Coronavirus: What Is A "Reasonable Excuse" For Leaving Your Home During Lockdown Extension?

17 April 2020, 09:23

Police guidelines list "reasonable excuses" for leaving your home during coronavirus lockdown
Police guidelines list "reasonable excuses" for leaving your home during coronavirus lockdown. Picture: Getty Images

Police chiefs have issued new guidance about what counts as a "reasonable excuse" to be outside during the coronavirus lockdown.

Police have been told to stop people sitting on benches for long periods of time and those working from home in parks.

The new rules are taken from an internal document, titled "what constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live", which is designed to help police officers enforce the government's coronavirus lockdown.

> How Much You Could Be Fined For Breaking Coronavirus Lockdown Rules?

It comes as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the restrictions would be extended for an extra three weeks, with May 7th the earliest date that life could begin to return to normal in the UK.

The guidelines explain that it's "acceptable" for a person to stop for a break during exercise and even to drive to the countryside for a walk, provided that they spend longer exercising than they do driving there.

Moving to a friend's house to cool-off "following arguments at home" is also listed as a valid reason for leaving your home, though the move must be "genuine" and "measured in days, not hours".

There had been concerns in recent weeks that some police forces in England were planning to search through supermarkets trollies to check people were only picking up essential items.

The document says that buying "luxury items and alcohol" as part of your food shopping is allowed. It's after there were concerns that some police forces in England were planning to check supermarkets trollies.

"There is no need for all of a person's shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of snacks and luxuries is still permitted," the document states.

North Yorkshire Police Conduct Public Engagement To Warn Of Coronavirus
North Yorkshire Police Conduct Public Engagement To Warn Of Coronavirus. Picture: Getty

People should not be leaving the house to buy paint and brushes "simply to redecorate a kitchen" though they are allowed to purchase DIY tools for essential repairs, such as a fence "damaged in recent bad weather".

More than 3,200 fines were handed out to people flouting the rules in England between March 27 and April 13.

Reasons why you can leave your house during the coronavirus lockdown

What shopping is allowed during lockdown?

Buy several days' worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol

Buy a small amount of a staple item or necessity (e.g. a newspaper, pet food, loaf of bread or a pint of milk)

Collect surplus basic food items from a friend

Buy tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in bad weather

If you're out on your weekly shop, you won't stopped from browsing the "non-essential" aisles.

What exercise is allowed during lockdown?

Going for a run or cycle, practising yoga, walking in the countryside or in cities or attending an allotment

Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving)

Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk

In some circumstances, exercising more than once per day

What work is allowed during lockdown?

Key workers or other essential workers can travel to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home

There is no need for someone to produce proof that they are required to go into work

Some non-key workers have also been allowed to travel to work if they cannot work from home

Working from home doesn't mean you can work in local parks or gardens

Knocking on doors offering to do cash in-hand work is also not allowed

What other reasons can you leave your home?

Taking a pet to the vet for essential treatment

Move to a friend's address for several days to allow a "cooling-off" following arguments at home

Provide support to vulnerable people

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