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The Government has published guidance on how we can reduce the spread of the virus.  

  • Stay at home, except for specific purposes. 
  • Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes. 
  • Close certain businesses and venues. 

These new measures will reduce the growth rate of the virus, which will: 

  • prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed 
  • ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open 
  • ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work 

 Click here to read official Government advice. This page sets out key FAQs to help you prepare for those changes. 

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers. 

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work. 

Where it is necessary to work in other people’s homes – for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople – you can do so. 

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. 

Core educational facilities, such as early years settings, schools, colleges, universities and vocational training centres can remain open. Universities and adult education settings should consider moving to increased levels of online learning where possible. 

If you live at university, you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term.  

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare during the national restrictions: 

  • Early years settings and childminders remain open, and you can continue to use these settings as normal 
  • You can access other childcare activities (including wraparound care) where reasonably necessary to enable parents to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for the purposes of respite care for carers 
  • Nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home 
  • Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under 
  • Some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble, which allows single adult households to join another household 

Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period. 

If you are over 60 or clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. You: 

  • should be especially careful to follow the rules and minimise your contacts with others 
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home and/or workspace 

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are: 

  • aged 70 or over (regardless of medical conditions) 
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds): 
  • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis 
  • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure 
  • chronic kidney disease 
  • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis 
  • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy 
  • diabetes 
  • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets) 
  • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above) 
  • pregnant 

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus – that is, people with specific serious health conditions. the Government will write to everybody who is clinically extremely vulnerable to set out detailed advice while the new restrictions are in place. 

Visit our dedicated Community Support page if you require practical help, or need support and advice. 

If you live in England, you cannot travel overseas or within the UK, unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons, and you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make. However, you can and should still travel for a number of reasons, including: 

  • travelling to work where this cannot be done from home 
  • travelling to education and for caring responsibilities 
  • to visit those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare 
  • hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health 
  • to buy goods or services from premises that are open, including essential retail 
  • to spend time or exercise outdoors – this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space) 
  • attending the care and exercise of a pet, or veterinary services 

If you need to travel, we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, and to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

If you need to use public transport – to travel to work for example – you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face coverings and advice on car sharing. 

Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences will not be allowed- including holidays in the UK and abroad. This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if you own one, or staying with anyone you do not live with or are in a support bubble with. 

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you: 

  • are unable to return to your main residence 
  • need accommodation while moving house 
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event 
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services 
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care 
  • are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge 
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary. 

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. 

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering. 

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in the 15 or 30. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’). These weddings are limited to 6 people.

Support Bubble

Asupport bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult (but no limit on children under 16) in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.   

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.    

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.    

No one is permitted to have more than one bubble.  

No. The only exception to the social distancing rules are a formal ‘support bubble’. 

No – one of the households in a formal ‘support bubble’ must be a single-adult household.  

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same 2 households.  

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so.  

Click here to find out more about childcare 

No – Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. 

Staying at home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. These include: 

  • Work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home 
  • Shopping for essentials such as food and medicine  
  • Fulfilling legal obligations 
  • Education and childcare 
  • To visit your support bubble or to provide informal care 
  • Exercise outdoors with your household/support bubble. When on your own you may meet up outdoors with 1 person from another household 
  • Medical reasons, appointments and emergencies, or to avoid or escape risk of injury or harm – such as domestic abuse 
  • To attend an event, such as a place of worship for individual prayer, a funeral or a related event for someone who has died, to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a deathbed wedding

A full list of what is allowed can be found in the regulations. 

Staying safe outdoors

You should minimise time spent outside your home. 

Remember Hands. Face. Space 

  • Hands – wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds 
  • Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet 
  • Space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors) 

In general, you must not meet people socially. However, you can exercise or meet in public outdoor spaces with: 

  • People from your own household 
  • Your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble) 
  • When on your own, with one other person from another household – children under school age (as well as those dependent on round the clock care, such as those with severe disabilities) who are with their parents will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside. 

Outdoor public places include: 

  • neighbourhood streets, parks, beaches, and the countryside 
  • public gardens and grounds (whether or not you pay to enter them) 
  • allotments 
  • outdoor playgrounds 

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 

Businesses and Venues

Businesses that are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods or services, including: 

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences. 
  • Petrol Stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses. 
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, loan providers and money transfer businesses 
  • Funeral directors 
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners 
  • Medical and dental services 
  • Vets and pet shops 
  • Agricultural supplies shops 
  • Storage and distribution facilities 
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas. 
  • Outdoor playgrounds 

The majority of public services will continue, and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include: 

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help 
  • Jobcentre Plus sites 
  • Courts and probation services Civil Registrations Offices 
  • Passport and Visa Services
  • Services provided to victims 
  • Waste or Recycling Centres 

To reduce social contact, the Government has ordered certain businesses and venues to close or restrict how they provide goods and services. These include: 

Non-essential retail, including, but not limited to: 

  • clothing and homeware stores 
  • vehicle showrooms (other than for rental) 
  • betting shops 
  • tailors 
  • tobacco and vape shops 
  • electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • market stalls selling non-essential goods

These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as: 

  • Bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms  
  • Sports facilities including swimming pools 
  • Golf courses and driving ranges 
  • Dance studios 
  • Stables and riding centres 
  • Soft play facilities  
  • Climbing walls and climbing centres 
  • Archery and shooting ranges 
  • Water and theme parks 

Entertainment venues such as: 

  • Theatres 
  • Concert halls 
  • Cinemas 
  • Museums and galleries 
  • Casinos 
  • Adult gaming centres and arcades 
  • Bingo halls 
  • Bowling alleys 
  • Zoos and other animal attractions 
  • Indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open 

 Personal care facilities such as: 

  • Hair, beauty and nail salons 
  • Tattoo parlours 
  • Spas 
  • Massage parlours 
  • Body and skin services 
  • Non-medical acupuncture 
  • Tanning salons 

It is also prohibited to provide these services in other people’s homes 

  • Hospitality venues, such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs must close, but can provide food and drink for takeaway (before 10pm; and not including alcohol), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery 
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites. Except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where they cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes 
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities as set out below Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect
  • Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, and service broadcasting and funerals 

These businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including: 

  • education and training (including for schools to use sports and leisure facilities where that it part of their normal provision) 
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children 
  • blood donation and food banks 
  • to provide medical treatment 
  • for elite sports persons (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), professional dancers and choreographers (in fitness and dance studios) 
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls) 
  • for the purposes of professional film and TV filming 

Non-essential retail can continue to provide click-and-collect and delivery services in response to orders made online or over the phone. If a customer is collecting their pre-ordered goods, they must not enter the premises. 

Click here to visit our dedicated Business Support webpage for the latest information. 


Workers in any part of the UK can retain their job, even if their employer cannot afford to pay them, and be paid at least 80% of their salary up to £2500 a month. 

To see whether you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme click here   

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