Great Britain

North-East Covid lockdown: YOUR questions answered

IT is the first day of coronavirus lockdown restrictions in parts of the North-East - and hundreds of you have been asking what it means for you.

From today, it is against the law to meet two other households in indoor and outdoor settings in private homes, and gardens, unless in a support bubble.

It is also strongly advised that people living in lockdown areas do not meet other households, inside or outside, in public places while restrictions are in place.

LIVE UPDATES on the first day of new North-East lockdown rules

This all applies to County Durham, Northumberland, Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, North Tyneside and South Tyneside. 

But The Northern Echo has had hundreds of questions from residents, who have been left perplexed by the wave of new guidance, rules and information.

We've picked out the best questions and have looked through the guidance to provide you with answers.

Rachel Forster asked if grandparents could still look after children during the local lockdown restrictions?

- According to Durham County Council joint-guidance, a grandparent can look after your child but only if they are in your support bubble.

But there are strict rules on who can have a support bubble - a single-adult household can mix with another household. 

This means two grandparents living together would be able to look after your children, but only if you lived on your own.

But if you lived with a partner, and both of your grandparents lived together, then you'd be unable to mix households - meaning they wouldn't be allowed to look after your children. 

You ARE still allowed to employ a person providing childcare, and they are ALLOWED to enter your home under restrictions. 

Karen Capenhurst asked if a single household could still stay in a hotel in an area that does not have lockdown restrictions?

- Yes, you can still go on holiday within the UK (even in non-lockdown areas), but the guidance strongly advises you to do this with your own household.

There are no rules to suggest you cannot continue with planned holidays, but again as long as this only includes your household, or support bubble.

Audrey Richardson asked if children are still allowed to walk to school with their friends?

- It appears that there is no rule or guidance preventing this. Although Secondary Schools in local lockdown restrictions have to advise children and staff to wear face coverings in communal areas and corridors. 

Joanne Harper asked why is Darlington is exempt from the lockdown restrictions?

Despite historically being in County Durham, Darlington has its own local authority - Darlington Borough Council.

The local lockdown restrictions were brought in as a result of seven councils asking the Government for lockdown restrictions earlier this week.

Darlington Borough Council was not part of this, and so the town remains unaffected by the change.

Julie Parkinson asked which areas of County Durham are included under new restrictions.

- Every area served by Durham County Council is affected by the new rules - again, this excludes areas historically part of County Durham such as Billingham, Darlington and Hartlepool. 

Andrew Scott, who has a holiday booked, asked if can still travel to a country abroad? 

- Like going on holiday in the UK, the guidance from Durham County Council says this is permitted.

But again, this should only be done with people you live with or have formed a support bubble with. 

Lauren Hutchinson asked if parks in affected areas would have to close from today?

- The latest guidance only applies to rules on households, pubs and leisure venues, which restricts what households can do.

The guidance does not suggest the closure of parks, pubs, restaurants and cafes - unlike what we saw during the full national lockdown in March. 

Lyndsey Wilson asked if she can continue to car share to her place of work?

- The guidance states that residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work.

You are therefore not advised to car share with those outside your household or support bubble, and use public transport for essential journeys instead. 

More coverage on the local lockdown rules

Can I see family and friends affected by North-East lockdown restrictions?

What you CAN and CANNOT do under new local lockdown rules in the North-East​

Why some parts of the North-East will be in lockdown and others won't​

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