Your corona questions answered

This is government advice for England only.

WITH Covid cases increasing, the UK Government has introduced new measures to control the virus with the minimum economic damage, while ensuring schools stay open.

Here we answer your questions about meeting friends, having family over and how the new rules will affect YOU …

My grandmother needs a carer. How can she ensure she is not going to catch Covid if she hires one?

Guidance has been developed in collaboration with care provider representative groups for those delivering home care to ensure that appropriate levels of hygiene are achieved to reduce the risk of infection. You should speak to your care provider about the processes it is following to maintain good hygiene.

My children are starting to come home from school with snuffles and sore throats, but not fevers or coughs. Do I need to get them tested every time they complain of feeling “coldy”?

You should get your child tested if they develop one of the three main symptoms of coronavirus: a high temperature; a new, continuous cough; a loss of, or a change to, their sense of smell or taste.

I am a pensioner and I’m feeling very lonely. A social group I was previously part of has started meeting for dinners etc in small groups in restaurants. Would I be safe to join them? 

If you live in a Medium risk area you are allowed to join small groups in restaurants, either indoors or outdoors, as long as the number doesn’t exceed six. If you live in a High or Very High risk area, you can meet in groups of up to six outdoors in some settings, but you are limited to your own household indoors. Single households or support bubbles of more than six people are still able to gather together.

Can my local gym put on a class for more than six people? And can I continue to play in my football team?

Yes, you can take part if the general gathering rules in that area are complied with. In High or Very High risk areas, individual households or bubbles can participate in indoor sport but must not mix with other households or bubbles. Disabled indoor sports and supervised sports for children are exempt. Outdoor sports with more than six can take place if they are organised by a company or other recognised body, and where this body undertakes relevant precautions.

Can my daughter’s special-needs respite centre stay open for weekend care? They have more than six people there.

Yes. There is an exemption to the legal gatherings limit as long as it provides one of the following: education; training; support groups; formal registered childcare; other supervised activities for children.

We are a family of six and my elderly parents live with us. My mother needs a carer – which will make us seven. Is this allowed?

Yes, this is allowed because a paid carer is classified as a worker. Where a group includes someone who is working, they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit.

Since I am back at work with 15 people, can I have those people back to my house to socialise in the garden, so long as we keep the distance we would in the office?

No. Meeting with work colleagues outside of your workplace is not Covid-19 secure and there is an increased transmission risk.

Can I book two tables of six in a restaurant so that we can talk to each other, but not gather at one another’s tables?

No. Talking across two tables of six would involve forming a larger gathering or mingling, which would be against the law.

Am I allowed to invite five friends back to my flat for a drink after the pubs close at 10pm?

Those living within a Local Covid Alert Level Medium area may continue to meet up to five other people as long as they ensure social distancing and other mitigations, such as increased ventilation and good hygiene practices – for example, regular hand washing. People living in High and Very High risk areas cannot meet anyone from outside their own household indoors but could still sit in a garden.

How should I plan Christmas with my family this year?

With Christmas still two months away, the UK Government is keeping all aspects of its coronavirus response under review, based on the changing number and composition of cases in the country. In Local Covid Alert Level Medium areas, it is now against the law to meet anywhere with people you don’t live with in groups of more than six. Those living in High and Very High risk areas can meet in groups of up to six people outdoors, but are limited to their own household when indoors. Support bubbles and single households of more than six people can still gather together in all areas.

Help stop the spread of the virus and follow the official testing guidance at You’ll also find further guidance on meeting with others safely and more information on the coronavirus outbreak – see FAQs: What You Can and Can’t Do.


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