Boris Johnson announced a change in the UK’s lockdown regulations just last night, but what does it all mean?
The world as we currently know it has become quite a confusing place, with a whole lot of guidelines in place for us to follow. And while they’ve been enforced to keep us all safe from the Coronavirus outbreak, sometimes, they can seem difficult to digest. Here are all of the government’s latest guidelines to follow, laid out as simply as possible.
How much can I exercise?
From May 13, people in the UK will be able to take part in unlimited amounts of daily exercise outside. Speaking during the official announcement last night (May 10), Boris Johnson said: “There are millions of people who are both fearful of this terrible disease, and at the same time also fearful of what this long period of enforced inactivity will do to their livelihoods and their mental and physical wellbeing.”
Previously, Brits were only allowed to leave the house for limited reasons, including collecting essentials from a local shop or taking up one form of exercise outdoors per day. Now, Brits are encouraged to take advantage of the great outdoors, with restrictions lifted on exercise, driving to other destinations such as walking spots, sunbathing in a local park and playing outdoor sports with members of your household.
Do I still need to stay at home?
While the government has scrapped its ‘Stay Home’ slogan, it is still necessary to stay at home. The general public is only permitted to leave their houses for the following reasons:
- 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 (e.g. sunbathing and resting)
- any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
The government’s official guidelines read: “You must continue to stay home except for a limited set of reasons but – in line with scientific advice – can take part in more outdoor activities from Wednesday 13 May.”
Can I see my friends and family?
After the first lockdown change on May 13, Boris Johnson has now announced that from Monday, June 1, Brits can now see up to 6 others in a private outdoor space. This means you may visit your family and catch up with them in the garden, or meet with your friends at the park – a huge step towards getting Britain social again. Social distancing rules, of course, need to be followed, however, after almost three months away from loved ones, it’s a welcome update to the regulations. Until June 1, Brits must stick with the former regulations where you may only meet with one other person in a public outdoor space, keeping a 2-metre distance from one another.
Do I need to go to work?
Answer: If you cannot work from home, yes. If you can work from home, no.
Boris Johnson has now announced that those who are unable to work from home, particularly those in manufacturing and construction, should return to work this week. Initially, the advice vaguely stated that people could return to work from May 11, however, Dominic Raab has now spoken out to confirm that workers should return on May 13 instead. While these people are being encouraged to return to the workplace, it’s been advised to continue avoiding public transport unless absolutely necessary. Those who can work from home, for example, office workers, should continue to do so.
Do I still need to stay 2m away from others?
The 2-metre social distancing rule still applies, and is likely to apply for a number of upcoming phases in the government’s exit lockdown plan. We will still be required to distance ourselves when using shops, and we’ll also need to ensure we’re keeping two metres away from anyone outside of our households. Countries such as New Zealand are now beginning to re-open restaurants, where social distancing has been put in place in between all tables – which, if effective, could be beneficial for the UK to implement too once we reach that stage.
Can I travel?
Answer: If you can drive, yes (in some cases). If you can’t, no.
There is still no update on when Brits will be able to travel abroad, however, the government has announced that people coming into the country will need to quarantine for a 14-day period, with Boris Johnson saying: “To prevent reinfection from abroad, I am serving notice that it will soon be the time – with transmission significantly lower – to impose quarantine on people coming into this country by air.” It is currently unclear how long the quarantine rules will be in place for.
Brits have now been permitted to drive to work and to “other destinations”, however, have been advised to avoid public transport where able. Official guidelines state: “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 will pubs, restaurants and salons re-open?
Speaking to Sky News, Dominic Raab confirmed that Brits won’t be able to enjoy a cold pint or get a haircut until July 4 at the very earliest. The re-opening of the hospitality industry, as well as the beauty industry, will be reviewed on a conditional basis in a later phase of the government’s plan, meaning if cases rise again, we could see pubs, restaurants, hotels and salons re-open much later than July.
Only food retailers and food markets, hardware stores, garden centres (from Wednesday 13 May) and certain other retailers will be permitted to stay open. Non-essential stores will get to re-open their doors again from June 15.
Can I be fined for breaking the rules?
Fines have been in place since the beginning of lockdown to help police enforce the rules, however, it has been confirmed that on Wednesday May 13, fines will increase to a maximum of £3,200. Starting at £100, fines will double for each repeat offence.