New national Covid-19 restrictions in England

Another national lockdown came into effect in England  on Monday  4 January.

There’s a full explanation of the changes on the government website:


In essence, the three key restrictions will be:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Preventing gathering with people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Closing certain businesses and venues.


Outside the home

You will not be able to leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include:

  • for childcare or education, where this is not provided online
  • for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home (including if your job involves working in other people’s homes)
  • to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place – with the people you live with, with your support bubble or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household (children under school age, as well as those dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside).
  • for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm – such as domestic abuse
  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which should be as infrequent as possible
  • to visit members of your support bubble  or provide care for vulnerable people, or as a volunteer



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

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. The Government will write to everybody in this group to provide specific advice.


Advice for blind and partially sighted people

For blind and partially sighted people, existing support will continue to be available including:

  • Supermarket deliveries: Access to priority supermarket delivery slots: If you are blind and partially sighted, live in England, and have no local help from family or friends, you can now call the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 to be referred for a priority supermarket delivery slot.
  • NHS Volunteers: If you are currently not supported and need some help with shopping, a prescription collection or a friendly chat then NHS Volunteer Responders are ready to help: If you, or someone you know, would like to register for support from the volunteers please call 0808 196 3646 (8am to 8pm, 7 days a week).
  • Your local council: If you need further advice or support on access to local services, you should contact your local council who will be best placed to provide support and guidance.
  • Your local society for people with sight loss: You can find details of your local charity or support group on the Sightline Directory, by entering your postcode and the search words ‘local society’


We’ve come together with other sight loss sector organisations to share these FAQs which will be frequently updated:


If you would like to read more around shopping slots for blind and partially sighted people, street design and e-scooter guidance that has pushed ahead due to Covid-19 or our work around Access to Work or guidance for students, parents and carers –please visit our main Covid-19 page.  

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