Getting help with daily activities outside your home during coronavirus

If you have a disability or are more vulnerable to coronavirus (COVID-19), this guidance outlines some voluntary extra steps that you and those helping you can take to reduce the risk of getting COVID-19.

This guidance was withdrawn on

This page has been withdrawn because it’s no longer current. Read more about living safely with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Applies to England

Getting support outside your home

You are no longer legally required to stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with.

Find out how to stay safe and help reduce the spread of coronavirus

COVID-19 will be part of our lives for the near future, so we must ensure we manage the risk to ourselves and others. This guidance outlines some of the steps you may decide to take to reduce the risk of transmission to yourself and others.

Support from your local council

If you believe you need new or extra support, you should contact your local authority’s adult social care service. They can give you advice and information on what support may be available, and whether you can get it.

Find local authority adult social care services

Support from NHS Volunteer Responders

If you are vulnerable or have caring responsibilities, you may be able to get short-term help from NHS Volunteer Responders. Find out more by:

Who should help you

You can receive help outside your home from anyone. However, you may want to minimise the risk to yourself and others by getting support from either:

  • someone within your household
  • your carer (if you have one)
  • your personal assistant

What everyone should do when they provide support to you outside your home

A person should not support you if they test positive for COVID-19 or have any of the symptoms of COVID-19. This is particularly important if you are clinically vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable.

People providing support to you should follow advice on maintaining good hygiene. They should:

  • wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser

  • avoid touching their face, particularly their eyes, nose and mouth

  • catch any coughs or sneezes in a tissue or their elbow

  • put used tissues immediately in the bin and wash their hands afterwards

If you find it hard to communicate, you should ask the person who supports you to write down a plan. The plan should explain to others what help you need in case the person who normally supports you gets COVID-19 and cannot support you.

You might also want to take this plan with you when you’re out, in case of an emergency.

When the person who supports you writes the plan they should:

  • involve you as much as possible

  • write down any important contacts (family, neighbours, friends or professionals) who can be called upon to help you

  • include information about all the support you need

  • work with local social care and health staff to develop and share the plan

Getting support from someone who is not in your household, or is not your normal carer

When you are being supported outside your home by someone that you do not live with you may want to reduce the risk of transmission by:

  • limiting close contact with them and trying to stay 2 metres away from them when you can
  • washing your hands regularly and avoid touching your face
  • making sure the space is well ventilated if you are meeting inside – open windows and doors to let in plenty of fresh air
  • avoiding face-to-face contact – sitting or standing side-by-side is better. If you need to have face-to-face contact, keep it to as short a time as possible
  • wearing a face covering (unless you’re unable to) if you’re going to be supported indoors in crowded areas

The government expects and recommends that people wear face coverings in crowded areas such as public transport.

Optional badges: showing that you have a hidden disability and want to continue to socially distance

If you feel more comfortable continuing to socially distance, you could use a ‘please give me space’ badge.

If you want to indicate discretely that you have a hidden disability and may need additional support, you could consider using a Sunflower lanyard.

If you have symptoms

If you have symptoms stay at home and take a PCR test.

The main symptoms of COVID-19 are a recent onset of any of the following:

  • a new continuous cough
  • a high temperature
  • a loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia)

If you have any of these symptoms you should order a PCR test. You are advised to stay at home, avoid contact with other people, and follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts while you wait for your test result.

If you test positive stay at home and avoid contact with other people.

If you have COVID-19 you can infect other people from 2 days before your symptoms start, and for up to 10 days after. You can pass on the infection to others, even if you have mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. If you have COVID-19 the public health advice is to stay at home and avoid contact with other people. You should follow the guidance for people with COVID-19 and their contacts.

Published 21 July 2021
Last updated 3 March 2022 + show all updates
  1. Updated to reflect the ending of the self-isolation regulations.

  2. Updated to clarify that a person should not provide support if they test positive for COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive, or if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

  3. First published.