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Stay at Home 2021: The new rules

On 4 January 2021, the Prime Minister announced that the United Kingdom would once again, enter a national lockdown and instructed people to stay at home to control the virus, protect the NHS and save lives.

The Government has requested that everyone should follow the new rules from now and confirmed that they will become law from 00:01 on Wednesday 6 January 2021.

The New Rules

The National Lockdown means that people should not leave or be outside of their homes except where absolutely necessary. People are allowed to leave their homes to:

  • Shop for basic necessities for themselves or a vulnerable person;
  • If they cannot reasonably do so from home, go to work or provide voluntary or charitable services;
  • Exercise (with their household or support bubble or one other person). Exercise should be limited to once per day and you should not leave your local area to do so;
  • Meet with their support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary and legally permitted;
  • Get a COVID-19 test or seek medical assistance or to avoid injury, illness, risk of harm or domestic abuse;
  • Be with someone who is giving birth, dying or someone in a care home if permitted;
  • Attend veterinary services for advice or treatment or for other animal welfare reasons;
  • Attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a wedding ceremony, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden. These events are all subject to strict limits on numbers that can attend and weddings / civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances;
  • To fulfil legal obligations (which includes voting in an election or referendum) or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property; and
  • Attend education or childcare for those eligible.

If you do need to leave your home for any of the permitted reasons above, you are advised to stay local if you can. Leaving your local area to attend work is allowed.

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with.

Following 00:01 Wednesday 6 January 2021, the police can take action against those who leave their home without a ‘reasonable excuse’ and issue a fixed penalty notice.

The fixed penalty notice will be £200 for a first offence and will double for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold or are involved in holding an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.


Schools (primary, secondary and colleges) will remain open but only for vulnerable children and children of critical workers to attend face to face. All other students will be required to attend their classes remotely until the February half term.

Early Years schools will remain open.


The Government have requested that those who are clinically extremely vulnerable should be shielding and should only leave their home for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. People who are shielding should not attend work.

Businesses and venues

Some businesses will be required to close such as non-essential retail, hospitality venues, accommodation, leisure and sports facilities, entertainment venues, indoor attractions, personal care facilities and communities.

If you have any questions on how the new National Lockdown rules will effect you or your business, please email or call our Employment Law team today on 0113 207 0000.


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Paul Kelly

Partner and Head of Employment
Employment Law
0113 227 9249
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Paul Kelly Blacks Solicitors LLP