The UK Government have announced a nationwide lockdown to address the countries coronavirus outbreak.
In a special broadcast to the nation on 23 March 2020, the prime minister Boris Johnson said Britons must stay in their homes for at least three weeks. There are four very limited reasons that you are able to leave your home’s, this is to contain the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus. The four exceptions are:
- To travel to and from work, but only if work cannot be done at home and is completely necessary
- To shop for food and medicine as infrequently as possible
- To exercise (one form a day) this can be done only with members of your household or a dog and can be running, walking or cycling
- To attend to a medical need or to give care or assistance to a vulnerable person
Here are some common questions and answers:
I am separated from my child’s parent. Can a child under 18 still see both parents?
Yes. Michael Gove, Cabinet Office minister stated that children should not be moving between households, however this may be necessary for separated parents therefore would be permissible.
I work in construction; can I still go to work?
Yes. Open air sites can continue but workers must follow social distancing advice. If builders cannot remain 2 meters apart, they should stay home.
I am a plumber; can I continue to work?
If it is an emergency call out yes, we need to stay safe but non-essential jobs should be avoided.
Can I deliver food to parents or those over 70, vulnerable or with health conditions?
It is “unlikely” police will be pulling cars over just for driving, as long as you leave the shopping outside their door with no contact it should be fine.
I volunteer to help the elderly/vulnerable, can I still do that?
Yes. Under the new lockdown rules, helping a vulnerable person counts as part of a medical reason to leave the house so you can continue to offer support.
Are independent food shops still open?
Several have decided to close or have moved to food delivery service or online orders only. The best thing to do is to check with them directly by phone or social media platforms.
I need to get to work – can I still use the bus, train or Tube?
People should avoid using public transport. If they have to and they are a key worker, they can. Social distancing rules still apply but as services have been reduced this is extremely difficult.
All non-essential use of public transport and non-essential travel should stop.
Can I go for a drive to elevate the stresses of self-isolation?
It is unlikely anybody will be pulled over by the police just for driving, as long as you do not meet with friends or family.
If I see a group of people hanging out in the park what should I do?
You should encourage people to disperse and if they do not then you can call the police who WILL be enforcing these new measures and have the powers to offer up fines and make arrests when needed.
Will the lockdown be extended?
The lockdown could very well continue after the three-week mark. This is if there are no improvements and if the virus intensifies.
Weddings, christenings and large social gatherings are all cancelled with the exception of funerals. Only immediate family may attend, but what does this mean?
Families still need to adhere to social distancing measures during a funeral. Only immediate relatives should be in attendance and if the church or crematorium has the facilities to do so the service could be streamed to extended members unable to attend. Close contact such as hugging should be avoided.
I need to refuel my car, are garages open?
Sites will remain open so people can get fuel and have repairs carried out. Car dealerships however will close.
I need to rent a car to get around so I don’t have to take public transport – can I?
Car hire companies can stay open, so people are able to get around if they absolutely need to, but social distancing needs to remain in practice.
My family member or friend cannot leave their home or are scared to, can I walk their dog or look after their pet?
People are only allowed to exercise once a day so ideally you should not take other peoples pets out as adhering to social distancing would be difficult and the chance of spreading the infection would become greater.