Social Distancing

On Monday 23rd March, the Prime Minister issued new guidance on staying at home. Read the full guidance below.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures.

  • Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  • Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  • Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

1. STAYING AT HOME

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.

● Shopping for basic necessities​, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
● One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
● Any medical need​, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
● Travelling to and from work​, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating​, and for the ​most vulnerable who need to be shielded​.

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this ​guidance​, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. ​Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

2. CLOSING NON-ESSENTIAL SHOPS AND PUBLIC SPACES

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses - including pubs, cinemas and theatres - to close.

The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

● all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
● libraries, community centres, and youth centres​.
● indoor and outdoor leisure facilities​ such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
● communal places within parks​, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
● places of worship, ​except for funerals attended by immediate families.
● hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

More detailed information can be found ​here​, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.

3. STOPPING PUBLIC GATHERINGS

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also ​stopping all
public gatherings of more than two people​. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

● where the gathering is of a group of people who live togethe​r - this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
● where the gathering is essential for work purposes - but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

DELIVERING THESE NEW MEASURES

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

 

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The Government made the difficult decision to ask the public to work from home where possible, and avoid all unnecessary social contact including in social venues such as pubs, restaurants, clubs, and theatres.

This guidance is helping to reduce the spread of the virus and therefore reduce mounting pressure on our National Health Service, allowing those most acutely affected with Covid-19 to access the care they need.

The Government is telling the following businesses across the UK close:

  • Food and drink venues for consumption on-site, such as restaurants and cafes.
  • Drinking establishments, including pubs, bars and nightclubs.
  • Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, concert halls and bingo halls.
  • Museums and galleries.
  • Spas, wellness centres and massage parlours.
  • Casinos and betting shops.
  • All indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms.

Takeaway and delivery facilities should remain open and operational. We will change planning regulations so that restaurants, cafes and pubs which do not current offer delivery and hot food take away are able to do so. These measures will be put in place and then reviewed on a monthly basis to consider their effectiveness and compliance in light of changing circumstances.