FAQs: New National Restrictions

New National Restrictions have been applied to England from Thursday 5th of November until Wednesday 2nd of December. These restrictions are in accordance with the government’s response to coronavirus.

What level of alert is Doncaster currently in?

Doncaster is under National Restrictions applied by the government to England from Thursday 5th of November until Wednesday 2nd of December. Doncaster will return to VERY HIGH (Tier 3) level restrictions from Wednesday 2 December.

What does this mean?

This means new, tighter restrictions are now in place to try and ensure we slow the spread of the virus as much as possible locally: 

At a minimum, this means:
  • You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue

  • pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal

  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport
  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere

In addition, the following businesses will not be allowed to open in South Yorkshire:

  • casinos
  • adult gaming centres
  • betting shops
  • soft play centres and areas
You must:
You should continue to:
  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but aim to reduce the number of journeys you make

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include:

  • All non-essential retail. However, Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities.
  • Entertainment venues.
  • Personal care facilities.
  • Hospitality venues e.g. bars and pubs. They can still provide delivery and takeaway services however, takeaway of alcohol is not allowed.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

Some venues will be allowed to remain open for specific exempt activities, like childcare and support groups. Support groups that are essential to deliver in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people with long-term illnesses, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.

You should not change who is in your bubble. Find out more information on support bubbles.

How long will the new national restrictions be in place?

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to Wednesday 2 December. The government have announced that Doncaster will then return to VERY HIGH (Tier 3) level restrictions from Wednesday 2 December.

View the latest coronavirus rates for Doncaster.

Are local pubs and restaurants still open?

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services.

Are shops still open?

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close. These include: 

  • All non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons. 

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential goods and services can remain open. Essential retail should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. 

Non-essential retail can remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.

Are schools/universities still open?

Schools, Colleges and Universities will remain open throughout the new national restrictions. Schools should continue to implement a range of measures in order to make them safe for pupils.

If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas.

Are gyms and leisure facilities still open?

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks must close.

Can weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals still go ahead?

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, and it is advised that only close friends and family attend. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not included. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. 

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances. 

Places of Worship will be closed, unless they are being used for:

  • Funerals
  • To broadcast acts of worship
  • Individual prayer
  • Formal childcare or where part of a school
  • Essential voluntary and public services, such as blood donation or food banks
  • Other exempted activities such as some support groups

Are any council services closed?

Other than weddings services (Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except in exceptional circumstances according to government guidance), the Tourist Information Centre and Taxi Driver Assessments, all of our council services will remain open. This includes: 

  • All HWRC sites
  • Bin collections (reminder that green bin collections are now postponed until Spring 2021)
  • Registrars including births
  • One Stop Shop/Customer Services
  • Libraries will remain open to provide access to IT and digital services (for people who do not have it at home) and for click-and-collect.

However, please be aware that some of our services may take a little longer than normal to respond to.

What do I do if I start experiencing coronavirus symptoms?

If you start to experience coronavirus symptoms, it is important that you get a test. Visit www.nhs.uk/coronavirus or call 119 to book a test.

What happens if I do not follow the new restrictions?

Both Doncaster Council and South Yorkshire Police have been granted additional powers to take action against those who break the restrictions.

The police can now ask groups of people to disperse and can issue up to a maximum fine of £6,400 for participating in illegal gatherings. If you hold or are involved in holding an illegal gathering, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Report a breach of COVID-19 Guidance to South Yorkshire Police

For concerns about business compliance email Regulation&Enforcement@doncaster.gov.uk or use the link above.

Can I still visit a care home?

Please speak with the care home directly to find out their approach to visitors and keeping people safe during the pandemic.

Can I travel outside of my local area?

You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including:

  • Travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
  • Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
  • Hospital GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • Visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
  • Exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so

If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

You must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace. 

If you need to use public transport - to travel to work for example - you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face masks and advice on car sharing.

Can I still go on holiday?

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed. This includes holidays abroad and in the UK. It also means you cannot stay in a second home, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. There are specific exceptions, for example if you need to stay away from home (including in a second home) for work purposes, but this means people cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. 

