Coronavirus rules: How far can you travel to exercise? Can the police fine you?

12 January 2021, 17:19 | Updated: 12 January 2021, 19:17

Police are cracking down on people who flout covid restrictions
Police are cracking down on people who flout covid restrictions. Picture: PA

By Patrick Grafton-Green

As coronavirus rates continue to rise across England, people are being told not to leave home unless it is necessary.

But what are the rules around leaving the house and what is within the law?

When can you leave the house?

The Government recommends you only leave the house once a day, however this is not enforced by law.

According to lockdown law, if you do leave the house, you must have a "reasonable excuse".

These are set out on the Government website, and mainly involve shopping for essential supplies or exercise.

They also include medical appointments and emergencies, work if you are unable to work from home or taking children to school if they are eligible to attend.

What are the rules around exercising?

There are no legal restrictions in England on what form your exercise takes or how long it lasts.

You are allowed to exercise with the people you live with, with people in your support bubble or with one other person who is not in your household.

However questions have be raised around how far you can travel to exercise.

Boris Johnson has been criticised for travelling seven miles for a bike ride in the Olympic Park over the weekend.

READ MORE: PM 'within the rules' by taking seven-mile Olympic Park bike ride, Policing Minister says

How far are you allowed to travel?

The Government says you should stay local and defines this as “in the village, town, or part of the city where you live".

However there have been calls for more clarity on this.

Crime and Policing Minister Kit Malthouse told LBC: “What we’re asking people is... to consider whether they absolutely need to leave the house and if they are doing so if it’s for one of those reasons – to get food, to get their daily exercise."

He added: “We know that the vast majority of people will apply their common sense, see the reasoning behind the rules, recognise the problem that we face in hospitals and elsewhere and comply.

"Where they don’t sadly I’m afraid the police will moving much more quickly towards enforcement."

How are rule breakers being dealt with?

Britain's most senior officer has warned that officers will move "swiftly" to fine people who blatantly ignore lockdown rules.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Dame Cressida Dick said officers in London had issued more than 300 notices in the space of 24 hours for "flagrant" violations of the regulations.

READ MORE: Fines 'increasingly likely' for Covid rule breakers, Met Police Commissioner warns

Mr Malthouse has said officers will be adopting a new "high-profile" approach to enforcing the rules.

At a Downing Street press conference on Tuesday, National Police Chiefs' Council chair Martin Hewitt said he "made no apology" for the 45,000 fixed penalty notices issued to those breaking the rules.

"We will not waste time trying to reason with people like this, who have no regard for the safety of others," he added.

Why is it important to stick to the rules?

The new coronavirus variant is more infectious and it is therefore more important to restrict transmission by limiting person-to-person contact as much as possible.

Transmission is more likely when people are in close contact with one another for 15 minutes or more.

Keeping at least two metres apart and wearing face masks in situations where close contact can occur - like queues outside shops, public transport, inside supermarkets and schools - can help to reduce the risk of transmission.

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