Guidance

National lockdown: Stay at Home

Coronavirus cases are rising rapidly across the country. Find out what you can and cannot do.

The government has published the ‘COVID-19 Response - Spring 2021’ setting out the roadmap out of the current lockdown for England. This explains how the restrictions included in this guidance will be lifted over time.


England is still in a national lockdown. You must stay at home, leaving only where permitted by law, and follow the rules in this guidance.


From 8 March, some of the rules on what you can and cannot do will be changing:

  • you will be allowed to spend time in outdoor public spaces for recreation on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This means you can sit down for a drink or picnic. You must continue to maintain social distance from those outside your household. This is in addition to outdoor exercise, which is already permitted
  • pupils and students in all schools and Further Education settings will be able to return to face-to-face education
  • wraparound childcare can reopen and other children’s activities can restart for all children where it is needed to enable parents to work, attend education, seek medical care or attend a support group. Vulnerable children can attend childcare and other children’s activities in all circumstances
  • students on practical Higher Education courses at English universities who have not already returned and would be unable to complete their courses if they did not return to take part in practical teaching, access specialist facilities or complete assessments will be able to return
  • there will continue to be restrictions on international travel. Holidays will not be a permitted reason to travel
  • those seeking to leave the UK must complete an outbound declaration of travel form ahead of departure
  • the rules on visiting care homes will change to allow regular indoor visits for a single named visitor

No further significant changes will be made on 8 March and restrictions requiring you to stay at home will remain in place. Later changes, including from 29 March, are set out in the roadmap.


The Clinically Extremely Vulnerable are advised not to attend work, school or education until 31 March.

Summary: what you can and cannot do during the national lockdown

You must stay at home. The single most important action we can all take is to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives.

You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave the home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person (in which case you should stay 2m apart). Exercise should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare - for those eligible

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay in your local area - unless it is necessary to go further, for example to go to work.

Staying in your local area means stay in the village, town, or part of the city where you live.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you are advised to only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. We recommend that you do not attend work

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You cannot meet other people you do not live with, or have not formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble.

Education

Colleges, primary and secondary schools will remain open only for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8 March at the earliest.

Early years settings remain open.

Higher Education provision will remain online until 8 March at the earliest for all except future critical worker courses.

Who this guidance is for

You should follow this guidance immediately. This is the law. There is additional guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you are advised to follow shielding guidance. We recommend that you do not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home. You should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Hands. Face. Space.

Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

Remember - ‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

You should avoid all non-essential meetings and interactions. In all circumstances, you should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

Reducing the chance of catching or spreading the virus in your home

Coronavirus spreads from person to person through small droplets, tiny airborne particles known as aerosols and through direct contact.

To reduce the chance of catching or passing on coronavirus to or from the people you live with, you should:

  • wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • regularly clean frequently touched surfaces
  • make sure you let plenty of fresh air into your home without getting uncomfortably cold. This should be balanced with other considerations such as comfort, safety and security.

There is further guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus.

When you can leave home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This is the law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:

Work

You can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance

Volunteering

You can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services. You must volunteer from home unless it is not reasonably possible for you to do so.

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services where necessary. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.

Education and childcare

You can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where the child is eligible to attend. Access to education and children’s activities for school-aged pupils is restricted. See further information on education and childcare. You can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can also form a childcare bubble.

Meeting others and care

You can leave home:

  • to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work, not to enable social contact between adults)
  • to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to attend a support group (of up to 15 people)
  • for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked-after child.

Exercise

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.You should maintain social distancing. See the exercising section of this guidance.

Medical reasons

You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and for emergencies.

Maternity

You can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth or, accessing other maternity services, or to be with a baby receiving neonatal critical care. There is NHS guidance on pregnancy and coronavirus.

Harm

You may leave home, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse).

Compassionate visits

You may also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

Animal welfare reasons

You can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

Communal worship and life events

You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, to attend a funeral or event related to a death, to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend.

Further reasonable excuses

There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, for the purpose of picketing, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum. See guidance on campaigning during the national lockdown. This applies to anyone campaigning for electoral events.

Meeting other people

It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You cannot leave home for recreational or leisure purposes (such as for a picnic or a social meeting).

