IT'S a familiar feeling as we enter a new national lockdown for at least four weeks from today.

But the rules are slightly different this time around, with schools and workplaces allowed to stay open and more exemptions for leaving the house.

Here is what you now can and can't do.

How long will the lockdown last?

The national lockdown will last until at least December 2 before returning to the regional three-tier system based on infection rate and the number of cases.

Worcestershire was under ‘medium’ tier 1 restrictions before the latest national lockdown was announced.

Can I leave my house?

The advice is that people should stay at home as much as possible but there are a few exceptions.

What are the exceptions?

You can leave the house if you are going to school, college or university. You are also allowed to go to work if you cannot do it from home.

You can leave the house to exercise and can do so as many times a day as you want either with the people in your household or the people in your support bubble.

A new rule allows a person to meet with one other person from another household outside for ‘recreation’ – which includes meeting in the park or going for a walk.

Can I meet with other people in my garden?

No. Meeting with other people in the garden is now banned. You are also not allowed to meet anybody else in their or your own home unless they are in your support bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult who lives alone joins with another household of any size. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight in each other’s households, and visit outdoor public places together.

Should I be shielding like I did last time?

More than two million “clinically extremely vulnerable” people were advised to shield ahead of the first lockdown in March. This meant they had to stay at home at all times and avoid contact with other people.

The advice for the millions of vulnerable people this time is to take “extra precautions” during this national lockdown but it has not been formally implemented.

Can I still go and see my GP?

Doctor’s surgeries will remain open. Many appointments have been held over the phone but face-to-face consultations will still be available if necessary.

And what about the dentist?

Dentists will be remaining open unlike the early stages of the first lockdown. Appointments, including regular check-ups, will still be going ahead this time.

Are schools staying open?

One of the biggest changes from the first lockdown is that schools, colleges and universities will remain open.

After-school clubs and sports clubs will be suspended until at least December 2.

What about childcare?

Childcare is one of the few reasons for which people can leave the house.

The government says parents can access some registered childcare where it is “reasonably necessary” to allow them to work.

Nurseries and other early years settings will remain open.

Can I form a support bubble with another household for childcare?

Yes. Parents can form a childcare bubble with another household for informal childcare where the child is 13 or under.

This is not the same as forming a support bubble.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides unpaid and unregistered childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.

It could be a relative or a close friend and parents can only form one childcare bubble. The bubble must always be between the same two households which means that if you ask grandparents to help, it must be the same grandparents that care for your child every time.

Will children be allowed to use play areas?

Parks and play areas will remain open this time. Children under five do not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.

What businesses will be closing?

Non-essential shops, leisure and entertainment venues will all be closed which includes clothing and electronics stores, car showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.

Theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions will all close.

Hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture and tanning salons will also close.

What will happen with pubs, bars and restaurants?

Pubs, bars and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery or takeaway.

Can I order a takeaway pint now?

Yes. At first, takeaway pints would have been banned but the government said they will be allowed as long as it is pre-ordered.

Regulations say pre-ordered drinks can be sold and collected as long as nobody enters the building.

What about exercise?

You can exercise outside as much as you like either alone or with the people in your own household or social bubble.

One rule that has changed is you will be able to meet up and exercise outside with one person from outside your household.

Can I go the gym?

Gyms will be closed. You can exercise outside either alone, with the people in your household, or on your own alongside one other person from another household. But only on your own and with one other person. No groups.

Other sports facilities such as leisure centres, swimming pools, golf courses, dance studios, driving ranges, stables, soft play areas, climbing centres and shooting ranges will all be closed.

Can I still go on holiday?

If you live in England, you cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make.

You should avoid travelling in or out of your local area but travel is permitted in certain circumstances.

You can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including travelling for work and education, visiting those in your support or childcare bubble, travelling to hospital or GP appointments, buying goods or services from shops that open, travelling to exercise outdoors (which should be done as locally as possible) or travelling to a vets.

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences are not be allowed – including holidays in the UK and abroad.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.

What about places of worship? Can I go to church?

You can leave home to attend a place of worship for individual prayer, a funeral or a related event for someone who has died, to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a deathbed wedding.

What about weddings?

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be allowed to take place.

The only exceptions are death bed weddings where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover. These weddings are limited to six people.

Will funerals still go ahead?

Yes. Funerals will still be going ahead and you will be allowed to attend.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in the 15 or 30. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

I need to go to the tip to get rid of some rubbish. Will it still be open?

Household recycling centres across the county will remain open during lockdown.

How much is the fine for breaking the rules?

Fines for anyone caught breaking rules on household mixing will start at £200.

Fines then double up to a maximum of £6,400 for any further breaches.

If you are found to have organised a gathering of more than 30 people you could face a fine of £10,000.

Can I move house?

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Is there still a furlough scheme?

Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80 per cent of their salary up to £2,500 a month.