Everyone’s actions have helped to reduce the transmission of coronavirus, but the most important thing we can continue to do is stay alert and continue to control the spread of the virus.

It remains essential that everyone goes about their lives in a manner which reduces the risk of transmission, whether they are at work, leisure or using public services.

When you leave your home, you should follow the guidelines on staying safe outside your home.

You should continue to avoid close contact and remain socially distant from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble – even inside other people’s homes.

You should wash your hands regularly – this will help to protect you and anyone you come into contact with.

Protecting different groups of people

Some people, including those ages 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women, are clinically vulnerable, meaning they may be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. As we continue to ease restrictions, this group should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.

Never visit a clinically vulnerable person if you think you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Meeting family and friends

Limits on the number of people you can see socially have changed. From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors.

When seeing friends and family you do not live with/are not in your support bubble you should:

  • meet in groups of 6 or less
  • follow social distancing rules
  • limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time
  • meet people outdoors where practical: meeting people outdoors is safer than meeting people indoors because fresh air provides better ventilation

Full guidance on meeting others safely

Visiting public places

You can spend time outdoors, including for exercise, as often as you wish. At all times, you should follow the guidance on group sizes and the guidance on staying safe outside your home.

You should plan ahead to ensure that, where you are visiting places like National Parks, beaches or other visitor attractions, you have checked that they are open and appropriately prepared for visitors. It is important to avoid large crowds where it may not be possible to socially distance.

Sharing cars with people you do not live with

As cars are small, enclosed spaces they represent a high risk for the transmission of Covid-19. We would strongly discourage you share car journeys with people you do not live with. If car sharing is unavoidable, follow theses simple tips to reduce the risk of infection.

Public use of face coverings

The Government have mandated the use of face coverings in a range of public spaces and recommend their use in all enclosed spaces where social distancing is not possible, or when you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet. Table A gives a summary of where face coverings must and should be worn. A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by health and social care workers. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace. Guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering is available.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you from others. However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

It is essential that face coverings do not replace social distancing or self-isolation. If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you and your household must isolate at home in line with the stay at home guidance. Face coverings do not change this.

Face coverings do not need to be worn outdoors, while exercising, in workplaces such as offices and retail or by those who may find them difficult to wear (for example children or anyone with breathing problems).

Going to work

People who can work from home should continue to do so.

All workers who cannot work from home should travel to work if their workplace is open. Workplaces should be set up to meet the new COVID-19 Secure guidelines before operating.

There is specific guidance in relation to work carried out in people’s homes – for example by tradespeople carrying out repairs and maintenance, cleaners, or those providing paid-for childcare in a child’s home.

Travelling safely

If you can, you should avoid using public transport, and aim to walk, cycle or drive instead. If you need to use public transport to complete your journey you should follow the guidelines in place.

From 15 June it became law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a; bus or coach, train or tram, ferry or hovercraft or other vessel, aircraft, cable car.

You should also wear a face covering in other enclosed spaces where it is difficult to maintain social distancing for example at stations, interchanges, ports and airports and in taxis and private hire vehicles.

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 10 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.

Read the full guidance from the government on staying alert and safe (social distancing).  

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.