Police have told people in England they can go out to buy alcohol, take an animal to the vet or stop to have a rest while on a walk during the coronavirus lockdown.
Officers have issued a series of guidelines on what are ‘reasonable’ excuses to leave home, such as buying several days’ worth of food including luxury items.
The list issued by the National Police Chief’s Council and College of Policing also says people should be allowed to collect surplus basic food items from a friend.
It also permits providing support to vulnerable people or moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a ‘cooling-off’ following arguments at home.
What do police say is ‘reasonable behaviour’ during the lockdown?
- Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol.
- Buying a small amount of a staple item or necessity (eg, a newspaper, pet food, a loaf of bread or pint of milk).
- Collecting surplus basic food items from a friend
- Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather
- Including: going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga. Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment.
- Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving).
- Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk.
- Exercising more than once per day – the only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home.
- A key worker or other essential worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
- A non-key worker or non-essential key worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
- A person delivering food packages to vulnerable people.
- Taking an animal for treatment.
- Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a ‘cooling-off’ following arguments at home.
- Providing support to vulnerable people.
Other permitted acts include buying a small amount of a staple item or necessity, and purchasing tools to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather.
They can also stop to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk, or drive to the countryside and walking – where far more time is spent walking than driving.
Forms of acceptable exercise during the period include going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga, walking in the countryside or in cities and attending an allotment.
Employees are allowed to travel to work whether or not they are key or essential staff, as long as it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
However, police say it is not reasonable for people to go out to buy paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen.
Driving for a prolonged period with only brief exercise is also banned, as is a short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period.
In addition, police say a person should not work in a local park if they can work from home, and no one should be knocking on doors offering cash-in-hand work.
They also say that visiting a vet’s surgery in person to renew a prescription where this could be done over the phone is also banned.
Furthermore, visiting a friend in their home or meeting in public to socialise is also banned under the guidelines after the lockdown was brought in on March 23.
The coronavirus lockdown is to be extended later today as Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned it will take time for life to return to normal.
But as ministers met to agree the details, one of the scientists advising them questioned whether the Government had done enough work on an exit strategy.
Professor Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said: ‘I think there’s a lot of discussion. I would like to see action accelerated.
‘We need to put in place an infrastructure, a command and control structure, a novel organisation for this.’
The Cabinet meeting to agree prolonging social distancing measures came amid signs the epidemic in the UK is beginning to peak.
But ministers were playing down expectations in the wake of those signs with health minister Nadine Dorries urging reporters to stop asking about an exit strategy.
She said: ‘There is only one way we can ‘exit’ full lockdown and that is when we have a vaccine. Until then, we need to find ways we can adapt society and strike a balance between the health of the nation and our economy.’
Mr Hancock said he agreed that things will not go back to how they were, at least in the short term.
He stressed the number of deaths is still ‘far too high’ for any exit strategy to be set out.
Crime in general has reduced by more than a quarter during the period in the UK with assaults, robbery, rape, burglaries and shoplifting all significantly down, it was revealed yesterday
A total of 13,729 patients have died in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm yesterday, up 861 on the figure the day before.
What do police say is banned during the coronavirus lockdown?
Buying paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen
Driving for a prolonged period with only brief exercise.
A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period.
A person who can work from home choosing to work in a local park
A person knocking on doors offering to do cash-in-hand work.
Visiting a vet’s surgery in person to renew a prescription (where this could be done over the phone).
Visiting a friend in their address or meeting in public to socialise.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said his party will back an extension to the lockdown, but has called on ministers to set out an exit strategy explaining how restrictions will eventually be lifted.
The Cabinet meeting today comes after the number of people who have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19 reached almost 13,000, with growing concern over increasing deaths in care homes.
Downing Street also confirmed that a review will take place into why people from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds appear to be disproportionately affected by coronavirus.
The PM’s spokesman said the NHS and Public Health England would take the lead in reviewing the evidence.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) also released data confirming the death rate for men with coronavirus in England and Wales is twice as high as that of women.
Covid-19 was the underlying cause in 3,372 deaths in March – the equivalent of 69 per 100,000 people.
It accounted for 7 per cent of all deaths in England and Wales that month – 9 per cent of all deaths for males and 6 per cent for females.
Yesterday, it was revealed police have issued 3,500 fines relating to the coronavirus pandemic with anti-social behaviour uand domestic abuse both rising.
But crime in general has reduced by more than a quarter during the period in the UK with assaults, robbery, rape, burglaries and shoplifting all significantly down.
Overall crime is down 28 per cent in the four weeks to Easter Sunday, while serious assaults and personal robbery have fallen 27 per cent and rape is down 37 per cent.
Meanwhile fraudsters have scammed Britons out of £1.8million, through getting into the homes of vulnerable people, phishing emails and fake products or investments.
Demand on victim support charities is also rising, and there has been a 59 per cent increase in anti-social behaviour – much of it related to social distancing breaches.