Detailed guide: Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer travel guidance for passengers

Department For Transport

January 16
10:55 2021

National lockdown

National lockdown applies in England.

The rules are different in the other UK nations. You should check the rules that apply if you plan to travel to any other part of the UK:

You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or to attend a medical appointment). If you need to travel, you should stay local meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall. The list of reasons you can leave your home include, but are not limited to:

  • work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
  • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
  • visiting those in your support bubble or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
  • outdoor exercise this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services
  • attending communal worship and life events, including weddings and funerals

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Car sharing is not permitted with anyone from outside your household or support bubble unless your journey is undertaken for an exempt reason. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the public transport guidance.

You must not travel at all if you:

Staying away from home overnight

You cannot leave your place of residence to go for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home or caravan, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you dont live with unless theyre in your support bubble.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if a legally permitted reason applies, including if you:

  • are visiting your support bubble
  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18, and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

Travel safely during the coronavirus outbreak

It is against the law to leave your home to travel unless for work or other legally permitted reasons. If you need to travel you should stay local meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.

You can help control COVID-19 and travel safely by walking and cycling, if you can. Where this is not possible, use public transport or drive.

You can also help control COVID-19 by:

  • working from home where possible
  • observing social contact rules
  • keeping your distance when you travel, where possible
  • washing or sanitising your hands regularly
  • planning ahead and avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • downloading the NHS COVID-19 app before you travel, if possible, and checking in where you see official NHS COVID-19 QR code posters

These restrictions apply to England only. The rules are different in the other UK nations:

Social distancing

You should 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).

Help keep yourself, other passengers and transport staff safe by taking the following precautions:

  • limit the number of people or households that you come into contact with, for example by avoiding the busiest routes, as well as busy times like the rush hour
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly
  • avoid touching your face
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • only touch surfaces where required for safe travel
  • stay outdoors, rather than indoors, where possible
  • minimise the time spent close to other people, where possible
  • avoid loud talking, shouting or singing
  • dispose of waste safely, including items such as used disposable face coverings

You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England unless you are exempt.

Social contact

When travelling on public transport, aircraft, taxis, private hire vehicles, coaches, ferries or other maritime vessels, you must not gather with others outside of your household or support bubble.

There are some activities for which individuals are still permitted to travel in groups that do not otherwise conform to the requirements of the social contact rules. This is only where travel is reasonably necessary in order to carry out a specific activity, including:

  • with work, for example, transport organised by an employer during the course of your work
  • providing support to a vulnerable person
  • providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm
  • making arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • training or competition, where the person concerned is an elite sportsperson
  • where fulfilling a legal obligation such as attending court or jury service

The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing a fixed penalty notice of 200 for the first offence.

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • 200 for the first offence, lowered to 100 if paid within 14 days
  • 400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of 6,400

The rules

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