Coronavirus update 24 March (2): UK lockdown – what you can and can’t do
As of midnight, a UK lockdown has been in force in the latest attempt to slow the tracks of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are now part of the 20% of the global population whose daily lives have been severely restricted.
If you wanted to summarise what this means in three words, they are: STAY AT HOME.
At the moment, the rules do allow you to leave your house under circumstances. There’s still a fair amount of unclarity about the lockdown, however, so we’ve written this post to help make things clearer.
How long will the UK lockdown last?
The lockdown will be in place for at least three weeks. It is unlikely that it will be completely lifted after that period, and stricter measures could be introduced at any time.
What are the lockdown rules?
- You must stay at home if possible. That means no unnecessary journeys or social contact.
- You can leave home for essential shopping or medical needs. Keep these trips to an absolute minimum, and do not panic buy groceries. All non-essential shops are now closed.
- You can go outside for one form of exercise per day. You should do this alone, or only with people you live with. Jogging, walking or going for a run are examples of permitted activities. Most parks will remain open, but play areas and outdoor gyms will be closed.
- You can leave home to help a vulnerable person. This includes moving children under 18 between parents’ homes. Key workers or those with vulnerable children can take their children to school.
You can also travel to and from work, but only where work cannot be done from home. In practice, this means key workers. These include NHS staff and others providing front-line services; people involved in food production, distribution, sale and delivery; staff who deliver essential utilities and financial services; and producers and distributors of medicines. For full details on who is classed as a key worker, visit this page explaining who can still send their children to school.
What about activities such as allotment gardening?
Michael Gove, the cabinet office minister, has said that activities such as going to an allotment would count as exercise. But you must do such activities alone or only with people you live with. Social activities such as golf are banned.
Don’t forget social distancing
Whether you have to shop for groceries, or you are exercising outdoors, don’t forget to practise social distancing. This means that you must stay at least two metres away from any other person.
What if I don’t comply with the UK lockdown?
Later this week, police will gain powers to break up gatherings of more than two people and to fine those not complying with the lockdown. So, please, for everyone’s safety, stick to the rules for as long as they are in force.
If you have any questions or worries about your business, remember that THP is here to help you. Our offices may be closed, but we are using ‘virtual working’ to ensure that you get any accountancy help you need.