It is still very important that people stay home unless necessary to go out for specific reasons set out in law. These include:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open – to get things like food and medicine, and to collect goods ordered online or on the phone
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors for recreation
  • any medical need, to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape the risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Where parents or someone with parental responsibility do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes to continue existing arrangements for access and contact.

You may also leave or be outside of your home in order to access other critical public services, such as social services, support provided to the victims of crime, services provided by the Department for Work and Pensions, to fulfil a legal obligation or to move home in line with the government’s guidance.

A fuller list of the reasons you can leave home is set out in the regulations.

These reasons are exceptions - even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside the home and ensuring you stay 2 metres (6ft) away from other people at all times.

  • Wash your hands as soon as you get home.
  • Do not meet friends or family or others in their homes.
  • You can spread the virus, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Contact with friends and family

The government is looking at how to make greater contact with close family or friends possible and will explain how this can be done safely in the coming weeks.

When you do need to go out, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home. Most importantly, this includes the key advice that you should stay two metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Face coverings

Face coverings can help us protect each other and reduce the spread of the disease if you are in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops.

Staying at home if you have symptoms (self-isolation)

Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has either:

  • A high temperature
  • A new, continuous cough
  • A loss or changed sense of smell or taste

If your symptoms are mild, NHS 111 will usually advise you and anyone you live with not to leave your home. This is called self-isolation.

  • Anyone with symptoms should self-isolate for 7 days from when their symptoms started.
  • Anyone who does not have symptoms should self-isolate for 14 days from when the first person in your home started having symptoms.

Read more about self-isolation if you have symptoms of coronavirus

Check the NHS website if you have symptoms.

Read the full guidance from the government on staying at home and away from others.

How to stop infection spreading

There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.

Do

  • Wash your hands with soap and water often - do this for at least 20 seconds
  • Use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • Wash your hands as soon as you get back home
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • Put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards

Don't

  • Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

What to do if you need medical help

If you need medical help for any reason, do not go to a place like a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the online 111 coronavirus service.

If you need help of advice not related to coronavirus:

  • for health information and advice, use the NHS website or your GP surgery website
  • for urgent medical help, use the NHS 111 online service – only call 111 if you're unable to get help online
  • for life-threatening emergencies, call 999 for an ambulance

Read more advice about getting medical help at home.