The U.K. Government has announced a number of serious measures to reduce contact between people. They come into force immediately on 23 March.
- People are required to stay at home unless they are leaving to fulfill a limited purpose – See below for exceptions
- All non-essential shops and community spaces are closed – See list below of what will close
- All gatherings of more than 2 people are banned – Unless you live together (so you can go to the shops or exercise together) or it is essential for work purposes (but all employers should be trying to minimize this)
The Police, the Government and Local Authorities will have the power to enforce these measures. They have the power to issue fines and disperse gatherings if you breach them.
The measures are in force for 3 weeks but can be extended by the Government.
LIMITED PURPOSE EXCEPTIONS
You can leave your house to:
- Shop for basic necessities as infrequently as possible – Basic necessities are food and medicine only
- One form of exercise a day – Only alone or with members of your family you are living with
- For medical need or to provide care to a vulnerable person in isolation – You can also move minor children between the homes of separated parents
- Traveling to or from work – Only where absolutely necessary to do so
While doing these things you still must be 2 metres apart from anyone who is not in your household.
SHOPS THAT MUST CLOSE
Below is a list of the types of business that must close from end of trading on 23 March. More businesses can stay open than just food shops and pharmacies.
Takeaway and delivery from these businesses is still permitted and online retail from them is still permitted and encouraged. We are presuming that staff to service delivery, takeaway and online retail are allowed to continue travelling to and from work. Planning regulations will be changed to allow takeaway and delivery to happen from premises.
- Cafes & workplace canteens
- Public Houses
- Bars & nightclubs including those in hotels and private members club
- Hair, beauty, nails, tattoo and piercing salons
- Massage parlours
- All retail – apart from supermarkets, food shops, health shops, pharmacies (prescription & non prescription), petrol stations, bicycle shops, home & hardware, launderettes, dry cleaners, garages, car rental, pet shops, comer shops, newsagents, post offices and banks.
- Outdoor & Indoor Markets
- Auction Houses
- Car Showrooms
- Hotels, Hostels, AirBNB, Campsites & Boarding Houses – unless a Critical Worker is occupying them or if they are a person's primary residence]
- Caravan Parks/Sites – unless you are living on it
- Community Centres & Youth Centres – unless hosting vital services like food banks or for the homeless
- Places of Worship – other than for funerals where immediate family can attend
- Cinemas, Theatres and Concert Halls
- Museums & Galleries
- Bingo Halls, Casinos & Betting Shops
- Skating rinks
- Gyms, Swimming Pools & Leisure Centres
- Arcades, Bowling Alleys, Soft Play etc.
- Enclosed spaces in parks
Continuing operating these business in breach will be a criminal offence – unless takeaway, delivery or online.
CRITICAL SECTOR WORKERS
Workers in the following sectors can still take children to school:
- Health & Social Care
- Education & Childcare – if you are needed to deliver education or care to critical sector workers' children
- Key Public Services – if necessary to run frontline services plus journalists and broadcasters in public service broadcasting
- Local & National Government
- Food & necessary goods – production, processing, distribution, sale & delivery
- Public Safety & National Security
- Transport – air, water, road & rail transport operators necessary for the COVID-19 response plus supply chain
- Utilities, communications & financial services
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.