Updated Guidance on Staying Alert and Saving Lives

Please click here to read the full, updated guidance from the Government. 

This document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus.

The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the epidemic, and the world’s understanding of it, develops.

For the guidance on staying safe outside your home, please click here

It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • to exercise or, from Wednesday 13 May, spend time outdoors for recreation
  • any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

For the time being, certain businesses and venues are required by law to stay closed to the public. These include:

  • restaurants and cafes, other than for takeaway
  • pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs
  • clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets (not selling food)
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, gyms, arcades and soft play facilities
  • some communal places within parks, such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms
  • places of worship (except for funerals)
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use, excluding use by those who live in them permanently, those who are unable to return home and critical workers where they need to for work

Food retailers and food markets, hardware stores, garden centres (from Wednesday 13 May) and certain other retailers can remain open. Other businesses can remain open and their employees can travel to work, where they cannot work from home. From Wednesday 13 May, the government will also allow outdoor sports facilities – such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens – to open, but you should only use these alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times.

You can exercise outside as often as you wish and from Wednesday 13 May, you can also sit and rest outside – exercise or recreation can be alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while keeping two metres apart at all times.

From Wednesday 13 May, you may drive to outdoor publicly accessible open spaces irrespective of distance, but should follow social distancing guidance whilst you are there. You should plan ahead to ensure that, where you are visiting places like National Parks, you have checked that they are open and appropriately prepared for visitors. You should not go to ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where their intended activities there would be prohibited by legislation passed by the relevant devolved administration.

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the law, they may instruct you to go home or leave an area, or arrest you where they believe it necessary. They may also instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these legal requirements if they have already done so.

From Wednesday 13 May, the government is introducing higher fines for those who do not comply, to reflect the increased risk to others of breaking the rules as we begin to ease the restrictions, and people return to work. Once these new limits are in place, if the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days). If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £200 and double on each further repeat offence, up to a maximum of £3200. Until Wednesday 13 May, the fixed penalty notice is £60, reduced to £30 if paid within 14 days. If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £120 and double on each further repeat offence, up to a maximum of £960.

Similarly, a business or venue operating in contravention of the law will be committing an offence. Local authorities (for example, Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers) will monitor compliance, with support from the police if appropriate. Businesses and venues that breach the law will be subject to prohibition notices and fixed penalty notices. Businesses that continue to contravene the law will be forced to close down.

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay, you may also be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose potentially unlimited fines.