The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as we can, for as many people as we can, as quickly and fairly as possible. The aim is to safeguard livelihoods in a way that is safe and continues to protect the NHS.
The latest Government guidance states that you must:
- stay at home as much as possible
- work from home if you can
- limit contact with other people
- keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
- wash your hands regularly
- self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms
Public spaces, outdoor activity, and exercise
What can I do from Wednesday 13 May that I could not do before?
There will be a limited number of things you can do from Wednesday 13 May that you cannot do now:
- spend time outdoors, for example sitting and enjoying the fresh air, picnicking, or sunbathing, following social distancing guidelines
- meet one other person from a different household outdoors - following social distancing guidelines
- exercise outdoors as often as you wish, following social distancing guidelines
- use outdoor sports courts or facilities, such as a tennis or basketball courts, or golf courses, with members of your household, or one other person, while staying two metres apart
- go to a garden centre
At all times, you should continue to observe social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home. This includes ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.
As with before, you cannot:
- visit friends and family in their homes
- exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
- use an outdoor gym or playground
- visit a private or ticketed attraction
- gather in a group of more than two (excluding members of your own household), except for a few specific exceptions set out in law (for work, funerals, house moves, supporting the vulnerable, in emergencies and to fulfil legal obligations)
Does that mean I do not have to stay at home anymore?
You should stay at home as much as possible. The reasons you may leave home include:
- for work, where you cannot work from home
- going to shops that are permitted to be open to get things like food and medicine
- to exercise or spend time outdoors
- any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
Are you reopening golf courses and the sailing centre?
All Wirral Council’s golf courses, and the sailing centre will remain closed temporarily.
We have been reviewing the detail from Central Government on reopening certain services. We are working hard behind the scenes to get everything ready, as quickly as we can, while keeping the safety of our staff, residents and customers at the heart of what we do.
Can I meet my friends and family in the park?
You can meet one other person from outside your household if you are outdoors, following social distancing guidelines.
Public gatherings of more than two people from different households are prohibited in law. There are no limits on gatherings in the park with members of your household.
Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?
You can go out to care for or help a vulnerable person, or to provide other voluntary or charitable services, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.
Wherever possible, you should stay at least 2 metres away from others, and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (or use hand sanitiser if soap and water are not available).
Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?
No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance. You should not travel with someone from outside your household unless you can practise safe social distancing. The only exception is that you cannot drive from England to Wales for outdoor activity.
Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?
No. You can only travel in a private vehicle alone, or with members of your household.
Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?
Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household.
Leaving your home, the place you live, to stay at another home for a holiday or other purpose is not allowed. This includes visiting second homes.
Can students return to their family home if they have been in halls all this time?
If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.
Vulnerable groups, shielding, age 70 & over, and care homes
Does easing restrictions apply to healthy 70 year olds and over?
The advice for those aged 70 and over continues to be that they should take particular care to minimise contact with others outside their household.
If they do go out more often, they should be careful to maintain distance from others. They and everyone should continue to comply with any general social distancing restrictions.
Anyone who has been advised to shield by the NHS or their GP, including those 70 and over, should continue to do this until at least the end of June.
How long will shielding be in place?
The Government has advised individuals with very specific medical conditions to shield until the end of June and to do everything they can to stay at home.
This is because they are believed to be at the greatest risk of serious complications from coronavirus.
Going to work and safer spaces
Who can go to work?
In the first instance, employers should make every effort to support working from home, including by providing suitable IT and equipment as they have been already. This will apply to many different types of businesses, particularly those who typically would have worked in offices or online.
Where work can only be done in the workplace, the government has set out tailored guidelines for employers to help protect their workforce and customers from coronavirus, while continuing to trade or getting their business back up and running.
Non-essential retail, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres will remain closed. They will reopen in a phased manner provided it is safe to do so.
There are specific guidelines for those who are vulnerable, shielding, or showing symptoms.
Do I need to wear face coverings?
Face coverings are not compulsory. However, if you can, you are advised to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces where social distancing is not possible or where you are more likely to come into contact with people you do not normally meet. For example, on public transport or in some shops.
A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings like those exposed to dust hazards.
Who can travel on public transport?
If you cannot work from home and must travel to work, or if you must make an essential journey, you should cycle or walk wherever possible. Before you travel on public transport, consider if your journey is necessary and if you can, stay local. Try to reduce your travel. This will help keep the transport network running and allows people who need to make essential journeys to travel.
Should people wear face coverings on public transport?
If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing is not possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example on public transport or in some shops.
The government are urging the public not to purchase medical or surgical masks as these should be reserved for health and social care workers.
Can I use public transport to get to green spaces?
You should avoid using public transport wherever possible.
Schools and childcare
Can children go back to early years settings, schools or university?
As soon as it is safe to do so the government will set out steps to bring more year groups back to school in a phased way.
Schools will be preparing to begin opening for more children from 1 June. The government expects children to be able to return to early years settings, and for Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 to be back in school in smaller class sizes from this point.
Secondary schools and further education colleges should also prepare to begin some face to face contact with Year 10 and 12 pupils who have key exams next year, in support of their continued remote, home learning.
The government’s ambition is for all primary school children to return to school before the summer for a month if feasible.
How can I be sure it is safe?
Schools can now operate if they are organised in a way that is compatible with minimising the spread of the virus. The next phase of measures will require the development of new safety standards to set out how physical spaces, including schools, can be adapted to operate safely.
Will children have to wear face coverings at school?
No this will not be required. The government will publish further advice on protective measures in schools in the coming weeks.
How will police enforce the new rules?
The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures. If you breach the law, the police may instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse. They may also instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so. The police can also take you home or arrest you where they believe it is necessary.
If the police believe that you have broken the law, or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law, a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice. This will be for £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days), an increase of £40 from the previous £60 fixed penalty amount.