Social distancing greeting concept vector where two people fist bump at a distance but their shadows touch to prevent spread of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic

What can I do that I couldn’t do before?

The government has published staying safe outside your home guidance on what the new rules will mean. The following sets out key FAQ of what you can’t do when it comes to gatherings, public spaces, and outdoor activities in England.

From 1 June 2020, there are a limited number of things you will be able to do in England that you could not do before:

  • Spend time outdoors, including private gardens and other outdoor spaces, in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
  • Visit car showrooms and outdoor markets
  • In line with the arrangements made by your school, send your child to school or nursery if they are in early years, reception, year 1 or year 6, if you could not before
  • If you are an elite athlete as defined by this guidance, train and compete using the specified gyms, pools and sports facilities you need – which will, in the coming weeks, we hope enable others to watch live sport on TV

At all times, you should continue to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, particularly ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.

You cannot:

  • Visit friends and family inside their homes
  • Stay overnight away from your own home, except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
  • Exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • Use an outdoor gym or playground
  • Gather outdoors in a group of more than six (excluding members of your own household

I don’t have to stay at home anymore?

You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.

However, from Monday 1 June, you can spend time outdoors and meet in groups of up to six. You should stay alert and always practise social distancing with people from outside of your household keeping two metres apart.

The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time.

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, for example if you have been contacted as part of the test and trace programme, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

What else is a criminal offence?

It is a criminal offence to:

  • Incite others to commit one of the above offences by e.g. inviting people to a party
  • Threaten others with infection by coronavirus, for example by coughing or spitting in their direction

Can I meet my friends and family in the park?

From Monday 1 June, you can meet in a group of up to six people, including children, if you are outdoors. You should ensure you stay at least two metres away from the people you do not live with. Public gatherings of more than six people from different households will be prohibited in law.

There is no limit to the size of a gathering in an outdoor space if you are all members of the same household.

Try to limit the number of people you see – especially over short periods of time – and be sure to stay two metres apart when you do.

If I can socially distance, can I play sport with someone I don’t live with? What about tennis/croquet/cricket/Frisbee?

From Monday 1 June, you can exercise or play sport in groups of up to six people from other households, but should only do so where it is possible to maintain a two metre gap from those you do not live with.

For example: this means you should not play contact sports like rugby or football with anyone outside your household. But tennis would be ok as long as you aren’t doubles partners. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently, especially if it is used by someone else.

And if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home – this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Can I sit in someone’s back garden?

Yes, from 1 June you can spend time in gardens and other private outdoor spaces such as yards or roof terraces in a group of up to six people from different households. As long as you maintain social distancing at all times with people outside your household.

You should not go indoors unless you need the toilet or are passing through to access the garden. Avoid touching surfaces and if you use the toilet wash your hands thoroughly, wipe down surfaces, use separate or paper towels and wash or dispose of them safely after use.

If you no longer want to remain outdoors, you should go home. Don’t go into garages, sheds or cabins – these are all indoor areas and where the risk of transmission is higher.

Can I use garden equipment like tables and chairs? What about a climbing frame or paddling pool?

You should not be sharing garden equipment with people outside of your household because of the risk of transmission. You could bring your own or if you have to use chairs, for example, you should wipe them down carefully with household cleaner before and after use.

You should try to avoid shared equipment, for example you should use your own tennis racquet, golf club or basketball. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.

You should avoid using paddling pools and private swimming pools with people outside of your household.

Can I share food and drink, including having a picnic or a barbecue in an outdoor space?

Yes but stay alert. You should not pass each other food or drink unless you live together. You should not use plates or utensils that someone from another house has touched – either bring your own or ensure you have thoroughly cleaned them before using. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels if possible.

If you are in someone else’s garden, you must not go inside to help the host carry the food out or to help with the washing up.

On what date can I invite others into my home?

No date has been set. The risk of transmission is much higher indoors than outdoors, which is why you can’t go inside other people’s homes for now.

Can I visit a clinically vulnerable person?

You can see them outdoors but be especially careful. You can visit a vulnerable person inside if you are providing care or assistance to them, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Wherever possible, you should stay at least two metres away from others, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, cough into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser if washing facilities are not easily available.

If someone is defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and being asked to shield, you should follow the guidance for a shielded person as this is different to those that are vulnerable.

Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity? 

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance, as long as you can return the same night and do not put others at risk because of services you may need in the time you are away. You should continue to avoid using public transport and should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible.

If visiting other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – you must adhere to the laws and guidance of the devolved administrations at all times.

You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise social distancing – for example by cycling.

Can I use public transport if I’m seeing friends in a park or going to my parents’ garden?

You should avoid using public transport if you can. You should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you need to use public transport, use should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.

Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?

You should avoid sharing a private vehicle with members of another household as you will not be able to keep strict social distancing guidelines. The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on Private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.

Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted as long as you can return the same night. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.

You are not permitted to stay overnight away from the place where you are living for a holiday or similar purpose. This includes visiting second homes.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work or to host those self-isolating after arriving in the UK (where no other accommodation is available).

Can students return to their family home if they’ve been in halls all this time?

The general rule is that staying overnight somewhere that is not your home – the place you live – is not allowed.

If a student is opting to change their primary residence for the purpose of the emergency period to live back at their family home, this is permitted.

Will public toilets reopen?

Councils are responsible for public toilets and this decision is up to them. You should avoid using the public toilet where possible. If you need to use any of these facilities, you should practise social distancing and good hygiene (i.e. washing your hands thoroughly).

Can I visit outdoor tourist sites? What about indoor ones?

Yes, you can still travel to outdoor areas, such as National Parks or beaches. Some venues are not allowed to be open so it is advisable to check ahead to ensure the venue is open to visitors.

Indoor sites and some outdoor attractions are still not allowed to re-open.

Can I register the birth of my child?

You are permitted to register the birth of your child. You should contact your local register office who will be able to advise you on appointment availability.