Frequently Asked Questions

Last updated on 18th June.

1. Public spaces / outdoor activities / exercise

1.1 What can I do from the 11th June that I couldn’t do before?

There will be a limited number of things you can do now that you could not do before:

You may: 

  • Exercise outdoors as often as you wish
  • Spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households
  • Use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis court or golf course
  • You may visit any type of shop
  • You can also visit some outdoor attractions such as drive-in cinemas and zoos
  • 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
  • Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support
  • If you live alone or are a single parent, you can form a 'support bubble' with one other household. This means you can visit each other's homes without social distancing. However, you must pick one household to be your 'support bubble' and stick with it—you cannot switch the household, or connect with multiple different households.
  • Attend your place of worship for individual prayer

At all times, should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before, you cannot:

  • Visit friends and family inside their homes (except for support bubbles)
  • Stay overnight away from your own home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as a support bubble or 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

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home and order a test immediately from the NHS website—this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

1.2 Does this mean lockdown is over?

You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.

Although you may meet up outdoors in groups of up to six, you still must practise social distancing with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. This means staying alert and keeping two metres apart.

It is still against the law to invite people not in your support bubble into your home. This is critical to helping us control the virus and keep people safe.

 

1.3 Are you reopening tennis courts / golf courses / basketball courts etc

Yes. Sports courts are now open, but you should only partake in such activities alone, with members of your household or your support buble, or with up to six people from outside your household, while practising social distancing. You should take particular care if you need to use any indoor facilities next to these outdoor courts, such as toilets.

You should not use these facilities if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating.

1.4 Can I meet my friends and family in the park?

You can meet up to six other people from outside your household if you are outdoors. Public gatherings of more than 6 people from different households who are not within a support bubble are prohibited in law. There are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household.

1.5 On what date can I expand my household group?

Currently, single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each others’ homes, including overnight, without needing to stay 2 metres apart.

Read more about support bubbles here.

1.6 Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?

You can go out to care for or help a vulnerable person, or to provide other voluntary or charitable services, 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 two metres away from others, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available).

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. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling. Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed.

1.8 Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?

No. You can only travel in a private vehicle alone, or with members of your household.

1.9 Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.

Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.

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.

1.10 Can students return to their family home if they’ve been in halls all this time?

In general, leaving your home - the place you live - to stay at another home is not allowed.

If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.

1.11 Is there a limit on the number of people attending funerals?

There is no change to the guidance on attending funerals at present.

1.12 Can weddings go ahead?

There’s no change at this time. We understand the frustration couples planning a wedding must be feeling, and some English councils have been granted emergency powers to allow weddings where one partner is ill.

As with all coronavirus restrictions on places of worship, venues and social distancing, we will look to ease them as soon as it is safe to do so.

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

2.1 Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?

The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

If they do go out more frequently, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.

We know that those aged 70 and over can be absolutely fit and healthy and it’s not the case that everybody over 70 has a chronic health condition or an underlying disease.

But unfortunately, we also know that as you get older, there is a higher risk of coronavirus having a more serious impact with infection. Complications and deaths are more common in the elderly, even those without pre-existing conditions.

Anyone who 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.

2.2 How long will shielding be in place?

We’ve advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home. This is because we believe they are likely to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.

We know this is challenging guidance to follow, which is why we have a support scheme in place to provide help with access to food and basic supplies, care, medicines and social support.

We are keeping the guidance to shielded people under review.

2.3 What safety standards will need to be put in place in care homes?

We have issued detailed guidance about infection control and staff safety in care homes to help admit and care for residents safely and protect care home staff.

This includes isolation procedures, PPE and infection control training for all staff, cleaning and how to provide personal care safely.

As with all of our advice, this guidance is kept under constant review and updated frequently, in line with the latest scientific evidence.

3. Going to work / Safer spaces

3.1 Who is allowed to go to work?

On 10 May 2020 the Government began to outline its plans to enable certain sectors in England to return to work

Employees who can work from home are advised by the government to continue to do so. However, anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction or manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work.

The government has provided full government guidance on working safely for those who do return to work.

Safety measures employers must maintain include:

  • Observing the 2m (6ft) rule of social distancing
  • Introducing one-way systems to minimise contact
  • Frequent cleaning of objects and surfaces in retail environments
  • Storing returned items for 72 hours before returning them to the shop floor

There are specific guidelines for those who are vulnerable, shielding, or showing symptoms.

3.2 What is a critical worker?

Critical workers are those working in health and care and other essential services, who can still take their children to school or childcare and can use hotels and other accommodation services for work related purposes - for example if they can’t get home after a shift or need to isolate from their families. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided if you cannot reasonably work from home.

3.3 What is meant by the phased approach?

Not all forms of work will return to normal at once. People will have to prepare for a new type of normal. We need to make sure that any changes we do make are carefully monitored and that we aren’t doing anything to increase the risk of infection and push the Reproductive value (R0) above 1. R0 describes how many people on average will be infected for every one person who has COVID-19.

We will ensure that businesses have time to prepare their premises to operate as safely as possible.

We will set out more detail about the phasing in due course.