Exercising

You should minimise time spent outside your home, but you can leave your home to exercise. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household

This includes but is not limited to running, cycling, walking, and swimming. Personal training can continue if participants are from the same household or support bubble. It can also continue if it is one-on-one, although this should only take place in a public outdoor place, and not in someone’s private home or garden.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public and botanical gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • public playgrounds

Playgrounds are primarily open for use by children who do not have access to private outdoor space, like their own garden. Although you can take your children to a playground for exercise, you must not socialise with other people while there.

Outdoor sports venues must close, for example:

  • tennis courts
  • golf courses
  • swimming pools

Allotments remain open, but you cannot meet with someone outside your household or support bubble there unless another exemption applies.

Children under 5, and up to 2 carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care, are not counted towards the gatherings limits for exercising outside.

If you (or a person in your care) have a health condition that routinely requires you to leave home to maintain your health - including if that involves travel beyond your local area or exercising several times a day - then you can do so.

When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household. This includes the person you are exercising with, unless they are from your household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble.

Face coverings

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law. Read guidance on face coverings.

Support and childcare bubbles

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. This means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you meet the eligibility rules.

It is against the law to form a support bubble if you do not follow these rules.

You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household, childcare or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:

  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, where it is unreasonable to do so from home. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary - for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes. Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not - for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor place.
  • in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
  • where eligible to use these services, for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children. Access to education and childcare facilities is restricted. See further information on education and childcare.
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • to visit someone who is dying or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony. This should only be in exceptional circumstances and is limited to 6 people.
  • for funerals - up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people.
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. Support groups must not take place in a private home. Examples of support groups include those that provide support to:

  • victims of crime (including domestic abuse)
  • those with, or recovering from, addictions (including alcohol, narcotics or other substance addictions) or addictive patterns of behaviour
  • recent parents (including breastfeeding, postnatal, and baby and toddler groups, for the provision of support)
  • those with, or caring for persons with, any long-term illness or terminal condition or who are vulnerable
  • those facing issues related to their sexuality or identity including those living as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender
  • those who have suffered bereavement
  • vulnerable young people, including to enable them to meet youth workers.

The limit of 15 does not include children under 5 who are accompanying a parent or guardian.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you are clinically vulnerable, you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. There is additional guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable. If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable we recommend that you do not attend work, school, college or university. You should limit the time you spend outside the home. You are advised to only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential.

Going to work

You may only leave your home for work if you cannot reasonably work from home, to help reduce the spread of the virus and protect others.

If you cannot work from home you should continue to travel to your workplace. This includes, but is not limited to, people who work in:

  • critical national infrastructure
  • construction
  • manufacturing
  • childcare or education
  • essential public services
  • essential retail, such as supermarkets and pharmacies

You do not need to be classed as a critical worker to go to work if you cannot work from home.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes you can continue to, for example if you’re a:

  • Nanny
  • Cleaner
  • Tradesperson

You must follow the guidance on working in other people’s homes.

If you do not need to work in other people’s homes you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working. Where people cannot work from home, employers should take steps to make their workplaces COVID-19 secure and help employees avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

COVID-19 secure guidelines are available for sectors across the economy to substantially reduce the risk of transmission.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable or live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable

If you have been identified as being clinically extremely vulnerable you are strongly advised to work from home because of the risk of exposure to the virus. If you cannot work from home, then you should not attend work.

If you live with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable then you can continue to attend work if you are unable to work from home.

You should follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus, including what to do to reduce your risk of catching or passing on the virus at home.

If you are worried about going in to work or you cannot work

There is guidance if you need to self-isolate or cannot attend work due to coronavirus and what to do if you’re employed and cannot work.

Citizens Advice have advice if you’re worried about working, including what to do if you think your workplace is not safe, or if you live with someone vulnerable.

Support is available if you cannot work, for example if you need to care for someone or you have less work.

There is further advice for employers and employees from ACAS (the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service).

Going to school or college

Colleges, primary (reception onwards) and secondary schools will remain open for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. All other children will learn remotely until 8 of March at the earliest.

