COVID-19 FAQs

First published: 26 March 2020
Last updated: 20 May 2021

With the current situation regarding COVID-19, we are living in unprecedented times. With this in mind, we have pulled together some of the more commonly asked questions you might have.

We can help control the virus if we all stay alert. With this in mind, you are advised to:

  • work from home if you can
  • limit contact with other people you don't live with
  • wash your hands regularly
  • wear a face covering where required, unless you have an exemption
  • keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible)
  • let in lots of fresh air where you can

Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

Please visit gov.uk/coronavirus for the latest official guidance and announcements.


Latest updates

17 May 2021: Step Three of the roadmap out of lockdown. Further businesses can reopen including indoor entertainment and attractions, and remaining outdoor entertainment, including outdoor performances. Outdoor gathering limits will increase to a maximum of 30 people, and indoor gatherings can take place in groups of two households or up to six people. Domestic overnight stays are permitted following indoor gathering rules, and hotels and other accommodations can reopen. Organised indoor adult sport can restart, following rules on social contact and gathering limits. Most significant life events, such as weddings, civil partnerships, bar mitzvahs and christenings, will have attendance limits increased to 30 people. Some large events can go ahead with capacity limits. International travel can resume, with restrictions.
You can read more about Step Three on gov.uk.

22 February 2021: Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a roadmap to move England out of COVID-19 restrictions. There are four stages, with the final starting on 08 March. National lockdown measures remain in place until at least 29 March.
You can read more about the roadmap on gov.uk.

29 January 2021: Anyone attending a restricted gathering of more than 15 people can be issued with an £800 FPN, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

27 January 2021: There will be further measures at the border, including the strengthening of requirements for some arrivals through hotel isolation.
You can read more about the travel guidance on gov.uk.

We are eager to remind victims of domestic abuse that you are not alone. If you need support and advice, please visit our domestic abuse help page.

Sections:

  1. What does the roadmap look like?
  2. Meeting or visiting family and friends
  3. Moving house or changing households
  4. Visiting places, including shops, restaurants, pubs and places of worship
  5. Working and running businesses, services and venues safely
  6. Leisure and recreation
  7. Gatherings and events
  8. Overnight stays and holidays
  9. Travel
  10. Crime
  11. Policing during the pandemic
  12. COVID-19 legislation
  13. Supporting our communities
  14. Other useful information

What does the roadmap look like?

The four tests

The Government will use four tests to decide whether it is safe to move through the four steps of the roadmap.

Test 1: The vaccine deployment programme continues successfully.

Test 2: Evidence shows vaccines are sufficiently effective in reducing hospitalisations and deaths in those vaccinated.

Test 3: Infection rates do not risk a surge in hospitalisations which would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS.

Test 4: Assessment of the risks is not fundamentally changed by new variants of concern.

Decisions to move to the next step of the roadmap will only be made based on these four tests.

Step One - Stage One from 08 March, Stage Two from 29 March

Stage One

The ‘Stay at Home’ rule remains in place.

Children and students can return to face-to-face education in all schools and colleges. Students on practical higher education courses will also be able to resume face-to-face learning. Face coverings are recommended for students in higher education, further education and secondary schools in all indoor environments where two metres distance cannot be maintained. Face coverings are also recommended for staff and adult visitors in all education settings where social distance cannot be maintained.

Childcare and children’s supervised activities can resume for vulnerable children, or to enable a parent or carer to go to work, seek work, access medical care or attend a support group.

People can leave home to visit a public outdoor place, or for recreation or exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, or with one person from outside their household. There must be no mixing indoors with people outside of your household or support bubble.

Care home residents are allowed one regular visitor. The visitor will need to take a rapid lateral flow device test every time they visit, wear PPE and keep physical contact to a minimum.

Funerals can take place with up to 30 attendees and wakes and weddings can take place with up to six attendees. Wedding receptions must not take place.

International travel for holidays is not permitted and outbound travellers are legally obliged to provide their reason for travel on the Declaration to Travel form.

Political campaigning activity can take place for the purposes of campaigning in an election or referendum, but guidance continues to be to do this close to home.

Stage Two

The ‘Stay at Home’ rule comes to an end, but there will still be some restrictions in place. People should continue to work from home where possible and are advised to minimise journeys where they can.