3.4 Will you open pubs / cinemas / hairdressers in July?

The roadmap sets out that some businesses (like pubs, cinemas or hairdressers) will not open until Step 3 is reached.

The government’s current planning assumption is that this step will be no earlier than 4 July and subject to further detailed scientific advice, provided closer to the time, on how far we can go. When they do reopen, they should also meet the COVID-19 secure guidelines.

3.5 What are the ‘Covid-Secure’ safety guidelines workplaces have to be put in place?

We have set out clear, practical steps that businesses should take to ensure their workplaces are safe and give their staff the confidence to return back to work. You can read the government guidance on working safely here.

These include how to keep as many people as possible safely apart from those they do not live with in various workplace settings.

3.6 Do people need to wear face coverings at work?

Face coverings are not compulsory. However, if you can, people are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For example, face coverings are mandatory on public transport. Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers; these should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace such as health and care workers and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.

3.7 Will a face covering stop me getting COVID-19?

The evidence suggests that face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

To protect yourself, you should continue to follow social distancing measures and isolation guidance and wash your hands regularly.

4. Workers’ rights

4.1 My employer is asking me to come to work but I’m scared.

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, such as shift working or staggering processes. To identify the precautions needed to manage risk, your employer should discuss the workplace risk assessment with you to identify the practical ways of managing those risks.

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.

We are publishing further specific “COVID-19 Secure” guidelines on how to make workplaces safe, which have been developed in consultation with over 200 business leaders and trades union organisations.

4.2 What if they try to fire me because I won’t go to work but cannot work at home?

We urge employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their staff. Employers and employees should come to a pragmatic agreement about their working arrangements.

If individuals need advice, they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about work disputes.

5. Public Transport

5.1 Who is allowed to travel on public transport?

You can help control coronavirus and travel safely by:

  • working from home where possible
  • shopping locally and less often
  • considering all other forms of transport before using public transport
  • avoiding the busiest times and routes
  • keeping your distance when your travel (2 metres apart where possible)
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly

Do not travel and self-isolate immediately if you are experiencing coronavirus symptoms, or have been in close contact with someone who has coronavirus.

5.2 Should people wear face coverings on public transport?

From 15 June 2020, it is the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England.

If you do not wear a face covering you will be breaking the law and could be fined £100, or £50 if you pay the fine within 14 days.

A face covering is a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth.

Click here for guidance on How to wear and make a face covering.

5.3 Can I use public transport to get to green spaces?

You should reduce usage of public transport wherever possible.

6. Schools and Childcare

6.1 Can children go back to early years settings, schools or university?

We initially urge those who are currently eligible to use school provision (children of critical workers and vulnerable children) to attend. As soon as it is safe to do so we will bring more year groups back to school in a phased way when it is safe to have larger numbers of children within schools, but not before. Keeping children and staff safe is our utmost priority.

Since 23 March, in line with the scientific advice, nurseries, schools and colleges have remained open to a priority group of children and young people, children of critical workers and vulnerable children

The government are starting to reopen schools by reopening nurseries and other school years:

  • From the week commencing 1 June, we are reopening nurseries, primary schools in nursery, reception, year 1 and year 6, and special schools
  • On 15 June, secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for Years 10 and Year 12 to supplement remote education, plus some provisions for face-to-face support for year 11 pupils.

For further information about school re-openings please click here

6.2 How will you make sure it is safe?

Schools can now operate if they are organised in a way that is compatible with minimising the spread of the virus. The next phase of measures will require the development of new safety standards to set out how physical spaces, including schools, can be adapted to operate safely.

We will publish guidance advising schools on reopening to ensure schools can adequately prepare for the next phase. One of the main protective measures we can take to reduce transmission is to have small consistent group and class sizes.

6.3 Will children be compelled to wear face coverings at school?

No this will not be required. We will publish further advice on protective measures in schools in the coming weeks.

7. Borders / international visitors

7.1 Are you isolating people at the border now?

When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK

Before you travel, you should provide your journey, contact details and the address where you will self-isolate. You will be able to complete the public health passenger locator form 48 hours before you arrive.

Find out more information here.

7.2 What is self-isolation and which countries will it apply to?

We will be asking all people travelling to the UK to make some sacrifices to stop coronavirus cases from being imported. In the same way as people in the UK have made large sacrifices to control the spread of coronavirus.

When you arrive in the UK, go straight to the place you’re staying. You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others.

7.3 Is this for foreign travellers only or British people returning home from holiday or living overseas?

All arrivals including British nationals will be required to provide their contact information and self-isolate upon arrival, other than those on a short list of exemptions.

8. Enforcement

8.1 How will police enforce the new rules?

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the law, the police may instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse, and they may instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so. The police can also take you home or arrest you where they believe it is necessary.

If the police believe that you have broken the law – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days), an increase of £40 from the previous £60 fixed penalty amount. If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount for further offences will increase in line with the table below.

First offence £100

Second offence £200

Third offence £400

Fourth offence £800

Fifth offence £1600

Maximum penalty £3200

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay your fine you could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

9. Devolved administrations

9.1 Does this guidance apply across the UK?

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

If you live in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland additional guidance is available: