'Stay at home' says PM as South East enters second national lockdown

ITV News Meridian's Mike Pearse reports on the first day of the second lockdown

The South East has joined the rest of England in the second national lockdown, with the government urging people to 'stay at home'.

Boris Johnson is hoping the strict lockdown will bring the infection rate of Covid-19 down far enough that he can reopen the economy ahead of Christmas.

The prime minister said he was forced to implement the lockdown to avoid the NHS becoming overwhelmed, which he said could result in thousands of deaths a day.

As with the first lockdown, all non-essential shops, hospitality, leisure and entertainment venues have closed.

All indoor cross-household socialising is banned and people can only meet outdoors with a maximum of one person from another household.

What do the new rules mean?

  • People should only go outdoors for work - if they cannot work from home - education, exercise, recreation, all medical reasons, appointments and to escape injury or harm.

  • People are also allowed to provide care for vulnerable people and shop for essentials.

  • Schools and nurseries are open and parents are advised that children should continue attending, due to evidence that youngsters are low risk.

  • Colleges and universities are also staying open, however many may convert to virtual learning to keep down social contacts.

On Wednesday night (4 November), hundreds were out in Brighton to make the most of the evening, before lockdown commenced.

Many gathered in Brighton on the night before the second national lockdown.

Meanwhile shoppers were out late in Winchester, with many buying Christmas presents at shops due to close.

Winchester before second national lockdown. Credit: ITV Meridian
The streets of Winchester were much quieter on the first day of the second lockdown. Credit: ITV Meridian

One market trader in the city told ITV Meridian he believed the lockdown would extend beyond the beginning of December.

He said: "I don't think it's going to be until the 2 December, I think it's going to be after Christmas. It's bad for everyone. Not just market traders, it's bad for retail, it's bad for everybody."

Elsewhere a barber in Kent has refused to close his business and follow the new lockdown rules.

Kings Hill barbers in West Malling is owned by Met Warwick, who says he's not breaking any laws and insists he has to earn a living. Since announcing his intention to stay open he said he's been given thousands of messages of support.

Met says: "If children can go to school but can't play football at the weekends, there's something wrong. If I can go into a supermarket with two, three hundred people, but I can't cut one person's hair, there's something wrong. If people can't play tennis there's something wrong. So, none of this makes any sense."