Q1014: Am I allowed to go out / leave my house during the Coronavirus emergency? What are the exceptions?
During the 'emergency period', a person must not leave, or remain away from, their home without reasonable excuse.
Your home includes any garden, yard, passage, stair, garage, outhouse etc. – you can still go outside to access those areas of your property.
Reasonable excuses that apply both in England and Wales include the need:
- to obtain basic necessities, including food and medical supplies for those in the same household (including any pets or animals in the household) or for vulnerable persons (see Q1010 for those who are classed as vulnerable persons).
- to obtain supplies for the essential upkeep, maintenance and functioning of the household, or the household of a vulnerable person.
- to obtain money from or deposit money with businesses such as: banks, building societies, credit unions, short term loan providers, savings clubs, cash points, and undertakings which by way of business operate currency exchange offices, transmit money (or any representation of money) by any means or cash cheques which are made payable to customers.
- to seek medical assistance, including access to dental services, opticians, audiology services, chiropody, chiropractors, osteopaths and other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health, veterinary surgeons and pet shops.
- to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person or to provide emergency assistance.
- to donate blood.
- to work or provide voluntary / charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible to provide them from home.
- to attend a funeral of another person in the household or close family member (or if no such person is attending, a friend).
- to visit a burial ground or garden of remembrance, to pay respects to a member of the person's household, a family member or friend.
- to fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court, satisfying bail conditions, or participating in legal proceedings.
- to access critical public services, including:
childcare or educational facilities.
services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions
services provided to victims (such as victims of crime).
- in relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing access arrangements ('parent' includes a person who is not a parent but who has parental responsibility for the child).
- in the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship.
- to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.
- to access recycling or waste disposal services.
- to take exercise alone, with one or more members of the household or with one member of another household.
- to visit a public open space for the purposes of open-air recreation to promote physical, mental or emotional wellbeing, alone, with one or more members of the household or with one member of another household.
- to collect goods which have been ordered from a business through a website, or otherwise by on-line communication, by telephone, including orders by text message, or by post.
- to undertake any of the following activities in connection with the purchase, sale, letting or rental of a residential property:
visiting estate or letting agents, developers sales offices or show homes.
viewing residential properties to look for a property to buy or rent.
preparing a residential property to move in.
visiting a residential property to undertake any activities requires for the rental or sale of that property.
- to take exercise alone or with other members of the household or person's carer (PLEASE NOTE: the Welsh Regulations state that exercise must be taken within an area local to the place where you live.
- to travel for work purposes, where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
- to visit a library.
- to move house where it cannot be postponed.
- to collect goods that have been purchased from a person providing a service via an order made online, by telephone (including text) or my post.
The Government have issued additional guidance regarding social distancing measures. Whilst this guidance does not form part of the law (other than in Wales in respect of the workplaces - see Q1016) whilst outside, it is important that the measures are observed to ensure the safety of yourself and that of others. It is each individual's personal responsibility to adopt the principles of social distancing, wherever possible.
The guidance sets out principles to be followed, ensuring that any time spent outside of your home is as safe as possible:
Keep your distance from people outside your household
Keep your hands and face as clean as possible
Work from home if you can
Avoid being face to face with people from outside your household
Reduce the number of people you spend time with in a work setting, where you can
If you have to travel for work, think about how and when you travel
Wash your clothes regularly
Keep indoor places well ventilated
Wear a face covering in enclosed places where social distancing isn't possible
Wear a face covering in places where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet (such as on public transport or in shops)
The 'emergency period' began on 26th March 2020. An end date has not yet been specified, but this is being reviewed at least every 21 days.
Failing to comply with the above rules is an offence and can result in a fine.