The arrangements are set out in the following:
Minimising social contact is the most important way that collectively we can tackle COVID-19 and protect the NHS. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now introducing three new measures.
1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for essential activities
2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
3. Stopping public gatherings of more than two people
The Government expects every citizen to comply with these new measures. They are vital to saving lives and preventing the spread of the infection.
These measures will come into effect on Tuesday 24 March 2020. They will initially last for three weeks, until after the Easter weekend, when the Government will update.
1. 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 possible.
● exercise, such as a run, walk, or cycle. Making sure you exercise is particularly important at this time, but must be alone, or with your immediate household, and not more than once a day.
● 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. Your employer should take all reasonable steps to support you to work from home wherever possible.
There are some issues which we need to resolve including children travelling to school to collect free school meals. These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home.
These measures must be followed by everyone. Shielding arrangements which are already under development will continue.
2. CLOSING SHOPS AND PUBLIC SPACES
Last week, the Government asked certain businesses – including pubs, cinemas and theatres – to close. In Wales Caravan parks, campsites, tourist hotspots and popular beauty spots have been closed to visitors. The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of business and other venues, including:
● all non-essential retail stores – this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding grocery markets.
● libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
● indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades, and soft play facilities.
● communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
● places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
● hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excludes permanent residents).
More detailed information can be found here [MHCLG guidance] or in Wales, here, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.
3. STOPPING PUBLIC GATHERINGS
To make sure people are social distancing, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.
There are only two exceptions to this rule:
● where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home; or
● where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.
In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals attended by immediate family.
DELIVERING THESE NEW MEASURES
These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of COVID-19.
The Government expects every citizen to comply with these new measures.
If people do not follow these new measures, we will not reduce the spread of the infection. The Government will therefore be putting in place measures to enforce them, including through fines where people do not comply.
The Government understands that these measures will severely restrict citizens’ quality of life and economic activity. But they are considered an essential temporary response to bring down the spread of COVID-19.
They will initially last for the next three weeks, until the end of the Easter weekend, at which point the Government will review them.
** Departments are working up more detailed plans and arrangements around this announcement and further details of which essentials services are running still, and those all running from home working, will be made once more detail is available **