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Coronavirus outbreak FAQs – what you can and can't do

Posted on: 25 May 2020

The government recently announced small steps towards easing some of the lockdown restrictions in the UK, to help the nation move towards a new normal. The changes to restrictions signals a step in the right direction, but you must still follow the government's guidance to protect yourself, your family and our NHS.

You can now read the latest government advice, including frequently asked questions on what you can and can't do. This includes advice for vulnerable groups - such as those that are shielded due to being at high risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus - and guidance on going to work, public transport, schools and childcare, enforcement and more.


Latest guidance around coronavirus - 28 May 2020

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.


Public spaces/outdoor activities 

What can I do that I couldn't do before

From Monday 1 June, you can meet in a group of up to six people, including children, if you are outdoors. You should ensure you stay at least 2 metres away from the people you do not live with.

  • spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • visit car showrooms and outdoor markets
  • in line with the arrangements made by your school, send your child to school or nursery if they are in early years, reception, year 1 or year 6, if you could not before
  • if you are an elite athlete as defined by this guidance, train and compete using the specified gyms, pools and sports facilities you need - which will, in the coming weeks, we hope enable others to watch live sport on TV

What you cannot do:

  • visit friends and family inside their homes
  • stay overnight away from your own home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six (excluding members of your own household)


Vulnerable groups, shielding, 70 year olds and over, and care homes

The government has advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. From 1 June, those shielding may wish to consider spending time outdoors once a day. This can be with members of their own household or, for those shielding alone, with one person from another household.

If individuals wish to spend time outdoors, they should take extra care to minimise contact with others by keeping 2 metres apart at all times. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain a 2 metres distance from others.
Anyone with very specific medical conditions, that has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.

For more guidance for shielded people click here 

Going to work / Safer spaces

Where work can only be done in the workplace, the government have set out tailored guidelines for employers to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus.
These 'back to work' guidelines apply to those in essential retail like:

  • supermarkets
  • those in construction and manufacturing
  • those working in labs and research facilities
  • those administering takeaways and deliveries at restaurants and cafes
  • tradesmen, cleaners and others who work in people's homes
  • those who are facilitating trade or transport goods

The Government has announced its intention to reopen non-essential retail from 15 June, but only provided the five tests are still being met and shops have been made Covid secure.


Workers' rights

Employers and staff should discuss and agree working arrangements.
Employers should make all efforts to help people to work from home where they can. But where work cannot be done at home, employers should take clear, practical steps to help protect workers and create safe places to work.
If you remain concerned that your employer is not taking all practical steps to promote social distancing then you can report this to your local authority or the Health and Safety Executive who can take a range of action, including where appropriate requiring your employer to take additional steps.

Public Transport

If you cannot work from home and have to travel to work, or if you must make an essential journey, you should cycle or walk wherever possible.
If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn't possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.


Schools and Childcare

The government is urging those who are currently eligible to use school provision (children of critical workers and vulnerable children) to attend.

From Monday 1 June, therefore, all early years settings can reopen, and schools will start welcoming back pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 in smaller class sizes.

From Monday 15 June, secondary schools and further education colleges will also prepare to begin some face to face support with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning.