Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you must:
stay at home as much as possible
work from home if you can
limit contact with other people
keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
wash your hands regularly
Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.
The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.
The government has published guidance on staying safe outside your home and guidance on social distancing rules. This page sets out key FAQs to help you prepare for these changes.
This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.
1. Gatherings, public spaces, and outdoor activities
1.1 What can I do that I couldn’t do before?
From 13 June, you will be able to:
Form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children - in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult. All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. Support bubbles should be exclusive - meaning you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households
Attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer
From 15 June:
You will be able to visit any type of shop and some additional outdoor attractions - drive-in cinemas, and animal attractions like zoos, farms and safari parks
Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support
You will have to wear a face covering on public transport
You will still be able to meet outdoors with groups of up to six people from different households, provided social distancing is observed and you stay 2 metres away from anyone outside your household or support bubble.
As before, you cannot:
visit friends and family inside their homes (unless you are in a support bubble from 13 June) or for other limited circumstances set out in law
stay away from your home or your support bubble household overnight - including holidays - 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 (unless exclusively with members of your own household or support bubble or for one of the limited set of circumstances set out in the law)
1.2 I don’t have to stay at home anymore?
You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.
From 13 June, if you are in a support bubble, you may spend time outdoors or inside either home within the bubble.
Everyone may spend time outdoors with groups of up to six people from outside your household or support bubble. You should stay alert and always practise social distancing with people from outside of your household or support bubble, keeping 2 metres apart.
The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see - especially over short periods of time.
If you or someone in your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble (if applicable) is showing coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted must stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble must then isolate. This is critical to staying safe and saving lives
You can find more information on meeting people you don’t live with here.
1.3 How many people am I allowed to meet with outdoors?
You are allowed to meet in groups of up to six people who you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble.
You are only allowed to meet in groups of more than six people if everyone is a member of the same household or, from 13 June, support bubble.
There is more information about the rules you should follow when meeting people you do not live with here.
1.4 So, can I visit people indoors now and invite them into my own home?
Only if you are in a support bubble with them.
Generally, visiting people in the home or inviting people into your home is not permitted. However, from 13 June, if you are a single adult household – either you live alone or only with dependent children - you can form a support bubble with one other household. This means you can see other members of your support bubble indoors and outside. You will also be able to be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as if you were members of the same household. Individuals who form a bubble with one household may not form a bubble with anyone else.
It is not yet possible for people who are not in support bubbles to meet inside other people’s homes - that remains against the law unless covered by one of the limited exceptions. This is critical to helping us control the virus and keep people safe.
1.5 What is a criminal offence?
It is a criminal offence to:
meet indoors with anyone who is not a member of your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble, except for specific exceptions set out in law
meet outdoors in a group of more than six with people who are not in your household or support bubble, except for specific exceptions set out in law
incite others to break the rules by e.g. inviting people to a party
threaten others with infection by coronavirus, for example by coughing or spitting in their direction
1.6 Can I visit a clinically vulnerable person?
We know that people 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women may be more clinically vulnerable, so we have advised them to take particular care to avoid contact with others.
That means such individuals can meet people outdoors but should be especially careful. Similarly, clinically vulnerable people can form a support bubble with another household, if one of the households is an adult living alone or with children, but extra care should be taken. For example all members of the support bubble should be especially careful to socially distance from people outside of the household or bubble.
You can also visit a clinically vulnerable person inside if you are providing care or assistance to them, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
Wherever possible, you should stay at least 2 metres away from others, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, cough into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser if washing facilities are not easily available.
If someone is defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and being asked to shield, you should follow the guidance for a shielded person as this is different to the wider clinically vulnerable group. Shielded people are advised not to form a support bubble due to the heightened risks for this group.
1.7 Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?
No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance, as long as you can return the same night and do not put others at risk because of services you may need in the time you are away. You should continue to avoid using public transport and should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible.
If visiting other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – you must adhere to the laws and guidance of the devolved administrations at all times.
You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling.
1.8 Can I use public transport if I’m seeing friends in a park or going to my parents’ garden?
You should avoid using public transport if you can. You should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.
1.9 Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?
You should avoid sharing a private vehicle with anyone outside of your household or, from 13 June, support bubble as you will not be able to keep to strict social distancing guidelines. The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on Private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.
1.10 Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?
Day trips to outdoor open space are permitted as long as you can return the same night. You should make sure you do not put others at risk because of services you may need in the time you are away. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household or support bubble (if applicable). You should continue to avoid using public transport if you can. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.
You are not permitted to stay overnight away from the place where you or your support bubble are living - for a holiday or similar purpose - in the UK or overseas. This includes staying overnight in a second home. If your work requires you to stay away from home you can do so but should continue to practise social distancing. You can also stay overnight in an emergency, to escape harm or under other limited circumstances.
Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work. Hotels are also available to host those self-isolating after arriving in the UK (where no other accommodation is available).
1.11 I am a critical worker. Can I stay overnight in a hotel or second home?
Yes, if you need to for work reasons. You should not stay with family, friends, or colleagues even for work reasons.
However, if you have a pre-existing arrangement where you share a second home with another person that you both use for work purposes and where you both need to work away from home, you could both stay at that place at the same time. You should only do this if both of you are critical workers and work together, you need to stay there for work reasons, and there is no reasonable alternative.
1.12 Can students return to their family home if they’ve been in halls all this time?
The general rule is that staying overnight somewhere that is not your home - the place you live - is not allowed.
If a student is opting to change their primary residence for the purpose of the emergency period to live back at their family home, this is permitted.