Exams

In the circumstances, it is not possible for exams in the summer to go ahead as planned. The Department for Education will accordingly be working with Ofqual to consult rapidly to put in place alternative arrangements that will allow students to progress fairly.

Providers can continue with the vocational and technical exams that are due to take place in January, where they judge it right to do so.

Universities

Those students who are undertaking training and study for the following courses should return to face to face learning as planned:

  • Medicine & dentistry
  • Subjects allied to medicine/health
  • Veterinary science
  • Education (initial teacher training)
  • Social work
  • Courses which require Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) assessments and or mandatory activity which is scheduled for January and which cannot be rescheduled (your university will notify you if this applies to you).

Returning students should be tested twice upon their return to university, or they should self-isolate for ten days instead.

Students who are not on these courses should remain where they are wherever possible, and start their term online, as facilitated by their university or college. This includes students on other practical courses not on the list above.

We have previously published guidance to universities and students on how students can return safely to higher education in the spring term. This guidance sets out how we will support higher education providers to enable students that need to return to do so as safely as possible following the winter break.

If you live at university, you should not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time.

For those students who are eligible for face to face teaching, you can meet in groups of more than your household as part of your formal education or training, where necessary. Students should expect to follow the guidance and restrictions. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with wherever possible.

Childcare

There are several ways that parents and carers can continue to access childcare:

  • Early years settings (including nurseries and childminders) remain open
  • Childminders should continue to allow children to attend as normal except for school-aged children. Childminders caring for school-aged children (including reception children) should only admit vulnerable children and children of critical workers.
  • Vulnerable children and children of critical workers can continue to use registered childcare, childminders and other childcare activities (including wraparound care)
  • parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare, where the child is under 14. This is mainly to enable parents to work, and must not be used to enable social contact between adults
  • some households will also be able to benefit from being in a support bubble
  • nannies will be able to continue to provide services, including in the home

Travel

You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes).

If you need to travel you should stay local. This means you should avoid travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live. You should reduce the number of journeys you make overall.

The list of reasons you can leave your home and local area include, but are not limited to:

  • work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
  • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
  • visiting those in your support bubble – or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
  • outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and if you are able to do so avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance.

International travel

Travelling internationally from England

You can only travel internationally – or within the UK – where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home. The legally permitted reasons to leave home for international travel are the same as the reasons listed on this page in the ‘When you can leave home’ section. This means you may not travel to go on holiday.

In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

If you do need to travel overseas (and are legally permitted to do so) you should look at the rules in place at your destination and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice. You should do this even if you are returning to a place you’ve visited before.

Travelling to England from outside the UK

All visitors to England are subject to the national lockdown rules.

All those planning to travel to England must follow the guidance on entering the UK. All arrivals will need to take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on day 2 and day 8 of quarantining. Arrivals must book a travel test package. See the guidance on how to quarantine when you arrive in England.

You cannot travel to the UK if you’ve visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days, unless you’re:

  • a British national
  • an Irish national
  • anyone with residence rights in the UK

From 15 February onwards, everyone allowed to enter England who has visited or passed through a country where travel to the UK is banned in the last 10 days must:

  • quarantine for 10 days in a managed quarantine hotel
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before day 2 and on or after day 8 of quarantining, the tests are included in the hotel package
  • follow the national lockdown rules

See the guidance on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel when you arrive in England.

Advice for visitors and foreign nationals in England

Foreign nationals are subject to the national lockdown rules.

If you are visiting the UK, you may return home. You should check whether there are any restrictions in place at your destination.

Staying away from home overnight

You cannot leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so. This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

This includes staying in a second home, caravan or boat, if that is not your primary residence. This also includes staying with anyone who you don’t live with unless they’re in your support bubble.

You are allowed to stay overnight away from your home if you:

  • are visiting your support bubble
  • are unable to return to your main residence
  • need accommodation while moving house
  • need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services
  • are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • are homeless, seeking asylum, a vulnerable person seeking refuge, or if escaping harm (including domestic abuse)
  • are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18 and it is necessary to be outside of the home for training or competition

If you are already on holiday, you should return to your home as soon as practical.

