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The government has released new guidance on staying at home and avoiding others during the Coronavirus pandemic. 

They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the Government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.

The Government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply.

Guidance

  1. Stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Stay at home

Staying at home is key. 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.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.
  • 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. 

Closing non-essential shops and public spaces

The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses. The full list includes: 

  • all non-essential retail stores - this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.

Stopping public gatherings

The Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

Exceptions:

  • where the gathering is of a group of people who live together. For example, a parent take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes, but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.