The government has published the COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021 setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how the restrictions included in this guidance will be lifted over time.
England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in this guidance.
From 8 March, some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will be changing:
- you will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This means you can sit down for a drink or picnic. You must continue to maintain social distance from those outside your household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted
- pupils and students in all schools and Further Education settings will be able to return to face-to-face education
- wraparound childcare can reopen and other childrens activities can restart for all children where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other childrens activities in all circumstances
- students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return
- there will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel
- those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure
- the rules on visiting care homes will change to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor
No further significant changes will be made on 8 March and restrictions requiring you to stay at home will remain in place. Later changes, including from 29 March, are set out in the roadmap.
The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised not to attend work, school or education until 31 March.
Summary: what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown
You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.
You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:
- shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
- go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
- exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
- meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
- seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
- attend education or childcare - for those eligible
If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.
Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you are advised to only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. We recommend that you do not attend work
You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).
You may exercise on your own, 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 cannot meet other people you do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.
Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.
Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8 March at the earliest.
Early years settings remain open.
Higher Education provision will remain online until 8 March at the earliest for all except future critical worker courses.
Who this guidance is for
You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law. There is additional guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you are advised to follow shielding guidance. We recommend that you do not attend work, school, college or university. You should 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)
You should avoid all non-essential meetings and interactions. In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.
Reducing the chance of catching or spreading the virus in your home
Coronavirus spreads from person to person through small droplets, tiny airborne particles known as aerosols and through direct contact.
To reduce the chance of catching or passing on coronavirus to or from the people you live with, you should:
- wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
- regularly clean frequently touched surfaces
- make sure you let plenty of fresh air into your home without getting uncomfortably cold. This should be balanced with other considerations such as comfort, safety and security.
There is further guidance on h