Can I drive during the lockdown and how far can I go?

BRITS have been told they can now drive to outdoor open spaces under new steps for easing lockdown restrictions.

In an address to the nation, Prime Minister Boris Johnson yesterday revealed a detailed roadmap of how to get Britain back on its feet.

Mr Johnson has today gone into further detail about how these new measures will work in practice, by releasing a 50-page document exploring his plan in more detail.

The huge plan revealed:

  • Brits will be advised to wear face masks on public transport and anywhere where people can't stay two metres apart
  • The government wants all primary school kids to go back to school for a month before the summer holidays
  • The public are now allowed to go outside for leisure reasons, but they can't stay overnight for a holiday
  • Sporting events to take place behind closed-doors for broadcast within weeks

Previously, Brits were told to “stay home” and only go outside if absolutely necessary.

This included going out for food and essentials, or leaving your house for one bit of exercise per day.

But now, the Prime Minister is instead telling the public to “stay alert” to try and keep coronavirus under control.

Businesses that must remain closed

WHILE the government is encouraging some to return to work, it says the following businesses and venues are required by law to stay closed to the public:

  • Restaurants and cafes, other than for takeaway
  • Pubs, cinemas, theatres and nightclubs
  • Clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets not selling food
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, gyms, arcades and soft play facilities – although outdoor sports facilities, such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses and bowling greens, will be allowed to reopen from May 13
  • Some communal places within parks, such as playgrounds and outdoor gyms
  • Places of worship (except for funerals)
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use, excluding use by those who live in them permanently, those who are unable to return home and critical workers where they need to for work

Food retailers, food markets, and hardware stores can remain open, while garden centres and certain other retailers can reopen from May 13. 

Part of this easing, which will come into place on Wednesday, May 13, includes allowing Brits to start taking day-trips in their cars.

Day-trippers won't be allowed to stay over anywhere overnight, and they’ll still need to follow strict social distancing measures.

Anyone who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild, or is in a household where someone has symptoms, should still not leave their house.

How far can I drive during lockdown?

From Wednesday, May 13, motorists will be allowed to drive as far as they like in England.

The government states you'll only be able to visit "open outdoor" spaces.

You’ll also still be expected to follow social distancing measures and stay two metres away from people who aren't in your household.

The government says: “These measures may come with some risk; it is important that everyone continues to act responsibly, as the large majority have done to date. 

“The infection rate will increase if people begin to break these rules and, for example, mix in groups in parks, which will trigger the need for further restrictions.”

Previously, drivers were fined up to hundreds of pounds if they were found to be driving without a valid reason.

Can I drive to Scotland and Wales?

The new measures regarding driving will only be in place in England, so a trip to neighbouring countries is off the cards for now.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are continuing to ask households to stay at home.

The government says: “When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.”

Can I use my car to see other people?

From Wednesday, May 13, you'll be allowed to meet with one other person who is not from your household.

But you'll only be allowed to see one person at a time, and you must keep a safe distance of two metres.

People can only meet up in public spaces for now – so you won't be able to drive to someone's house, or sit in their garden.

This only applies to people in England.

However, ministers are looking at allowing one household to see another one.

This could be based on the New Zealand model of household "bubbles" where a single "bubble" is the people you live with.

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