The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible in order to safeguard livelihoods, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS.

The government has published staying safe outside your home for guidance on what the new rules will mean. This page sets out key FAQ to inform the public and help you prepare for these changes.

This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

  What can I do that I couldn’t do before?

There are a limited number of things you can now do that you could not do before:

  • spend time outdoors – for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing
  • meet one other person from a different household outdoors – following social distancing guidelines
  • exercise outdoors as often as you wish – following social distancing guidelines
  • use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball court, or golf course – with members of your household, or one other person while staying 2 metres apart
  • go to a garden centre

At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, including ensuring you are 2 metres away from anyone outside your household. As with before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family in their homes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • visit a private or ticketed attraction
  • gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

  I don’t have to stay at home anymore?

You should stay at home as much as possible. The reasons you may leave home include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

These reasons are exceptions and a fuller list is set out in the regulations. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent away from the home and ensuring that you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

  Are you reopening tennis courts / golf courses / basketball courts etc?

Yes. Sports courts can re-open, but you should only partake in such activities alone, with members of your household, or with one other person from outside your household, while practising social distancing. You should take particular care if you need to use any indoor facilities next to these outdoor courts, such as toilets.

You should not use these facilities if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating.

  Can I meet my friends and family in the park?

You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors. Public gatherings of more than 2 people from different households are prohibited in law. There are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household.

  On what date can I expand my household group?

The government has asked the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) to advise on the concept of “bubbles”, which would mean allowing people to expand their household group to include one other household. For the time being, you cannot visit friends or family, except to spend time outdoors with up to one person from a different household.

  Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?

You can go out to care for or help a vulnerable person, or to provide other voluntary or charitable services, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Wherever possible, you should stay at least two metres away from others, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available).

  Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing – for example by cycling. Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.

  Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?

No. You can only travel in a private vehicle alone, or with members of your household.

  Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.

Leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work.

  Can students return to their family home if they’ve been in halls all this time?

In general, leaving your home – the place you live – to stay at another home is not allowed.

If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.