It’s official: as of 00:01 this morning, England has entered a second national lockdown.
Until at least 2 December, new restrictions have come into place to curb the spread of coronavirus, with cases rising up and down the country.
Understandably, a lot of us are feeling pretty rubbish about it. In a way, it feels like we’re going back to stage zero – and with the autumnal weather making it harder to get outside and enjoy some much-needed exercise, many people are afraid of the impact this second lockdown will have on their mental and physical health.
However, it’s not all bad news. Although there are similarities between the new lockdown and the one we experienced back in March, there are also a number of key differences making life under lockdown 2.0 that little bit easier.
So, how will the second lockdown differ from the first, and what can we expect over the next month? Stylist takes a look.
One of the biggest differences between this lockdown and the first one we experienced at the beginning of the year is the fact that we’re allowed to meet with one person from outside our household.
As per the new rules, you’re allowed to exercise or meet in public with either the people you live with, your support bubble, or one other person from outside your household.
This means you can meet in an outdoor public place – such as a park, beach or outdoor playground – with a friend, as long as you stay two metres apart. And because children under five aren’t counted in the number of people allowed to meet, two people with young children are allowed to meet up outside and have a natter, for example.
At the moment, we’re still not allowed to socialise in private gardens, but this may change when restrictions are (hopefully) lifted in December.
A particularly crucial difference between the two lockdowns is that under the latest restrictions, schools, colleges, universities, nurseries and other childcare facilities will remain open, so no homeschooling this time around.
Although the general message is still to work from home where you can effectively do so, those who are unable to – including people who work in construction or manufacturing, for example – will now be permitted to continue to travel to work, to limit the amount of disruption the second lockdown causes to workers.
People who work in other people’s homes – such as nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – will also be able to do so.
There are no restrictions placed on the number of times we can go outside to exercise during this lockdown, so embracing the outdoors (whatever the weather) is a great way to limit the negative effects of having to stay home so much.
While the government guidance says that we’re also able to travel to exercise outdoors (such as driving to a nearby park or outdoor area, for example), they ask that people exercise locally wherever possible.
Much to the delight of those who found themselves cut short while socialising outside during the first lockdown, the government has said that public toilets, among other public venues, are allowed to stay open during the second lockdown.
While the majority of businesses and venues are being forced to close (including non-essential retail, pubs, restaurants, gyms and leisure facilities), there are a number of extra places which are allowed to stay open, such as public playgrounds and garden centres.
Non-essential shops are also allowed to stay open for click and collect services this time around, as are restaurants for takeaways. However, rules over takeaways have tightened since the first lockdown – takeaway alcohol will no longer be permitted.
Although closed to most forms of communal gathering, places of worship will also be allowed to stay open for individual prayer, unlike during the first lockdown.
With the autumnal weather and dark evenings making it harder to get outside this time around, many people may find the second lockdown has a negative impact on their mental health.
There’s also much less of a ‘community spirit’ this time around – there are no claps on a Thursday (that we know of), and most of us are well over Zoom quizzes by now – so it’s likely that more of us might struggle with feelings of isolation.
However, there are things we can do to counter these negative impacts, including prioritising staying active and getting outside (during a lunch break is a pretty good time) and reaching out to friends and family wherever possible.
It might also be a good idea to get into a ‘lockdown routine’ to help you make the most of your time at home.
For more information on looking after your mental health during a second lockdown, you can check out our guide.