Coronavirus illustration

Stay at home guidance

New rules on staying at home and away from others

The single most important action we can all take, in fighting coronavirus, is to stay at home in order to protect the NHS and save lives. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures. 

1.    Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes

2.    Closing non-essential shops and community spaces

3.    Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Every citizen must comply with these new measures.

The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings. These measures are effective immediately. The Government will look again at these measures in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible. 

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.

●    Shopping for basic necessities​, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.

●    One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.

●    Any medical need​, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

●    Travelling to and from work​, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.  

These measures must be followed by everyone. Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating​, and for the ​most vulnerable who need to be shielded​.  

If you work in a critical sector outlined in this ​guidance​, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. ​Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes. 

Please also see our Coronavirus latest updatesAbout the virus and Further information and FAQs webpages.