Coronavirus: New tough measures to deal with national emergency

New measures are in force to tackle the spread of coronavirus in the UK following an announcement by the Prime Minister on Monday evening.

Coronvirus graphic

In a statement to the nation, Boris Johnson said that these are the only reasons people will be allowed to leave their homes:

– Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible.

– One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.

– Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.

– Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

Every citizen must comply with these new measures. The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.

Non-essential shops and public spaces closed

Last week, the Government ordered certain businesses – including pubs, cinemas and theatres – to close. The Government is now extending this requirement to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

– All non-essential retail stores – this will include clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.

– Libraries, community centres, and youth centres.

– Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.

– Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.

– Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.

– Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

Stopping public gatherings

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the Government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people.

There are only two exceptions to this rule:

– Where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.

– Where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

In addition, the Government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

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