International travel will remain prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. You are still encouraged to stay local, and minimise journeys where possible.

Outdoor gatherings, including in private gardens, can take place between two households or groups of up to six people from different households. There should still be no mixing indoors with people outside of your household or support bubble.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts and golf courses, and open-air swimming pools are allowed to reopen. People can take part in formally organised outdoor sports. Outdoor parent and child groups can resume.

Step Two - from 12 April

Non-essential retail, personal care premises and public buildings can open.

Indoor leisure facilities, such as gyms and spas (with the exception of saunas and steam rooms), can reopen for use by people on their own or with members of their household or support bubble.

All children will be able to attend organised indoor children’s activities, including sport. Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not including children aged under five years old) can restart indoors as long as it’s not a private dwelling. Indoor play areas and indoor play parks, such as soft play centres, trampoline parks and inflatable parks, must remain closed.

Outdoor attractions, such as zoos, drive-in cinemas and theme parks, can reopen.

Self-contained accommodation, such as campsites and holiday lets, where guests do not require shared facilities or communal entrances and exits to their accommodation. Facilities that can remain open include reception areas, washing facilities, toilets, baby changing rooms, breast feeding rooms, water points and waste disposal points.. This is only permitted with members of your household or support bubble only. International holidays are still not permitted.

Outdoor gatherings can continue to take place between two households or groups of up to six people from different households. There should still be no mixing indoors with people outside of your household or support bubble.

Hospitality venues will be allowed to serve people outdoors. Customers must order, eat and drink while seated, and social contact rules will still apply to prevent mixing between households. There will be no requirement to order a substantial meal alongside alcoholic drinks and no curfew. Customers are able to enter a premises to pay for their food and drink.

Weddings, receptions, wakes and other commemorative events have attendance limits increased to 15 people.

All reopened settings must continue to follow social contact rules and ensure their venues are COVID Secure.

Pilots will continue to support bringing events back.

Step Three - a minimum of five weeks after Step Two, no earlier than 17 May

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings are removed. Gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

People are able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is also in place for domestic overnight stays.

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to open, as long as they are COVID Secure. This includes indoor entertainment venues and attractions, cinemas, children’s play areas, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors and outdoors. This includes all indoor hospitality, but they must continue to operate table service for ordering and consuming food and drink.

Some larger performances and sporting events are allowed. Indoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 1,000 or half full (whichever is lower) and outdoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 4,000 or half full (whichever is lower). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, capacities will be 10,000 people or quarter full (whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people are able to attend weddings, receptions, and other significant life events such as bar mitzvahs and christenings. Attendance limits on funerals have been removed, but must not exceed the maximum capacity of COVID Secure measures. Wakes and other linked commemorative services continue to be limited to 30 attendees.

Guidance around social contact is being reviewed at this stage, but you should continue to maintain at least two metres distance away from those outside of your household or support bubble, wash your hands regularly and keep good ventilation until advice changes. There will also be a review on the work from home, but this should continue until further guidance is issued.

International travel is permitted, but there are restrictions that must be followed when returning to the UK.

Step Four - a minimum of five weeks after Step Three, no earlier than 21 June

The below information is based on guidance issued by gov.uk and may be subject to change.

Step Four will only take place if it is deemed safe against the four tests. This will be no earlier than 21 June, but it may be later depending on if there are any delays following Step Three.

The Government expects to be in a position to remove all legal limits on social contact.

Remaining premises will reopen, including nightclubs, and large events and performance restrictions will be eased.

Restrictions on all life events will be removed.

People should continue to be cautious about COVID-19 as coverage and effectiveness of the vaccine will not be 100% at this stage.

Meeting or visiting family and friends

Am I still allowed to get help from friends or family for childcare?

Those with caring responsibilities for children within their household are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household for the purposes of informal childcare for children aged 13 or under. You should not swap bubbles and not use the collection or pick up of children as a reason to socialise with someone helping with childcare.

All children will be able to attend organised indoor children’s activities, including sport, regardless of circumstances. Indoor play areas and indoor play parks, such as soft play centres, trampoline parks and inflatable parks, must remain closed.

Can I have visitors in my garden?

