Under government guidelines, everyone should stay at home except for limited purposes. After the PM’s commandments, here is your guide to what the new rules mean for Britain.
WHAT ARE THE NEW RULES?
Simply put, everyone should stay at home except for very limited purposes.
WHY ARE SUCH STRINGENT MEASURES BEING PUT IN PLACE?
To stop the virus spreading between households. Scientists say Britains coronavirus epidemic can be curbed only if social contact is cut by 75 per cent. The outbreak is growing so fast because each infected person passes it on to several others. If the virus has nowhere to go it just dies and the outbreak shrinks. Each time a chain of transmission is broken by giving the virus nowhere to go it saves countless lives.
BUT SURELY NORMAL LIFE MUST GO ON?
Yes. But everyone will be affected by the new restrictions. As one politician put it yesterday, if life feels normal, you are not properly following the rules.
SO WHEN CAN I LEAVE THE HOUSE?
There are four key circumstances in which people can leave the home: 1) Shopping for basic essentials, which should be done as infrequently as possible. 2) To exercise, no more than once a day. 3) Any medical reason, such as attending a hospital appointment or to provide care for a vulnerable person. 4) To travel to and from work, but only if you cannot work from home.
CAN I EXERCISE WITH OTHERS?
Only with members of your own household. So you could go for a run with your partner or a walk with your children. But you should not meet up with friends for a kickabout or a jog.
WHAT ABOUT GOING TO THE PARK?
Parks are still open for now. But people must stay away from others. Ministers were horrified by pictures of packed parks and beaches last weekend so they are carefully monitoring their use. Places within parks where people could congregate have been closed including playgrounds, outdoor gyms and tennis courts. But wider parklands have been kept open.
Ministers have confirmed using allotments counts as exercise and they form a good space for social distancing if people stick to their own plot (stock image)
CAN I USE MY ALLOTMENT?
Yes. Ministers have confirmed using allotments counts as exercise and they form a good space for social distancing if people stick to their own plot.
CAN I GO FOR A BIKE RIDE?
Yes. Bike shops have been given permission to stay open and cycling counts as a form of exercise. It is also a lower-risk form of commuting for key workers than getting on a bus or train. But people should not go for a ride with friends if you are using it as a leisure activity only do so with someone from your own household.
Bike shops have been given permission to stay open and cycling counts as a form of exercise (stock image)
CAN I WALK MY DOG?
Yes. Dog walking is permitted as part of the one form of exercise people can take a day. Households with two or more people can take it in turns to walk their dog so the family pet is given more than one walk a day.
WHAT COUNTS AS A MEDICAL NEED?
Going to the GP or for a hospital appointment. All doctors have been asked to use telephone or video links where possible for routine appointments. But in some cases there is no way to avoid a face-to-face consultation. It is important these appointments are not missed so speak to your doctor if in doubt.
CAN I GIVE BLOOD?
Officials have confirmed this is a medical need and is particularly important at the moment as the NHS has seen a drop in donations.CAN I SEE A DENTIST?
Dentists have been advised to shut for all except emergency appointments. If you are in agony do phone your dentist to see whether you should visit. But if it is a routine check-up it will have to be postponed.
Dentists have been advised to shut for all except emergency appointments. If you are in agony do phone your dentist to see whether you should visit (stock image)
WHAT ABOUT THE OPTICIANS?
Again, routine care has been suspended and many opticians will close. Some will stay open for essential eye care for example if a key worker or elderly person has broken their glasses or needs more contact lenses, or where a visually impaired person or a youngster needs care.
CAN I TAKE MY PET TO THE VET?
Vets will stay open for emergencies and to fulfil prescriptions only. All routine care will be postponed and non-urgent enquiries will be dealt with by telephone.
Vets will stay open for emergencies and to fulfil prescriptions only. All routine care will be postponed and non-urgent enquiries will be dealt with by telephone (stock image)
I PROVIDE CARE FOR AN ELDERLY RELATIVE – CAN I CONTINUE TO VISIT THEM?
Yes. Caring for a vulnerable person is considered a medical need. So it is very important that continuity of care is maintained. However, keep more than six feet (two metres) apart if possible. If your care involves washing, dressing or cleaning them, use gloves, aprons and a mask.
