As we enter a third national lockdown, the Government is once again urging people to stringently follow social distancing rules.

As hospital services became overwhelmed near the end of last year, and with the emergence of a new Covid strain, the decision was made to plunge the UK back into strict measures to tackle rising infection rates.

The first lockdown was announced in March 23, 2020 and eased in the summer months where a new tier system was introduced in autumn.

However, due to rising cases, a smaller second lockdown was announced on November 5 for four weeks to curb a rise in rates.

This month, we come to a third national lockdown and the rules for this are still similar to the previous ones.

Essex Police can still take action against you if you breach Covid restrictions.

This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing Fixed Penalty Notices.

You can be given a fine of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of more than 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

As well as adhering to the two-metre distance rule if outside, residents must not leave, or be outside of their homes except where necessary.

Exceptions to this rule are:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • Going to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home Exercising with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area
  • Meeting your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • Seeking medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm including domestic abuse
  • Attending education or childcare - for those eligible

It is recommended that, if you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

The public are also able to report any suspected breaches of Covid rules to the police.

Situations include self-isolation breaches, frauds or scams, gatherings, lack of face coverings, and more.

To report, visit Essex Police’s website.