In an unprecedented broadcast to the nation last night, the PM said Britons must stay at home and leave the house for 4 “very limited purposes” to slow the spread of COVID-19.
However, the less than clear message has thrown up questions for many people in various different situations.
Here are the 4 reasons Mr Johnson said I could leave the house for?
- Shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine – but you should do this “as infrequently as possible” and have food delivered “where you can“
- 1 form of exercise a day, such as a running, walking or cycling. This can be done alone or with members of your household.
- Any medical need, to give care or to help a vulnerable person.
- Travelling to and from work, but only if this is “absolutely necessary” and cannot be done from home.
But, what if…?
I have split from my child’s other parent – can the child (under 18) still see us both?
Yes. MP Michael Gove stated that children should not be moving between households, but the government recognises “this may be necessary” for separated parents so “is permissible“.
Mr Gove later apologised for not being “clear enough” after previously saying, ‘no’ on Good Morning Britain.
I work in the construction industry, can I keep working?
Yes. Mr Gove again said that construction on open air building sites can continue but workers should follow the standard “social distancing advice“. Since then, many builders have highlighted that this is almost impossible on construction sites.
What about if I’m a plumber?
Mr Gove went on to say that plumbers (and alike) can attend emergency call-outs “to ensure people can stay safe” but if it is not essential, then don’t.
I have building work that’s already begun on my house – can it continue?
Mr Gove said work can continue on open air sites but if builders cannot be two metres apart while working on your house they should stay at home.
I don’t live near my parents, who are self-isolating as they are over 70 or have other health conditions, can I drive to them to deliver a food shop?
It’s “unlikely” police will be pulling cars over just for driving, Mr Gove said. As long as you leave the shopping outside their door it should be fine.
I have been volunteering to help the elderly/vulnerable, am I allowed to still do that?
Yes. Under the new lockdown rules, helping a vulnerable person counts as part of a medical reason to leave the house.
Are independent food shops still trading?
Several have chosen to shut up shop or have moved to food delivery service & online orders only. If inane doubt, check their social media pages or websites to see if they are still open.
I need to get to work – can I still use public transport?
There’s no doubt that people should avoid using public transport, but if they have to and they are a key worker they can. Despite people cramming on to tube trains this morning, social distancing rules still apply.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for all non-essential use of public transport in the capital to stop and said more services cannot be run because staff are sick or self-isolating.
If I see a group of people hanging out in the park what should I do?
You should suggest politely that the people disperse and if they do not then you can contact the police, Mr Gove said.
Will the lockdown be extended?
Mr Gove said the lockdown could continue after the three weeks is over if there is an “intensification” in coronavirus cases. Presumably, this will happen if people do not follow the lockdown guidance.
Funerals are allowed under the lockdown – with only immediate families allowed to attend – but what does that mean?
Co-op Funeralcare director David Collingwood said that families still need to adhere to social distancing requirements during a funeral.
He said churches and crematoriums that have filming and technological facilities could / should make them available to all families so the funeral can be streamed for those who cannot attend.
I need to get some fuel or my car needs repairing, will garages be open?
Petrol stations and garages should remain open so people can get fuel and repairs, Mr Gove said.
I need to rent a car to get around so I don’t have to take public transport – can I?
Mr Gove said car hire companies can stay open so people are able to get around if they absolutely need to, “but social distancing needs to be kept to“.
My neighbour is too scared to leave the house, can I take their dog for a walk?
As people are only allowed to exercise once a day dogs should be taken for walks during these times, but Mr Gove said you ideally should not take somebody else’s dog out to ensure social distancing is adhered to.
The bottom line is this… don’t be selfish and use your common sense. The more you go out the more you put yourself and everyone else at risk. So don’t. Don’t try and find loop holes, don’t try and bend the rules, don’t pretend they don’t apply to you. This is a national effort and requires us to all adhere to the guidelines.