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Coronavirus lockdown: When can I leave the home and what can I do?

PUBLISHED: 09:05 24 March 2020 | UPDATED: 18:00 24 March 2020

Dog walker crossing a street with dogs. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Dog walker crossing a street with dogs. Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Details have been released of what families can and cannot do during the next three weeks.

Last night, prime minister Boris Johnson placed the nation into a three-week lockdown, with more stringent restrictions on business openings and movement.

And, further to guidelines on which businesses can and cannot open, the government has released instructions on how people are expected to observe the latest set of restrictions.

The new measures are as follows:

1) People must stay at home except for very limited purposes

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus news conference inside 10 Downing Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2020. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to over 177 countries in a matter of weeks, claiming over 8,000 lives and infecting over 230,000. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA WirePrime Minister Boris Johnson gestures as he speaks during a coronavirus news conference inside 10 Downing Street, London. PA Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 19, 2020. Coronavirus (Covid-19) has spread to over 177 countries in a matter of weeks, claiming over 8,000 lives and infecting over 230,000. See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Leon Neal/PA Wire

2) All non-essential shops and community spaces to close

3) Gatherings of more than two people in public to be stopped.

These measures have since been elaborated on in a guide posted on the government’s website.

When can I leave the home?

The government has said people can leave for one of just four reasons. These are as follows:

To shop for the basic necessities - for example, food and medicine. These trips must be kept to a bare minimum

One form of exercise a day - this may be a walk, run or a cycle but must be either alone or only with members of your household

• For any medical need - this could be either collecting medicine or providing care for a vulnerable person

• Travelling to and from work

Are there any exceptions?

While the guidelines are stringent, there are some minor exceptions. For example, if a child under 18 lives between two households, travel is permitted to transport the child between its two homes.

Parents who work in a critical sector are also permitted to take their children to school.

What counts as a public gathering?

The government has indicated it is putting a stop to any public gathering of more than two people at one time.

These include social events, weddings, baptisms and any religious ceremony that is not a funeral. Funerals can still be held but must only be attended by immediate family.

Any exceptions to public gathering bans?

Gatherings of more than two people are permitted if they are from the same household. This will therefore allow parents, for example, to take children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

If a gathering is essential for work purposes then it is also permitted - but is recommended to be kept to a minimum.

How will these be enforced?

The government has given police and other relevant local authorities the power to either issue fines to people not complying with the measures or disperse gatherings of people.

How long will this last?

The measures came into effect yesterday, March 23, and will be kept in place for the next three weeks. Once this time period has lapsed, if the situation has improved they will be relaxed.


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