In the final day before the lockdown there were queues outside stores as some packed in some last-minute shopping.
Meanwhile, it’s been confirmed that extremely vulnerable people in England are being strongly advised not to go to work outside their homes during this period.
All pupils and teachers at secondary schools in England must wear face masks in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus, it has been announced.
Under fresh government guidance issued on Wednesday, staff and students in Year 7 and above have been told to wear face coverings in school communal spaces – outside of classrooms – where social distancing cannot be maintained.
The guidance has been issued ahead of England’s new lockdown, which will come into force from midnight after MPs approved the shutdown in a House of Commons vote.
Schools have been given until Monday to implement the new guidance.
Primary school children will not need to wear face coverings, while those older children with special educational needs or disabilities may also be exempt.q
It will also remain at the discretion of primary schools as to whether staff and visitors should wear face coverings in communal spaces.
Face coverings had already been required for secondary school pupils within areas under Tier 2 and Tier 3 restrictions in England, with those local restrictions now to be replaced by the national measures.
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “We must put the interests of our children and young people first, especially when the benefits of being in the classroom are clear.
“Children are settled back into their routines and schools have protective measures in place keep their staff and pupils as safe as possible.
“Education is a national priority and we cannot allow it to be disrupted again.”
Children and staff at secondary schools in Scotland must already wear masks when walking between lessons or in communal areas.q
Care homes must provide a Covid-secure environment – such as floor-to-ceiling screens or visiting pods – to allow families to visit loved-ones during England’s lockdown, the government says.
But Kate Lee, chief executive at Alzheimer’s Society, says the proposed “prison-style screens” with people speaking through phones are “frankly ridiculous when you consider someone with advanced dementia can often be bed-bound and struggling to speak”. Meanwhile, schools have also been given updated guidance that says pupils and teachers must now wear masks in all communal areas.
Head teachers expressed anger that the directive was given to them less than 24 hours before the second lockdown begins