the dos and don’ts

How to stay safe while going outside

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The whole country is on lockdown, and the government have stated you can only leave your home for the following four reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example: food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example: a walk, run or cycle – alone or with people you live with.
  • Any medical need, including donating blood, avoiding or escaping risk of injury or harm, or travelling to provide help or care to a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

What does this mean?

The Chief Medical Officer says if you cannot work from home, you are allowed to travel into work, even if you’re not a critical worker.

You cannot see anyone if you do not live with them. This includes elderly relatives, friends and other family members. Keep in touch with them via text, email or video call.

You may leave the house to help a vulnerable person, but only if you fulfil certain conditions, for example: not having any COVID-19 symptoms. You can find the rest of the conditions here.

You can only go for outdoor exercise once a day, and you must be alone or with someone you live with. You are not allowed to be in a group in a public space.

You must always keep 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, no matter where you are.

How to utilise your one exercise a day

The government have said you are permitted to leave your home once a day to exercise.

So, how can you best utilise this exercise? First off, follow the rules:

You must stay local for your exercise. This means not using a car or public transport to get anywhere.

You should only go outside alone, or with people you live with. This includes runs or bike rides; they cannot be done with anyone you do not live with.

You must always keep 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with. Gatherings of more than 2 people in parks and public spaces has been banned, and the police now have powers to enforce this.

Take hygiene precautions when you are outside and wash your hands as soon as you get back home.

Although no official time limit on outdoor exercise has been released, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove has urged joggers and cyclists to limit their exercise to around 30 minutes, but walks can be up to an hour. These numbers depend on the level of fitness you are at. You can find out more here.

Look here to see how you can walk the right way during lockdown. More into cycling? Read here to find out what you are permitted to do. Jogging advice can be found here.

If you’re heading out for exercise and find it difficult to maintain the 2-metre distance from everyone, unfortunately this means you should stop going out. However, going outdoors isn’t the only form of exercise you can get! Try out some indoor exercise classes here.

What about shopping?

You are still allowed to leave your house to go shopping, but only when you need essential items.

Shops that sell non-essential goods such as clothing or electronics are closed until further notice.

Supermarkets are still open. Many of them are using measures to help shoppers keep their 2-metre distance. This includes limiting the number of customers allowed in the store and placing down floor distance guides.

There are still things that you can do to stay safe. Only go to the shops when you’ve run out of essentials – Easter egg shopping is not essential!

If there is a queue at the checkout, make sure you are maintaining the 2-metre distance from everyone.

Remember to wash your hands as soon as you get home and use hand sanitiser immediately after touching a trolley or using a touchscreen at self-checkout.

You can go to the shops with someone you live with but cannot go shopping with anyone you don’t live with. However, many shops are limiting the number of individuals from a single “household”, so you can help our and help your flatmates by being a designated shopper.

Lots of shops have set aside certain hours of the week for key workers, the elderly and people with underlying health conditions to do their shopping. If you do not fall under any of these categories, respect their special shopping time and do not go to the shops then.

Use delivery services where possible. This will empty up shops and streets and help flatten the curve.

Here is how you can clean your groceries once you get them.

Finally, don’t bulk buy or stockpile. There are enough supplies to go around if we share.

Worried about getting medicine?

Medicine is, of course, an essential item. Pharmacies are remaining open for people to collect their medication or health products, and you are still able to collect medicine for other people.

While in a pharmacy, remember to maintain social distancing by keeping a 2-metre distance from staff and customers. It may be a good idea to see if you can get your medicine delivered.

You may leave your home if you need to go to the dentist, GP, or other medical appointments.

GP practices may postpone non-urgent health checks or routine appointments, so be prepared for that.

Only go to the doctor if there is an essential medical need. If you think you may have COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with the symptoms, stay at home.

You can leave your home to donate blood, but only if you are fit and well, and do not have any COVID-19 symptoms.

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