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These are the new coronavirus lockdown rules coming in to force

The country will begin its second national lockdown today.

Pubs, restaurants, leisure and spa facilities will all be closed and you won't be able to take part in some of your favourite sports either.

A new national lockdown starts today
A new national lockdown starts today

The news was announced on Saturday by Prime Minister Boris Johnson , confirming speculation about the national restrictions which began when the Times previewed its front page on Friday evening.

It came as a huge blow to local businesses who will miss out on the busy run up to Christmas. The owner of one bookshop in Tonbridge has called on people to shop locally to help independent businesses survive.

And pub owners in Kent have called the decision to ban pubs selling takeaway alcohol nonsensical - although a u-turn days later seems to have addressed that issue.

Here are the key points.

When will the lockdown be in force?

The new national lockdown came in to force at one minute pas midnight and will run until Wednesday, December 2.

The lockdown will then be eased on a regional basis according to the latest coronavirus case data at that time.

Can I leave my home?

Yes but only for specific reasons such as education, work if you cannot work from home and for exercise, which you can take as many times a day as you wish.

People can also leave for recreation with their own household, or on their own with one person from another household (a ‘one plus one’ rule).

Examples of recreation include meeting up with a friend in the park for a walk or to sit on a bench and eat a sandwich. People will not be allowed to meet in homes and gardens, and golf clubs will remain shut.

People can also leave home to shop for food and essentials and to provide care for vulnerable people or as a volunteer.

Attending medical appointments is also allowed or to escape injury or harm (such as for people suffering domestic abuse).

Support bubbles will remain in place and people can still meet up in their bubble.

Children can move between the homes of their parents if their parents are separated.

What will close?

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed.

Click and collect can continue and essential shops such as supermarkets will remain open.

Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery and takeaway services. Takeaway alcohol will be allowed following a u-turn.

Hairdressers and beauty salons will close, as will barbers. Except for one in Kings Hill who has refused to do so.

Premier League football will continue.

Cases of the coronavirus have soared
Cases of the coronavirus have soared

What if I shielded last time?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said people over 60 and those who are clinically vulnerable are being told to be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise their contact with others.

Anyone who was formally notified that they should shield last time and not go out to work will be advised not to go out to work this time.

However, formal shielding as happened during the March and April lockdown – where people were told not to leave home for any reason – will not be brought in.

Should my children go to school or to the childminder? Can they go to a playground?

Yes, schools, colleges and universities will all remain open.

Childminders and nurseries will stay open and childcare bubbles, where for example a grandparent provides childcare while a parent works, will be able to continue.

After-school clubs and sports clubs will be suspended until December 2 but some are staying open if they provide childcare and help parents work. It will be decided on a case by case basis.

Playgrounds and parks will remain open.

Can I go on holiday?

No, you are advised not to travel unless for essential reasons. People can travel for work.

Those who are already on holiday will be able to return to the UK.

Is there a furlough scheme?

Yes, furlough will be payable at 80% for the duration of the package of tougher national measures.

Can I go to church?

Churches will remain open for private prayer.

Funerals are limited to close family members only. It is currently unclear what the rules are for weddings.

Read more: All the latest news from Kent

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