Coronavirus Advice & Guidance


National lockdown: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country.

Find out what you can and cannot do.

Applies to:
Who this guidance is for
This guidance is for people who are fit and well. There is additional
advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus
and households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection . If you
are clinically extremely vulnerable you should not attend work, school,
college or university, and limit the time you spend outside the home. You
should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.
Hands. Face. Space.
Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms
and could be spreading it without realising it.
Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.’
● hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 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)
In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others
safely .
When you can leave home
You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a
‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action
against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue
you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence,
doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.
A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:
● Work - you can only leave home for work purposes where it is
unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not
limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure,
construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance
● Volunteering - you can also leave home to provide voluntary or
charitable services.
● Essential activities - you can leave home to buy things at shops
or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these
things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone
● Education and childcare - You can only leave home for
education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for
children where they are eligible to attend. Access to education and
children’s activities for school-aged pupils is restricted. See further
information on education and childcare . People can continue
existing arrangements for contact between parents and children
where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles .
● Meeting others and care - You can leave home to visit people in
your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to
provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a
childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work, and not
to enable social contact between adults), to provide care for
disabled or vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance,
to attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care
where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a
person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a
looked-after child.
● Exercise You can continue to exercise alone, with one other
person or with your household or support bubble . This should be
limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your
local area . You should maintain social distancing . See exercising
and meeting other people.
● Medical reasons - You can leave home for a medical reason,
including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and
● Harm and compassionate visits - you can leave home to be with
someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape
risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home
to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if
permitted under care home guidance ), hospice, or hospital, or to
accompany them to a medical appointment.
● Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare
reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or
● Communal worship and life event s - You can leave home to
attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral
or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance
garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the
guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not
mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble
when attending a place of worship.Weddings, funerals a nd
religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to
someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can
attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in
exceptional circumstances.
There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave
home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying,
selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably
necessary for voting in an election or referendum.
Exercising and meeting other people
You should minimise time spent outside your home.
It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are
part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home
to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic
or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you
should not travel outside your local area.
You can exercise in a public outdoor place:
● by yourself
● with the people you live with
● with your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one)
● in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
● or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
Public outdoor places include:
● parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
● public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
● the grounds of a heritage site
● Playgrounds
Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and
swimming pools, must close.
When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your
household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble .
Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g.
wearing a face covering).
You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or
places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport,
unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.
Support and childcare bubbles
You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare
bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.
A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You
can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you
meet the eligibility rules .
It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these
You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to
stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is
best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the
virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.
If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a
childcare bubble . This allows friends or family from one other household
to provide informal childcare.
You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid
seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.
There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles .
Where and when you can meet in larger groups
There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others
from outside your household, childcare or support bubble in larger
groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted
purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the
regulations, and includes:
● for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is
unreasonable to do so from home. This can include work in other
people’s homes where necessary - for example, for nannies,
cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and
families, or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in
other people’s homes ). Where a work meeting does not need to
take place in a private home or garden, it should not - for
example, altho ugh you can meet a personal trainer, you should
do so in a public outdoor place.
● in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
● Where eligible to use these services, for education, registered
childcare, and supervised activities for children. Access to
education and childcare facilities is restricted. See further
information on education and childcare .
● for arrangements where children do not live in the same
household as both their parents or guardians
● to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as
well as between siblings in care
● for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who
may be placed with them
● to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of
another by social services
● for birth partners
● to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or
to escape a risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
● to see someone who is dying
● to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
● for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or
immigration detention centres
● to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable , or to
provide respite for a carer
● for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional
circumstances and only for up to 6 people
● for funerals - up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other
linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6
● to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone
receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to
accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
● for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or
parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official
elite sports pathway - to compete and train
● to facilitate a house move
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up
to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy
or any other form of support - but they must take place at a premises
other than a private home.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example,
someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted
as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson
can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for
work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
If you break the rules
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This
includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence,
doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or
are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police
can issue fines of £10,000.
Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus
If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe
illness from coronavirus. There is additional advice for people who are
clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus . Those who are clinically
extremely vulnerable should not attend work, school, college or
university, and limit the time you spend outside the home. You should
only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.
You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse
(for example, for work or education purposes). If you need to travel
you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your
village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce
the number of journeys you make overall. The list of reasons you can
leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:
● work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
● accessing education and for caring responsibilities
● visiting those in your support bubble – or your childcare
bubble for childcare
● visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits
where you have had an accident or are concerned about your
● buying goods or services that you need, but this should be
within your local area wherever possible
● outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever
possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area
to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
● attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary
If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead
and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow
you to practice social distancing while you travel.
Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your
support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing .
If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel
International travel
You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first
have a legally permitted reason to leave home. In addition, you should
consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.
If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so,
for example, because it is for work), even if you are returning to a
place you've visited before, you should look at the rules in place at
your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development
Office (FCDO) travel advice .
UK residents currently abroad do not need to return home
immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel
operator on arrangements for returning.
Foreign nationals are subject to the ‘Stay at Home’ regulations. You
should not travel abroad unless it is permitted. This means you must
not go on holiday.
If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check
whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.
Staying away from home overnight
You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for
holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for
doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not
This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your
primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you
don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.
You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:
● are visiting your support bubble
● 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, a vulnerable person seeking
refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
● are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the
athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the
home for training or competition
If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon
as practical.
Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan
parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law,
including where guests are unable to return to their main residence,
use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need
accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by
law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the
accommodation closing. A full list of reasons can be found in the
guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England .
Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively
with local authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups,
including the homeless.
Going to work
You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work
from home.
Where people cannot work from home - 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
Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare
or education, should continue to go into work.
Where it is necessary for you to work in other people's homes - for
example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so.
Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or
garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.
Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements,
and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their
employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and
equipment to enable remote working.
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.
Going to school, college and university
Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain
open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other
children will learn remotely until February half term.
In the circumstances, we do not think it is possible for all exams in the
summer to go ahead as planned. We will accordingly be working with
Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will
allow students to progress fairly.
Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following
courses should return to face to face learning as planned and be tested
twice, upon arrival or self-isolate for ten days:
● Medicine & dentistry
● Subjects allied to medicine/health
● Veterinary science
● Education (initial teacher training)
● Social work
● Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory
Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is
scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your
university will notify you if this applies to you).
Students who do not study these courses should remain where they are
wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their
university until at least Mid-February. This includes students on other
practical courses not on the list above.
We have previously published guidance to universities and students on
how students can return safely to higher education in the spring term .
This guidance sets out how we will support higher education providers to
enable students that need to return to do so as safely as possible
following the winter break.
If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between
your permanent home and student home during term time.
For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can
meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal
education or training, where necessary. Students should expect to follow
the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone
you do not live with wherever possible.
There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access
● Early Years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain
● Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to
use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare
activities (including wraparound care)
● parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other
household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child
is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not
be used to enable social contact between adults
● some households will also be able to benefit from being in a
support bubble
● nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in
the home
Care home visits
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as
substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact
indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an
You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19
to find out how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people
indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family
home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living .
Weddings, civil partnerships, religious services
and funerals
Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals are allowed with
strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure
venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.
Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious,
belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash
scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone
working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be
maintained between people who do not live together or share a support
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up
to 6 people. Anyone working is not included. These should only take
place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage
where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to
recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.
Places of worship
You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not
mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You
should maintain strict social distancing at all times.
You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of
worship .
Sports and physical activity
Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports
courts, outdoor gyms, golf courses, outdoor swimming pools,
archery/driving/shooting ranges and riding arenas must also close.
Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.
Moving home
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. If you
are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.
Follow the national guidance on moving home safely , which includes
advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face
covering .
Financial support
Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help:
● financial support packages for businesses
● financial support for closed businesses as a result of tiering
● claim for employee wages through Coronavirus Job Retention
● check if you can claim a grant through the Self-Employment
Income Support Scheme
● financial support if you're off work because of coronavirus
Businesses and venues
Businesses and venues which must close
To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to
close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods
and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found
in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England,
but includes:
● non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores,
vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops,
tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile
phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock
or agricultural equipment) and 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.
● hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and
social clubs; with the exception of providing food and
non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm),
click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink
(including alcohol) can continue to be provided by 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 the person
cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support
to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work
● leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms,
swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios,
riding arenas at riding centres, climbing walls, and golf
● entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls,
cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement
arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting
venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including
inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses,
fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
● animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and
wildlife reserves)
● indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens,
heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though
outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor
● personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail
salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and
skin piercing services must also close. These services should
not be provided in other people’s homes
● 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 services
Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be
open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions
can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and
venues in England , but includes:
● education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and
community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
● childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children
eligible to attend
● hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
● to provide medical treatment
● for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and
outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and
choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
● for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and
concert halls)
● for the purposes of film and TV filming
Businesses and venues which can remain open
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following
COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods
and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be
found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in
England , but includes:
● essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets,
pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers
of building products and off-licences
● market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
● businesses providing repair services may also stay open,
where they primarily offer repair services
● petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes,
vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and
vehicle hire businesses
● banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan
providers and money transfer businesses
● funeral directors
● laundrettes and dry cleaners
● medical and dental services
● vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and
welfare of animals