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings has been removed. People are able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is also in place for domestic overnight stays.

No one should participate in a gathering outside of more than 30 people and organisation or facilitation of gatherings over 50 people is an offence.

Can I use equipment when visiting my friends or family's garden, for example tables, chairs, climbing frames or paddling pools?

The rule of six or outdoor gatherings is removed. Gatherings over 30 people should not go ahead, unless it falls under an exception.

Be careful when considering sharing garden equipment with people outside of your household. You may consider bringing your own or ensure they are wiped down carefully with household cleaner before and after use.

You should also avoid sharing toys and sports equipment, as well as paddling pools and private swimming pools, with people outside of your own household.

Can I share food and drink, including having a picnic or a barbeque, in an outdoor space?

Yes, but remember to stay alert. You might consider avoiding using plates or utensils that someone from another house has touched – you could bring your own or ensure you have thoroughly cleaned them before using. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels if possible.

I live alone, am I allowed to meet others who don’t live with me?

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings is removed. Gatherings over 30 people will remain illegal.

People are able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is also in place for domestic overnight stays.

How do you prove that someone is in the same household as you?

The rules have been designed to protect people, not to catch people out. Our approach is to engage, explain and encourage people to comply with the rules, and proof may not be deemed necessary.

If gatherings are asked to disperse, officers may also make reasonable judgement as to whether these people are part of one or more households. For example, a group of ten teenagers are unlikely to all live together, whereas three adults and four children could reasonably be from the same household. Of course, we appreciate that this is not demonstrative of all households and there may be exceptions to this, but reasonable judgement must be applied.

Can I visit a family member or friend in a care home?

Government guidance states that care home residents are allowed five named visitors, with two people allowed to visit at any one time. Visitors will need to take a rapid lateral flow test every time they visit, wear PPE and keep physical contact to a minimum. You can find out more in the guidance on gov.uk.

What is a support bubble?

Support bubbles or ‘linked households’ can be formed by linking with one household with another. One of the households must meet the following criteria:

  • Only one adult, including where children are under the age of 18 as of 12 June 2020.
  • Only one adult carer, including if there are additional adults in the household that have a disability and require continuous care.
  • A child aged 1 year or younger (as of 02 December 2020), regardless of how many other adults or children are in the household.
  • A child aged 5 years or younger (as of 02 December 2020) with a disability that requires continuous care, regardless of how many other adults or children are in the household.

Those in the support bubble can act as if they live in the same household, meaning they can spend time inside each other’s homes, including staying overnight, and do not need to stay two metres apart.

Support bubbles must be exclusive and you cannot switch households, meaning you cannot form a support bubble with a household that is part of another support bubble. If anyone in the bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the isolation guidance.

Read more on the gov.uk website.

What is a childcare bubble?

Childcare bubbles or ‘linked childcare households’ are formed between one household linking with one other household to provide informal childcare to a child or children aged 13 years or under. They can provide the childcare in either or both of the homes from the two households. These bubbles should only be used for childcare and not socialisation. If anyone develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, all members must follow isolation guidance.

Read more on the gov.uk website.

Can I have a support bubble and a childcare bubble?

Households that meet at least one of the specified criteria can form a support bubble with one other household of any size, as long as all members of that household agree. These two households must be exclusive and cannot form a support bubble with any other households and must not change whilst restrictions are in place.

If either of these households have children under the age of 13 they are able to form a childcare bubble with another household. This can be a separate household to the one in the support bubble, but again must remain exclusive and should not be used for socialisation.

I share custody of my child with my ex-partner and they split living between both houses. Are we able to form support bubbles or childcare bubbles?

Households that meet at least one of the specified criteria can form a support bubble with one other household of any size, as long as all members of that household agree. This does not need to be with each other, even if there are custody or visitation agreements in place and the child moves between both parents’ households. The arrangements should be exclusive and must not change whilst restrictions are in place.

Both households are also able to form a childcare bubble to allow for informal childcare.

Can I stand and chat to other parents or guardians when I’m picking up or dropping off my child at school?

