Coronavirus: Six reasons it's OK to leave your house, according to Boris Johnson

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Boris Johnson has told people to remain indoors to stop the spread of coronavirus. (Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP)

The UK has entered its second week of lockdown, a set of measures designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The restrictions, unprecedented in modern peacetime, have changed the lives of Britons completely.

They have been put in place to stop the NHS being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients and polling by YouGov showed strong support when they were implemented.

But there has also been criticism that there is confusion over when you can and can’t leave the house, with differences appearing between government advice and the legislation recently passed by parliament.

The police have the power to fine people in breach of the new coronavirus laws.

Here are the reasons you should leave your home, according to Boris Johnson’s plea to stay indoors as much as possible.

Shopping for essentials

You can head out to go and shop for basic necessities, including food and medicine.

The government has asked shoppers to make their trips to stores as infrequently as possible.

Stores have also implemented social distancing and certain hours are reserved for medical staff and more vulnerable people, and this can be checked in advance,

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said shopping should be limited to once a week but the government has since said that is not in line with official advice.

One form of exercise a day

Leaving the house to go for a run, walk or cycle is fine and counts as a necessary reason to be out.

This should be done alone or with members of your household, and can include going to the park as long as you are not congregating with people outside of your home and keeping a safe distance between yourself and others.

The government has asked for this to be limited to one form of outdoor exercise a day, and asks that you stay local, using open spaces near your home.

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Medical need

Any trip needed for medical necessity is allowed, which includes going to the dentist, donating blood and visiting the GP, though the latter may put off trips that aren’t urgent.

The government also advises that you can leave to avoid or escape injury or risk of harm.

Commuting to work

Employees who can work from home should do just that.

But the government has accepted that if you are unable to stay at home, you can travel to and from your place of work.

Employers should make every effort to allow home working, including by providing stable IT and equipment.

Looking after animals

You can still take the dog for a walk.

This includes walking dogs belonging to vulnerable people who are shielding themselves from others or people who are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus.

However, dog walkers doing this should ensure they wash their hands before touching their pet and maintain distance from the isolated person, especially when handing the pet back.

Cat owners should ensure they wash their hands before touching their pet.

Non-essential trips to the vet should be avoided and any urgent treatment should be discussed with a vet over the phone to decide the best course of action.

Helping vulnerable people

You can go out to help a vulnerable person but only if you are under 70, not pregnant, and have no long-term health conditions making you at-risk from coronavirus.

You should also be well, with no symptoms of coronavirus like a cough or fever and nobody in your household should have them either.

Anyone who meets that criteria can help the vulnerable, including friends, family and neighbours who are isolating.

You should not enter their homes and keep a minimum of two metres apart. Avoid sharing a car journey together.

The government also recommends picking up their items while you do your own shopping to minimise trips out of the house.

You can also pick up their medication and walk their dog, while ensuring you aren’t risking passing coronavirus on.

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