Lockdown begins to ease as new coronavirus rules come in

People can spend more time outside and return to work if they cannot work from home as the government begins to ease some coronavirus lockdown measures.

From today (Wednesday) in England only, employees are being "actively encouraged" by Prime Minister Boris Johnson to return to work if it is safe to do so and you cannot work from home - such as construction, manufacturers and food production. However, people should avoid public transport if at all possible and are instead being encouraged to drive, cycle or walk. Workplaces should follow new "COVID-19 Secure" guidelines.

People should now aim to wear face coverings on public transport and in some shops where social distancing isn't possible and you come into close contact with other people. Coverings include scarfs, bandanas and homemade masks but NOT surgical or medical masks which are in short supply and needed by health workers. Public Health England has published an online guide on how to make a cloth face covering.

Unlimited exercise is now also permitted, providing you enforce social distancing - so you're at least two metres apart from people outside of your own household. People can now drive as far as they want to exercise "irrespective of distance" and for "leisure purposes" including sunbathing. 

You can also meet one person from outside your household - again whilst staying two metres apart. It has to be in an outdoor public place, NOT in a garden.

Physically distanced sports are allowed - such as golf, fishing, basketball and tennis - but only with one other person. 

But playgrounds, outdoor gyms and "ticketed outdoor leisure venues" - where there is a higher risk of close contact - are still off limits. 

People can also leave their homes to collect goods ordered from businesses and travel to waste or recycling centres.

Gardens centre are also able to reopen. 

Department for Education says childminders can care for multiple children from a single household from today if they are not already providing care for key worker children or vulnerable families.

Estate agents can now reopen, viewings can take place and removal firms and conveyancers can re-start operations, so long as social-distancing and workplace safety rules are followed.

Anyone who has already bought a new home will now be able to visit it to prepare for moving in.

Those who break the rules will now face fines starting at £100, which will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.

Read the government's full 50-page document by clicking here.

Read government FAQs on what you can and can't do.


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