Overnight stays away from home are permitted under the new third national lockdown but only in specific circumstances.
Boris Johnson told England to “stay at home” during his dour public address on Monday evening, with the heavy restrictions – similar to those introduced in March last year – to be reviewed next month.
The strict new measures are expected to last until at least mid February, with all schools shut again apart from for children of key workers.
Leaving home is only allowed if a person has a reasonable excuse to do so, such as exercise, food shopping or work where it’s not possible to do so at home, and this includes overnight stays.
Following the announcement, the Government released a 22-page guide to help people understand what they “can and cannot do”, including a sub section titled ‘Staying away from home overnight’.
The guidance explains people in England are permitted to leave home to visit their support bubble, which includes staying overnight with them.
However, it points out, when forming a support bubble “it is best if this is with a household who live locally”.
“This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected,” it adds.
A support bubble is where someone who lives alone – or just with their children – can meet people from one other household.
And while travelling to other countries for essential purposes, such as business, are exempt, holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.
This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence, and also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.
But you are allowed to stay overnight – aside from support bubbles – if you:
Are unable to return to your main residence
Need accommodation while moving house
Need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
Require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
Are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
Are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
Are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition
The guidance also explains that those who are already on holiday should return home as soon as practical.
While guest accommodation providers, such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law.
These include where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing.
A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.
Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with local authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups, including the homeless.
It comes as anyone travelling into the UK from abroad could be required to produce a negative coronavirus test as part of new tightened restrictions.
Ministers are understood to be mulling over toughening border controls ahead of a third national lockdown, though hauliers would be exempt, according to reports.
The negative result would need to have been obtained no more than 72 hours before departure, and a second test could then be required on arrival.
Yesterday saw the UK record a further 58,784 cases and 407 deaths, as the new variant of coronavirus caused a surge in infections.