MY CHILDS NURSERY HAS CLOSED CAN I HIRE A CHILDMINDER?
No unless you are categorised as a key worker and your child cannot be looked after safely any other way. Childminders are eligible to look after the children of key workers, but anyone who is able to work from home should keep their child in the house.
I AM SEPARATED FROM MY EX-PARTNER AND WE SHARE CUSTODY OF OUR CHILDREN. CAN THEY STILL SEE EACH OTHER?
Yes. An exception has been made in the rules so children in this situation they can travel between your two homes. But the number of these trips should be limited.
CAN MY CHILDREN SEE THEIR GRANDPARENTS?
No. Family visits should be put on hold for now. This is particularly important as a key part of the new measures is to protect those at risk particularly the elderly.
I AM NOT ON THE KEY WORKER LIST, BUT I CANNOT WORK FROM HOME. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
You should go to work unless you are unwell. Health Secretary Matt Hancock yesterday stressed this is important to keep the country running. But he said employers should be doing all they can to make things safe for staff and do all they can to allow people to work from home.
CAN A PLUMBER COME ROUND IF MY BOILER BREAKS?
Yes, for an emergency this is classed as an essential service. If there is a leak, an electrical problem or another emergency issue, it is fine for that to be dealt with. But routine servicing, a refurbishment or small building works should be put on hold.
A CLEANER COMES REGULARLY TO CLEAN MY HOUSE. SHOULD THEY CONTINUE?
No. This is not seen as essential.
WHAT ABOUT MY GARDENER OR WINDOW CLEANER?
This is less clear. The outdoors nature of this work makes it safer but it is still not strictly essential. In Scotland outdoor workers have been encouraged to continue their work if safe to do so. But in England there has been no guidance on this issue yet.
CAN I GO OUT FOR A DRIVE?
Going for an occasional drive is fine if you do not get out and have a chat with anyone.
No restrictions have been made on using taxis or private hire cars, but only do so for essential travel (stock image)
CAN I GET A TAXI?
No restrictions have been made on using taxis or private hire cars, but only do so for essential travel.
CAN I GO SHOPPING?
Yes though the Government has asked that this be done as infrequently as is practical. They have asked that where possible people use online shopping facilities instead, though delivery slots are in high demand.
WHAT SHOPS REMAIN OPEN?
Supermarkets, food shops, newsagents, health shops, pharmacies, hardware shops, pet shops and bicycle shops are all open. Petrol stations, garages, post offices, car hire businesses and banks are also still running.
WHAT HAS CLOSED?
All non-essential shops including clothes shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants.
CAN I SHOP ONLINE?
Yes many non-essential businesses that have been forced to close their premises are continuing their online delivery services, though demand is high.
CAN I GET MY CLOTHES WASHED AND DRY CLEANED?
Yes. These facilities have been allowed to remain open. Part of the reason is that regularly washing clothes is crucial to kill the coronavirus and people without washing machines rely on such facilities.
CAN I GET A TAKEAWAY?
Yes. Takeaways remain open and restaurants that have been told to close have been allowed to continue selling takeaway food. Planning and licensing laws are also being relaxed to allow food outlets to sell takeaway food where they were previously not permitted to.
Takeaways remain open and restaurants that have been told to close have been allowed to continue selling takeaway food (stock image)
WHAT ABOUT GETTING MY HAIRCUT?
No, this is not deemed to be essential. All hair, beauty and nail salons have been ordered to close.
CAN I GO TO THE LIBRARY?
No, libraries have closed. But most libraries give their members access to large collections of online e-books and talking books, which can be downloaded to a smartphone, tablet or computer.
I WANT TO DO MY BIT TO HELP OTHERS COPE WITH THE CRISIS. CAN I LEAVE THE HOUSE TO VOLUNTEER?
Yes. The Government has made clear that volunteering counts as essential travel but social distancing advice must be followed in any voluntary activities.
MY PARTNER LIVES IN A DIFFERENT HOUSE. CAN I STILL SEE THEM?
No. Communicate using telephone and video chat instead. Some people may make a decision to move in with their partner. Deputy chief medical officer Jenny Harries last night warned people not to act hastily she said people should test their feelings and see if they are prepared to spend the next few weeks or months with their partner under forced circumstances. But once you move in with them do not move back and forth choose one household and stick with it.