Yesterday (March 23) Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced ‘national emergency’ measures to slow down the spread of coronavirus.
In a speech to the nation the PM said gatherings of more than two people – excluding those who live together – would be dispersed and people will only be able to go out to exercise alone, shop for essentials, travelling to necessary work that cannot be done at home, travelling to help a vulnerable person and picking up essential medical goods.
Police will have the powers to enforce these rules. There will be fines for flouting the rules. The measures will be reviewed in three weeks.
Retail exceptions to the government closure order
Supermarkets and other food shops, health shops, pharmacies including non-dispensing pharmacies, petrol stations,
bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, bicycle shops, garages, car rentals, pet shops, corner shops, newsagents, post offices, and banks.
Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational.
Cafes, including workplace canteens Food delivery and takeaway can remain operational.
Cafés or canteens at hospitals, care homes or schools; prison and military canteens; services providing food or drink to the homeless can remain operational.
Market stalls which offer essential retail, such as grocery and food.
Hotels, hostels, BnBs, campsites and boarding houses for commercial use and caravan parks/sites for commercial uses
Where people live in these as interim abodes whilst their primary residence is unavailable they may continue to do so.
Key workers can continue to stay in hotels or similar where required.
Where people live permanently in caravan parks or are staying in caravan parks as interim abodes where their primary residence is not available, they may continue to do so.
Community centres, youth centres and similar
Facilities may remain open for the purpose of hosting essential voluntary or public services, such as food banks or homeless services.
The government says it will do everything to support vulnerable people who are without a network of friends and families.
Places of worship for services
Funerals following the social distancing guidance; places of worship should remain open for solitary prayer.
Live streaming of a service without audience would be permissible.
Cinemas, theatres and concert halls
Live streaming of a performance by a small group could be permissible with social distancing observed.
Retail and public premises which remain open must:
• Ensure a distance of two meters between customers and shop assistants; and
• Let people enter the shop only in small groups, to ensure that spaces are not
• Queue control is required outside of shops and other essential premises that remain open.
Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day. Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.
KCC is keeping its nine country parks open – in line with the latest guidance – but the car parks will be closed.
A spokesman said: “We agree with the government view, that parks are an important community facility and can be the ideal venue for personal exercise.
“However, in an effort to keep the numbers manageable and to facilitate the required social distancing, we are closing our car parks. We will continue to welcome visitors who arrive on foot or on horseback.
“We will continue to monitor the number and behaviour of visitors to ensure that the government’s guidelines are adhered to.”
A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence. Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these
regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.
Staying at home
You should only leave the house for one of four reasons.
● Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as
● One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your
● Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
● Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home