Coronavirus: Will Boris Johnson ease the lockdown now he is back? What are lockdown rules?

27 April 2020, 05:30

The UK has been under lockdown since March 23
The UK has been under lockdown since March 23. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Can we go outside more than once a day? How long are you allowed to be outdoors for? And are you allowed to wash your car? Here are the latest lockdown rules in the UK.

To halt the spread of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the nation into lockdown on March 23 with strict "social distancing" measures placed on people.

After three weeks of the strict government rules which included one form of daily exercise, only essential travel to work and shopping for essential items only, it was confirmed the UK would be in lockdown for another three weeks at least - but this time the rules were slightly different.

Read more: Can you drive during the UK coronavirus lockdown?

So now Boris Johnson has returned to work will he ease the lockdown rules? And what are the latest lockdown rules? Can we go outside more than once a day? And are we allowed to wash our cars? Here's everything you need to know:

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Will the lockdown be lifted now Boris Johnson is back at work?

Some European countries have begun easing lockdown measures - as cases of coronavirus fall.

Italy and Spain - which have had some of the strictest rules - have been laying out plans to lift restrictions.

In Spain - the daily number of deaths has dropped to its lowest level in more than a month.

288 were recorded in a day - bringing the total to more than 23,000.

Some lockdown measures have been eased in the country - with children now allowed out to play.

Italy is also set out a plan for lifting its lockdown.

Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte says factories can start up again from the 4th of May - with retailers a fortnight later.

Bars, restaurants and hairdressers shouldn't expect to reopen until the beginning of June, though.

The country has had some of the strictest measures - and has seen more than 26,500 coronavirus-related deaths.

But, in the UK the government has rejected demands for an early easing of the coronavirus lockdown.

More than 20,700 people have now died in UK hospitals after contracting the infection.

Yesterday - the Foreign Secretary - Dominic Raab - warned the outbreak's still at a "delicate and dangerous" stage.

Now Boris Johnson has returned to work the Prime Minister has less than two weeks until the next review of lockdown measures - on May 7th.

The Government is said to be doing its "homework" in preparation for when the rules could be eased.

What are the UK lockdown rules?

Senior Police issued new guidelines for frontline officers setting out what people can and can't do after the coronavirus lockdown was extended for another three weeks.

The guidance issued by the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) and the College of Policing (CoP) gives more advice to officers on how to interpret the lockdown restriction laws - known as the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.

The three-page document set rules on what is a "reasonable" excuse to leave the house.

The list of excuses has been broken down into four categories - Necessities, Work, Exercise and Other Reasons.

The "reasonable" excuses include practising yoga in the park, collecting surplus food from a friend and taking an animal for treatment.

The guidance says buying food for several days, including "luxury items and alcohol", is likely to be a reasonable excuse for leaving your home.

"There is no need for all of a person's shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of snacks and luxuries is still permitted," it says.

However, the document suggests people should not be leaving their house just to buy paint and brushes "simply to redecorate a kitchen" but can purchase tools and supplies to repair a fence "damaged in recent bad weather".

It comes after more than 3,200 fines were handed out to people considered to be flouting the rules in England between March 27 and April 13.

Can we go outside more than once a day?

The simple answer is yes, you could go outside more than once a day. You could go out several times, but for different reasons.

For example if you absolutely cannot work from home then you could go to work, and then later take some exercise.

But, Government advice says you should attempt to leave your home as little as possible. So where you can you should try to combine several activities.

For example, if you are taking your daily walk then you could use this chance to do you shopping, combining two activities.

Official Government guidance states: "In order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times."

How long are you allowed to be outdoors for?

The official coronavirus guidance does not impose a time restriction on how long you can spend outside.

However, the Government has stressed that you should always observe social-distancing measures, and ensure that you do not come into contact with people who are not part of your own household.

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Are we allowed to wash our cars?

There are two separate elements to this. Firstly, if your car is on a driveway and you can easily be more than 2m from people outside of your household, then it's fine.

The issue comes when your car is parked on the street.

Officially, washing your car would not be considered an essential activity and therefore you should avoid doing it.

The exception to that is if you are a key worker and need the car to travel to and from work, then cleaning the car to the extent that it is safe to drive and clean from germs is obviously extremely important.

Can I go for a walk in the park?

With the Prime Minister's announcement, the Government and local authorities have closed all non-essential shops and community spaces which has meant many parks and playgrounds have been shut.

Can I walk my dog during the lockdown?

One form of daily exercise is permitted under the new rules, which could mean you walk your dog.

This means you will be allowed to leave your home and walk your dog once a day under the new regulations.

If your dog normally gets walked more than once a day either another adult in your household will have to walk your dog or reduce the number of walks to one a day.

The new guidelines mean you will have to stay socially distant from other dog walkers or members of the public you meet, you are advised to stay at least two metres away from others while outside.

Robert Dingwall, a professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University and a government adviser on the social dynamics of infectious disease outbreaks, urged common sense, saying: "If you have a dog, take it out for walks – but don't stop to hang out with other dog walkers. If you usually walk down to the local convenience store, keep doing that – just pick a quiet time to do it."