National lockdown exemptions: Who can you meet up with and when?

BORIS Johnson announced a third national lockdown last night – which is set to be in place for at least six weeks.

But despite the tough restrictions, there are still some ways to meet up with people in non-social settings.

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Last night, Boris Johnson ordered everyone in England to stay at home until mid-February as he launched an emergency shutdown to try and save Britain's NHS.

In a dramatic escalation in the fight against Covid, the PM ordered the closure of all schools and non-essential shops for at least the next six weeks.

The PM urged Brits to follow the third nationwide lockdown immediately, and once again put Brits under effective house arrest – resurrecting the 'Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives slogan'.

And it was the new variant – which is between 50 and 70 per cent more transmissible – which has forced him to act.

For the coming weeks, you are not allowed to meet up with anyone socially if you do not live with them, or if they aren't in your bubble.

But while we are in lockdown, there are still opportunities to meet up with people outside of your household – while, of course, keeping your distance.


Under the new restrictions, you are allowed to exercise with your household (or support bubble) OR one other person.

This means you and someone from not of your household can exercise together outdoors – once a day.

Exercise should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary.

Support bubble

If you live on your own, you are able to form a support bubble with another household of any size.

You can also form a bubble if:

  • you are the only adult in your household who does not need continuous care as a result of a disability
  • your household includes a child who is under the age of one
  • your household includes a child with a disability who requires continuous care and is under the age of 5
  • you are aged 16 or 17 living with others of the same age and without any adults
  • you are a single adult living with one or more children who are under the age of 18 

Childcare bubble

A childcare bubble is where one household links with one other household to provide informal childcare to anyone under 14.

You can only have one childcare bubble with one other household – but being in this type of arrangement doesn't stop you from forming a support bubble.

Birth parents and children in care

Despite the lockdown, you can still leave your home to facilitate contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care.

Prospective adopting parents

If you are going through the adoption process, you are still able to meet with the child or children who may be placed with you.


During the lockdown, you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work – as well as people in construction or manufacturing.

So this means that if you do have to go to work, you will be able to see your colleagues.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so.

Essential shopping

You are allowed to leave your home to buy essential items at shops – including food and medicine.

You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.

However, you are not allowed to meet up with people – but you will be able to see shop assistants, store workers and pharmacists if you leave your home for this reason.


You can leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services – so you can still see other people in this situation, if it applies to you.

If you are helping at blood donation sessions or food banks, you can also leave your home and come into contact with people – while of course keeping your distance.

Visiting someone giving birth or dying

You can leave your home to be with someone who is giving birth, and also to visit someone who is dying.

It's also possible to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment.


You are allowed to leave your 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.

You are not allowed to mingle with anyone outside of your household – and you must keep your distance.

There is a maximum of up to 30 people allowed at a funeral, but wakes and other linked events can only continue in a group of 6 people.


Wedding ceremonies can still go ahead during the lockdown – but there is a limit on the number of people.

The ceremonies are only allowed to happen in exceptional circumstances, and only for up to 6 people.

The Government has classed an urgent marriage as one where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

Viewing and moving house

Under the new guidelines, you can leave your house to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Personal trainer

You are still allowed to meet with your personal trainer during the lockdown.

But you should meet in a public outdoor space, rather than inside or in a private garden.

And you must keep socially distant from them at all times.

Attending jury service

During the lockdown, you can still leave your home to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service.

Care home visits

During the lockdown, you are still able to make a visit to a care home.

Special arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows, must be adhered to.

Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed – and no visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

Elite sportspeople

If you are an elite sportsperson, you are still allowed to complete and train with team members, if you have them.

Therapy or support groups

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants.

They must be formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.

The UK recorded 58,784 Covid cases yesterday- its highest ever daily figure – as new infections passed the 50,000 mark for the seventh day in a row.

Cases have remained high for a week now as hospitals struggle to cope with patient numbers – with 407 new deaths yesterday.


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