All the unanswered questions explained, from fishing to pantomimes

The new lockdown restrictions announced by the Prime Minister on Saturday will place the country back into national measures on Thursday, until at least December 2.

The guidelines address many aspects of life which will be prohibited under the new rules, but also leave many sectors and activities without clarity.

A more comprehensive version of the guidance is expected to be published this week, which should answer many questions about how the rules differ from the first national lockdown and local tier system.

Can I visit a relative in a care home?

Visits to care homes were banned during the first lockdown in March, as it became clear they had become hotspots for the spread of the disease. Visits to homes were only allowed in exceptional circumstances.

Under the Tier system, in Tiers 2 and 3 visits are only allowed in circumstances such as end-of-life care, and care home staff should facilitate visits over video call instead.

Similar rules are expected to apply under the new lockdown, although the Government says it will publish full guidance before the new rules take effect on Thursday.

Can I still use a childminder, and can children travel between parents’ houses?

Parents can continue to use childcare services where “reasonably necessary to enable parents to work”.

That includes childcare centres and in-home childminders.

There is also additional flexibility in the rules allowing parents and children to travel for childcare purposes, and childcare bubbles can be used to allow one other friend or relative to help, even if they are in a different household.

As under the original lockdown in March, children under the age of 18 are allowed to travel between their parents’ homes if they are separated, enabling both parents to see their children and split childcare duties.

The Government’s guidance says “most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period,” so informal childcare through clubs will not be allowed.

Who can come into my house?

The latest rules ban households from mixing, except in specific circumstances.

People in the same household can see each other indoors, plus anyone in the same support bubble. Support bubbles are formed of one household of any number of people, plus one other person who lives alone.

The rules permit people who work in other people’s homes to enter – including cleaners, carers and tradespeople. Most food delivery services are offering socially-distanced drop-offs, so drivers do not have to enter other households.

Overnight stays in another household are not allowed except for support bubbles, and nor is visiting second homes elsewhere in the UK.

Can I go to the optician, dentist or vet?

The Government has said opticians and dentists will remain open when the next lockdown begins.

A spokesman said “medically necessary care and treatment may continue,” including from mental health services.

In the first lockdown, routine procedures and check ups for optical and dental care were delayed, while emergency treatment was still allowed.

Dentists initially avoided conducting procedures that generated aerosols, although that restriction has since been lifted.

The Government has confirmed vets will be allowed to stay open after the new rules come into force, providing they follow Covid-secure guidelines.

Can I play sport outdoors? What about golf, tennis and fishing? 

All organised sport is banned under the new rules, including community events like Sunday league football. Golf courses and stables and riding centres are also closed, along with indoor spaces like leisure centres and gyms.

As in the first lockdown, two people from different households are allowed to meet outdoors to exercise together, such as by going for a run or playing with a football in a park.

The Lawn Tennis Association has said indoor tennis will cease, but it is “making the case to Government for outdoor tennis activity for two individuals from different households to continue”.

More guidance on outdoor tennis courts is expected this week.  

Angling, on your own, with members of your own household or with one other individual is allowed. 

People may exercise more than once per day, providing their exercise is within the rules and does not involve household mixing beyond the limited exceptions.

Do I have to shield again?

People who were told to formally shield during the first lockdown will be advised again that they should not leave their homes unnecessarily, as they are vulnerable to more serious effects from Covid-19.

But they will not be told to shield in the same way as they were in March – when vulnerable people were told not to leave their homes for any reason.

In addition, Boris Johnson has said people who are over 60 or who are clinically vulnerable should be especially careful mixing with other people in public spaces or in the workplace.

Professor Chris Whitty said there were “downsides” to the first shielding programme, including “significant problems with loneliness and feeling completely cut off from society”.

People who are most at risk will instead be told to minimise their contact with others as much as possible.

Can I meet relatives outside for a dog walk?

Yes, under the rules you may meet one other person from another household for exercise outdoors, including a dog walk.

People from the same household cannot go together to meet someone in another household, meaning the maximum number of people who can meet is always two, apart from people in the same support bubble.

Can I take my child with me to meet one other person outside? 

Nadine Dorries, a health minister, said children under school age who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside – so “a parent can see a friend or family member with their baby or young children”.

The exemption also applies to children and adults who are dependent on round-the-clock care, such as those with severe disabilities, she said.

However, households cannot mix in private gardens – they must meet in a public space such as a park.

Can I still go on holiday?

No, overnight stays outside of your home are not allowed, and nor is travelling to visit a second home.

The rules also apply to people planning to travel anywhere else in the UK, or abroad – so holidays in less risky countries are also not permitted.

People who are in the same support bubble may visit each other overnight, but the Government has advised people to bubble with nearby friends or relatives to prevent unnecessary travel and the spread of the virus between different regions of the UK.

There are exemptions on international travel and staying in hotels for people who must stay overnight to fulfil work, educational or caring responsibilities.

Can I still get married?

No, weddings are now banned at least until the new regulations are reviewed on December 2.

The restrictions apply regardless of whether the ceremony happens in a place of worship.

There are some very limited exceptions to the rules on weddings, which will be published today in a full version of the new laws.

Churches, mosques and other places of worship have been told to close apart from in specific circumstances such as funerals, broadcast sermons, individual prayer and formal childcare.

Can pantomime rehearsals still happen?

Under the latest guidance, theatres have been ordered to close again, along with concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries.

Experts have warned that if pantomime actors are banned from rehearsing for the next month, the shows will not be able to take place if the restrictions are lifted on December 2.

The Telegraph understands discussions between the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and theatre groups are ongoing, but the current regulations do give scope for people who cannot work from home – like actors – to go to their workplace.

A source said figures in Government are “pushing strongly” for rehearsals in the arts sector to be exempt since they cannot be conducted remotely.

Can I move house? 

Yes, renters and homeowners can move house. Removal firms and estate agents can also operate.

Covid safety guidelines should be followed, such as social distancing and wearing facemasks. 

The government has previously recommended that people do as much or their own packing as they can, and that house viewings are conducted virtually where possible. 

Can I attend my partner’s baby scan or birth?

Under the first coronavirus lockdown, partners of pregnant women were often not allowed to attend prenatal scans or births.

After backlash against the rules, which many said made difficult births harder for new parents, the NHS has been issued with guidance that partners should now be allowed to attend.

But the guidance released by the Government after Saturday evening’s announcement does not refer to the issue.

The Department of Health and Social Care would not confirm whether partners would be allowed to attend appointments but said further regulations on medical care will be published soon.

Can my children play sport?

The latest lockdown regulations say “most” youth clubs will be closed unless they have a formal childcare function, and grassroots outdoor sport for adults has already been banned.

No exceptions are expected to be granted for children’s sports clubs, such as Saturday football leagues, as they involve children mixing in large numbers.

But children can still exercise with others in their PE lessons at school.

An online petition has been created to lobby the Government to make a formal exception for under-18s sport.

Mark Ing, who started the campaign, said sport was “important for the kids’ health” and could be run without adult spectators.