Rules announced

Coronavirus - Stay alert

Recognising the impact that lockdown is having on family and friends who have been unable to see each other, the Prime Minister announced that groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1st June, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed.

The evidence shows that the risk of transmission is significantly lower outdoors and this step will mean that people can see more of their friends, family and loved ones.

However, as we take this small step forward, it is critical that those from different households continue to stay 2 metres apart. And it remains the case that people should not spend time inside the homes of their friends and families, other than to access the garden or use the toilet.

The Prime Minister announced the change as he set out a carefully-designed package to ease the burdens of lockdown in a way that is expected to keep the R rate down.

Thanks to the public’s continued patience and hard work in helping to protect the NHS and contain the virus, the Prime Minister confirmed that the government’s five tests are being met. This means we can now move forward to the next phase of adjusting the lockdown.

Minimising contact with others is still the best way to prevent transmission. The Prime Minister was clear that people should try to avoid seeing people from too many households in quick succession - so that we can avoid the risk of quick transmission between lots of different families and continue to control the virus. Those who are shielding should continue to do so. The Government recognises the toll this is taking on groups that have been asked to shield and hopes to say more soon on what further support we can provide.

In line with the Prime Minister’s announcements earlier this week, a series of measures will be put in place in England from Monday 1 June in three core areas – schools, retail, and social contact.

Primary schools will welcome back children in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 on 1 June, and nurseries and other early years settings will be reopened. On 15 June, secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for Year 10 and 12 and the equivalent groups in further education. This will help students prepare for exams next year, and we expect there to be around a quarter of these secondary students in at any point.

The Prime Minister has also acknowledged that some schools may not be able to reopen immediately, and has committed the government to continuing to work with the sector to ensure any schools experiencing difficulties are able to open as soon as possible.

Thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres will also begin to reopen in June as we restart the economy.

Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to reopen from 1 June, provided they meet COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect shoppers and workers. We intend to open all other non-essential retail from 15 June, as long as the government’s five tests are still being met and COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed.

On Sunday 10th May the Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the nation on coronavirus. The Government has introduced new measures asking people to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

“Stay alert” - is asking you to interpret the measures using the principles of social distancing that you all now know and apply them to your personal situation - and to stay alert to risk.

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On Monday 11th May the Prime Minister gave a statement to the House about the Government’s ‘Road Map’ to unwinding the lockdown measures. You can watch the statement here:

The Government has also published an extended document to lay out the plan in more detail, and to provide the background information on which the plan is based. If you have specific questions you can read the full guidance below.

The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to balancing our life-saving measures with rebuilding our economy and society. It is subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread.

The roadmap will be kept constantly under review.


The Government's roadmap to lift restrictions step-by-step

The Government has a carefully planned timetable for lifting restrictions, with dates that should help people to plan. This timetable depends on successfully controlling the spread of the virus; if the evidence shows sufficient progress is not being made in controlling the virus then the lifting of restrictions may have to be delayed.

We cannot predict with absolute certainty what the impact of lifting restrictions will be. If, after lifting restrictions, the Government sees a sudden and concerning rise in the infection rate then it may have to re-impose some restrictions. It will seek to do so in as limited and targeted a way as possible, including reacting by re-imposing restrictions in specific geographic areas or in limited sectors where it is proportionate to do so.

Step One:

The changes to policy in this step will apply from Wednesday 13 May in England. As the rate of infection may be different in different parts of the UK, this guidance should be considered alongside local public health and safety requirements for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.


For the foreseeable future, workers should continue to work from home rather than their normal physical workplace, wherever possible.

But all workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open.

Sectors of the economy that are allowed to be open should be open. For example, this includes food production, construction, manufacturing, logistics, distribution and scientific research in laboratories.

The only exceptions to this are those workplaces such as hospitality and non- essential retail which during this first step the Government is requiring to remain closed.


The rate of infection remains too high to allow the reopening of schools for all pupils yet.

However, it is important that vulnerable children and the children of critical workers are able to attend school, as is currently permitted. 

The Government is amending its guidance to clarify that paid childcare, for example nannies and childminders, can take place subject to being able to meet the appropriate public health principles. This should enable more working parents to return to work.


As more people return to work, the number of journeys on public transport will also increase. 

Everybody (including critical workers) should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. 

If they can, people should instead choose to cycle, walk or drive. 

The Government will increase funding and provide new statutory guidance to encourage local authorities to widen pavements, create pop-up cycle lanes, and close some roads in cities to traffic (apart from buses).


Homemade cloth face-coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission in some circumstances. 

The Government is now advising that people should aim to wear a face-covering in enclosed spaces where social distancing is not always possible, for example on public transport. These are not intended to help the wearer, but to protect against transmission of the disease to others if you have it asymptomatically.

A face covering is not the same as a facemask such as the surgical masks or respirators used as PPE by key workers. These supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.

Face-coverings should not be used by children under the age of two, or by those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly.

Public spaces:

As well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to: 

  • Not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household
  • Continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household
  • Good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces;
  • Those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidance.

People may exercise outside as many times each day as they wish. For example, this would include angling and tennis. You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms or ticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touching surfaces.

You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household. This means you should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.

People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there.

When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.

Please keep in mind that some of the above measures, such as increased time spent outdoors, may come with some risk. It is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. 

The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.

Protecting the clinically vulnerable:

It remains the case that some people are more clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 than others. These include those aged over 70, those with specific chronic pre-existing conditions and pregnant women. These clinically vulnerable people should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their households, but do not need to be shielded.

Those in the clinically extremely vulnerable group are strongly advised to stay at home at all times and avoid any face-to-face contact; this is called ‘shielding’. It means not leaving thehouse or attending gatherings at all, with very limited exceptions.

Along with the support the Government is providing to those shielding, it will provide vital support for other vulnerable people, such as those at risk of loneliness. The Government is continuing to work to further support these groups, including by providing vital financial support to frontline charities working in these areas. The GOV.UK website provides information about the huge range of support that is available including from local authorities and the voluntary and community sector.The Government will continue to update the website as new services and support become available.

As the UK recovers, the Government will ensure people with disabilities can have independent lives and are not marginalised. This will include making sure that they can access public services and will consider their needs as the Government creates safe work environments and reopen the transport system. The Government will ensure their overall health outcomes do not suffer disproportionately.

Delivering these measures

Everyone is instructed to comply with these new measures. 

The Government have given the Police and other relevant authorities, powers to enforce these measures, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply..

The Government has determined that current measures must remain in place for at least the next 3 weeks.

Stay alert - Control the virus - Save lives


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OUR PLAN TO REBUILD: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy 1.73 MB