For those planning to travel into England, you should check the current travel corridor list to see whether you need to isolate for 14 days. You will still be required to abide by the restrictions set out here even if you do not need to isolate. If you do need to travel overseas from England before 2 December (and are legally permitted to do so, for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. 

British nationals currently abroad do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

Can I have tradespeople and mobile hairdressers in my home?

Tradespeople can continue to work in homes. However, personal care facilities such as mobile hairdressing cannot be provided.

Can I still use a dog walker and other animal related business queries?

Dog walkers can continue to operate and priority should be given to key workers, and vulnerable people who are unable to make alternative safe arrangements for their dog. Dogs from coronavirus infected or self-isolating households may be walked but if doing so they must be walked after dogs from all other households.

The Canine and Feline Sector Group website provides the latest guidance and advice for animal related businesses. 

Can I move home or do house viewings?

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.

Can grandparents/family members/friends still provide childcare?

The following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:
  • registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • people in your support bubble
  • people in your childcare bubble
A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same 2 households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.

I don't live with any family or friends and I feel isolated. Can I get any support? 

Please remember that you can exercise with 1 other person you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in certain outdoor public spaces, such as:

  • parks, beaches, countryside, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities, and playgrounds

You can also consider forming a support bubble with one household if your household consists of one adult. A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

Also there are telephone or digital ways to keep in touch with your existing support system or even to make new social connections.

Find out more tips on mental health and wellbeing.

What is the guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You:

  • Should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • Aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions)
  • Under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
  • Chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
  • Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
  • Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
  • Diabetes
  • A weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
  • Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • Pregnant

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. Over this period, we are advising the CEV to work from home. If you cannot work from home, you are advised not to go to work and may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible, but are encouraged to go outside for exercise.

The Government has today (26 November) updated the guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable from coronavirus, in line with the local restriction tier system that will be in place in England from 2 December. Please see the following government guidance on shielding and protecting people defined on medical grounds as extremely vulnerable .

Are local practices still open and can I be seen face to face for an appointment?

Doncaster local practices are open and have been open throughout the pandemic. Many practices have adapted their consultation process to keep staff and patients safe from the spread of coronavirus by offering telephone and video appointments. However, if you need to be seen by a health professional for a clinical need, you will be offered a face to face appointment if necessary.

During the winter, local practices can be very busy and you may have to wait on hold longer than usual to speak with a care navigator. We’re asking all callers to please be patient and understand that the triaging process takes a little longer as practices adapt to the pandemic. Don’t forget, you may be able to book appointments online so make sure you are registered for online services with your practice and it may help you save time.

If you can’t get an appointment to suit with your local practice, there are many health services across Doncaster to help you with health advice or treatment. For more information on what services are available please visit www.BeWinterWell.co.uk.

Are libraries open?

Under the national restrictions, public libraries will be enabled to continue to offer some of their services. The decision as to whether permitted services can or will be provided by each library authority is for the local council to take, having undertaken appropriate risk assessments on the safety of both users and people working in libraries

The regulations mean that:

  • Library buildings will be closed for general use / browsing of bookshelves
  • Library services will continue to be allowed to provide services in digital / virtual form (e.g. e-lending, online rhyme times)
  • Order and collect service and Home Library Services (on a no- or low- contact basis) will be permitted
  • Strictly managed access to public PCs in library buildings to assist and combat digital exclusion regarding issues such as job applications, benefit claims, other public services will be permitted
  • School Library Services will be allowed to supply schools with material to support their educational activities
  • COVID-secure library buildings will potentially be able to host the running of support groups (for example, mental health support)
  • Libraries will be enabled to deliver critical government services where contracted to do so (e.g. visa checking service for the Home Office).

Libraries Connected have published guidance to support library services in applying the new regulations.

What is the new Christmas bubble guidance?

The government is changing some social contact restrictions for over the Christmas period between 23 and 27 December. When following these new rules, we must each continue to take personal responsibility to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. For many, this will mean that it isn’t possible to celebrate Christmas in the way you normally would. Please read the following government guidance: Making a Christmas bubble with family and friends

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Last updated: 27 November 2020 12:53:07