Guest accommodation providers such as hotels, B&Bs and caravan parks may remain open for the specific reasons set out in law, including where guests are unable to return to their main residence, use that guest accommodation as their main residence, need accommodation while moving house, are self-isolating as required by law, or would otherwise be made homeless as a result of the accommodation closing. A full list of reasons can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England.

Accommodation providers are also encouraged to work cooperatively with local authorities to provide accommodation to vulnerable groups, including the homeless.

Care home visits

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows. Close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits will be permitted in the event of an outbreak.

You should check the guidance on visiting care homes during COVID-19 to find out how visits should be conducted. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out (for example, to visit their relatives in the family home). There is separate guidance for those in supported living.

Funerals

Funerals are allowed with strict limits on attendance, and must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked religious, belief-based or commemorative events, such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 6 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in these limits. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings, civil partnerships and religious services

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place with up to 6 people. Anyone working is not included. These should only take place in exceptional circumstances, for example, an urgent marriage where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover, or is to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery.

Weddings and civil partnerships must only take place in COVID-19 secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

Places of worship

You can attend places of worship for a service. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble. You should maintain strict social distancing at all times.

You should follow the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship.

Sports and physical activity

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed.

Outdoor sports facilities must also close, including:

  • sports courts
  • outdoor gyms
  • golf courses
  • outdoor swimming pools
  • archery/driving/shooting ranges
  • riding centres

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Elite sport may continue. There is further guidance on the phased return of elite sport.

Moving home

You can still move home. People outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless absolutely necessary.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work. If you are looking to move, you can go to property viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing, letting fresh air in, and wearing a face covering.

Financial support

Wherever you live, you may be able to get financial help

Businesses and venues

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The full list of businesses required to close can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected without entering the premises) and delivery services.
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and non-alcoholic drinks for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect and drive-through. All food and drink (including alcohol) can continue to be provided by delivery.
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, sports courts,fitness and dance studios, riding centres, climbing walls, and golf courses. Public playgrounds and allotments may remain open.
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, water parks and theme parks
  • animal attractions (such as zoos, safari parks, aquariums, and wildlife centres)
  • indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open for outdoor exercise.
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
  • community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services

Some of these businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities. A full list of exemptions can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • education and training – for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for those children eligible to attend
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. Businesses providing essential goods and services can stay open. The full list of these businesses can be found in the guidance on closing certain businesses and venues in England, but includes:

  • essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
  • businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
  • petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair garages and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • funeral directors
  • laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • medical and dental services
  • vets and retailers of products and food for the upkeep and welfare of animals
  • animal rescue centres, boarding facilities and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
  • agricultural supplies shops
  • mobility and disability support shops
  • storage and distribution facilities
  • car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • outdoor playgrounds
  • outdoor parts of botanical gardens and heritage sites for exercise
  • places of worship
  • crematoriums and burial grounds

Healthcare and public services

The NHS and medical services remain open, including:

  • dental services,
  • opticians,
  • audiology services,
  • chiropody,
  • chiropractors,
  • osteopaths
  • other medical or health services, including services relating to mental health

We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • courts and probation services
  • civil registrations offices
  • passport and visa services
  • services provided to victims
  • waste or recycling centres
  • getting an MOT, if you need to drive when lawfully leaving home

Easy read, large print and translated versions

National lockdown: Stay at Home (Easy read)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Large print)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Arabic)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Bengali)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Farsi)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Gujarati)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Hindi)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Polish)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Punjabi Gurmukhi)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Punjabi Shamukhi)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Slovak)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Somali)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Urdu)

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National lockdown: Stay at Home (Welsh)

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Published 4 January 2021
Last updated 22 February 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to include a summary of changes to the rules from 8 March.

  2. Updated to provide clarity on attendance at support groups and international travel, including guidance on booking and staying in a quarantine hotel. Also includes an additional link to Public Health England guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus.

  3. Updated to clarify the guidance on campaigning for electoral events.

  4. Section on "Going to work" updated.

  5. Updated guidance

  6. Guidance updated.

  7. Addition of large print, easy read and translated versions.

  8. Updated in line with latest government guidance.

  9. updated guidance

  10. guidance updated

  11. full HTML guidance added

  12. First published.