Find out what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in areas of the north of England.
An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston, and West Yorkshire. The government and relevant local authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus.
If you live in these parts of Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, Preston and West Yorkshire, you should follow these rules when meeting people who you do not live with. Separate guidance advises on the similar rules imposed in Leicester.
Changes to the law in Preston apply from midnight on Friday 7 August.
Affected local areas
- Greater Manchester:
- City of Manchester
- Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire:
If you live in one of the affected areas, in order to help prevent the spread of coronavirus, you must not:
- meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law)
- visit someone else’s home or garden even if they live outside of the affected areas
You should not:
- socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues – such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with individuals or groups from other households. If you run such a business or organise events on their premises, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 secure guidance
- visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances
The government has passed new laws to enforce the changes to meeting people in private homes and gardens. The police are able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices (starting at £100 – halving to £50 if paid in the first 14 days – and doubling for subsequent offences).
These new laws apply in Preston from midnight on Friday 7 August.
All businesses and venues which were required to remain closed before 31 July in both Blackburn with Darwen and in Bradford must continue to remain closed to members of the public.
From 1 August, in Bradford the following premises which were previously permitted to be open must now be closed by law:
- indoor gyms
- indoor fitness and dance studios
- indoor sports courts and facilities
- indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks
‘Bradford’ refers to the City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council.
‘Blackburn with Darwen’ refers to Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.
Changes in restrictions
Can I meet people in my home?
People from different households must not meet in a private home or garden. You must not:
- host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble
- meet people you do not live with in their home or garden
- travel outside of these areas to meet people in their home or garden
Your household is only the people you live with, or people within your support bubble. A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with any other household. Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing £100 fixed penalty notices.
People can still come inside your home for specific purposes, such as when they’re doing so as part of their work, including cleaners, formal childcare providers and repair workers. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes. The full list of reasons why you may gather with other people within a home or garden is included in the law. This includes visiting someone who may be dying, to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person or to escape the risk of injury, illness or harm.
Can I meet people outdoors?
You should only socialise in outside public places (like parks) in groups of up to 6 people from multiple households. Gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is exclusively from 2 households or support bubbles. You should always socially distance from people outside of your household.
There are some exceptions where you may be able to meet in larger groups.
I’m shielding. What should I do?
Clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer have to follow the shielding guidance from 1 August, unless they live in Blackburn with Darwen.
Can I go to public places like restaurants, gyms or shops?
You can still visit public places like cafes, restaurants, gyms or shops.
If you’re going to be indoors, you should only go with members of your own household. This applies even if you are going to a public place outside of the restricted areas. You should socially distance from other households at all times – unless they are in your support bubble.
If you’re visiting outdoor areas of cafes, restaurants or pubs, you should only meet in groups of up to 2 households, or up to 6 people from multiple households.
You should avoid socialising with people from other households when you visit shops, leisure centres, cafes and any other indoor public places.
How do I arrange childcare?
You can continue to use registered childcare provision, including childminders and holiday childcare providers. You can also continue to employ nannies – see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.
Friends or family who do not live with you cannot visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble. The only people who can help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble, or registered childcare providers including nannies.
You can still meet in outside public spaces (like parks) for childcare but you should only do so in groups of 2 households, or up to 6 people from multiple households.
Children of parents who are separated are allowed to move between households. The law include an exemption to allow parents and children who are not part of the same household to continue an arrangement for access or contact to each other.
Can I go to work?
People living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces must implement COVID-19 secure guidance.
Can I go to religious ceremonies or places of worship?
You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).
If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.
Can I go to a wedding or funeral?
Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can still go ahead in these areas, but they must have no more than 30 people, and comply with COVID-19 Secure guidance and venue capacity.
People living outside of these areas can travel to these areas to attend a wedding, civil partnership or funeral, but they should not meet with another household in a private home or garden.
Wedding receptions or parties should not currently take place. No celebrations involving more than one household or support bubble should take place in a house, garden or indoor public places like hotels, pubs and restaurants. Celebrations outdoors can include up to 6 people from different households. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.
Can I travel in my area?
You should try not to share a car with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:
- share the transport with the same people each time
- keep to small groups of people at any one time
- open windows for ventilation
- travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them
- face away from each other
- consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
See more guidance on car sharing and travelling with people outside your household group.
Can I travel outside of my area?
You should not travel outside of your area to meet people other than those in your support bubble, in their homes or gardens, or indoor public places.
You can still go on holiday outside of your area, but you can only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with).
Can I visit friends or family in a care home?
You should not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances.
Can I move home?
Estate and letting agents as well as removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.
See guidance on moving home during coronavirus.