources insist that the government wants to go back into a tiering system when the virus subsides and vaccinations make it possible.      

Labour leader Keir Starmer said the crackdown was ‘essential’ and his MPs will support them, effectively guaranteeing Parliament’s approval.

The new lockdown in England at a glance 

England will be put into a full national lockdown that will last until the February half term. 

According to the new rules:  

  • All primary and secondary schools will close with immediate effect
  • Classes will remain only for vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers. 
  • The plan is for them to reopen after the February half-term break.
  • A-Level and GCSE exams are unlikely to go ahead as planned in the summer.
  • Universities will also remain closed to students until mid-February.
  • Nurseries will remain fully open. 
  • The public should stay at home unless they need to leave for one of just five reasons: If they cannot work from home, shopping for necessities, exercise, to give care and for medical treatment or emergencies.
  • All non-essential retailers, hospitality and ‘personal care’ like hairdressers must close.
  • Restaurants and other eateries can continue to operate for takeaways and deliveries. 
  • But pubs will no longer be allowed to offer take-away alcohol sales. 
  • Children’s playgrounds will remain open. 
  • All indoor and outdoor sports venues, including golf courses, gyms, swimming pools and tennis courts must close, and team sports cannot take place, even outdoors. 
  • Elite sports like the Premier League can go on under their own schemes.

The guidance is for people who are fit and well. 

There is additional advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection. 

They should not attend work, school, college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home.  The guidance says you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

The rules for all people in England also state:  

  • You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
  • You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.
  • You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
  • Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Detailed guidance on the national lockdown:

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:

  • Work – you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home
  • Volunteering – you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • Essential activities – you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating
  • Education and childcare – you can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. 
  • Meeting others and care – you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people
  • Exercise – you can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble, limited to once per day, and not outside your local area 
  • Medical reasons – you can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Harm and compassionate visits – you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). 
  • You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment
  • Communal worship and life events – You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony.

There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

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