You should make sure you are following the rules whilst dropping your child off at school. Whilst you may need to queue or wait at the school, this should be done whilst aiming to maintain a distance from those you don’t live with. Please consider wearing a face covering, particularly if you are not able to keep two metres distance from other families. Face coverings are recommended for all adult visitors inside school buildings.

Schools will have their own measures in place to manage the risks associated with pick up and drop off times at school, such as marked out and distanced waiting zones, staggered start or finish times, or limits on the number of people allowed at the school at any one time. Please check with the school you are visiting and follow these to protect yourself, your family and others.

Moving house or changing households

I am a university student living away from home. Can I travel to relocate to the family home?

If a student is moving permanently to live back at their family home, this is permitted.

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

All high education students can access in-person teaching at Step Three of the roadmap out of lockdown.

Further information will be provided to Higher Education providers. Please check with the relevant University/Higher Education provider for further information.

Can I still move house?

Anyone who wishes to move home can do so. Estate and letting agents and removals firms are able to continue working, including undertaking viewings.

Guidance on ensuring that moving, and key activities such as house viewings, can happen safely can be found on gov.uk.

If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or self-isolating you should delay moving home.

Am I allowed to move abroad?

Anyone who wishes to move home can do so. However, it would be advisable to check what restrictions are in place in the country you are moving to. There are still restrictions on international travel but moving house is an exemption to this.

There may be other reasons why you cannot move abroad at this time which fall outside of the UK Government legislation and guidance.

If you or a member of your household are showing symptoms of COVID-19 or are asked to self-isolating you should make sure you self-isolate for the required amount of time, which may affect your ability to move.

Visiting places, including shops, restaurants, pubs and places or worship

Can I go shopping with a member of my household or support bubble, or do I have to go by myself?

You are now allowed to meet indoors with people from one other household, or up to six people from different households. This includes taking part in leisure activities. 

You’re advised to continue taking precautions to reduce the possibility of transmission, and that might include reducing the number of people you see in enclosed spaces. When you are outside of the home, try to stay two metres apart from anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

The law requires people to wear face coverings in some enclosed places, including shops, transport hubs, banks and post offices. Staff working in retail are also required to wear face coverings.

Can I still go to a place of worship?

Places of worship are allowed to open for communal worship, but faith leaders should make this as safe as possible. You can congregate with members of your household or support bubble, or in a group of two households or up to six people from different households. You should continue to maintain social distance from those you do not live with.

Read the national guidance on the safe use of places of worship on gov.uk.

Will public toilets be open?

Public toilets can remain open but they are the Councils are responsibility and this decision of whether to keep them open is up to them. If you need to use any of these facilities, you should practise social distancing and good hygiene, such as washing your hands thoroughly and aim to keep socially distanced from those you don’t live with

Am I allowed to visit outdoor attractions, such as zoos, safari parks, drive-in cinemas and theme parks?

Outdoor attractions, such as zoos, drive-in cinemas, and theme parks can remain open. Indoor areas as part of these attractions, such as aquariums, can also reopen.

Can certain premises or public outdoor spaces be closed to the public?

The Secretary of State has powers to restrict access to specified public spaces or public spaces of a specified description to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Local authorities will be responsible for making people aware and preventing public access to restricted areas.

People may not enter restricted areas without a reasonable excuse – doing so may be an offence. We encourage people to avoid restricted areas. As always, officers will engage, explain and encourage individuals to comply with these restrictions, in the first instance.

Officers may direct people to leave restricted areas immediately, and remove people from the restricted area, if required.

Do I have to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets?

Yes, if you are able to do so. The law in England requires people to wear face coverings in some enclosed places. This means that unless individuals have exemptions, a shop can refuse entry and can call the police if people refuse to comply. People who are exempt from wearing a face covering include, but are not limited to, children under 11 and those with certain disabilities. Retail staff are also required to wear face coverings.

You can read more about face coverings on gov.uk.

What happens if I don’t wear a face covering in a shop?

Unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering when entering a shop. If someone without an exemption refuses to wear a face covering, the shop has the option to refuse them entry. If the Police are called they may direct that a face covering is worn or to leave the shop, they may also remove an individual from the shop if necessary. We hope this will not be necessary but if the police are called we will endeavour to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules. Enforcing these regulations will always be a last resort.

We expect that the public will follow these regulations to help everyone keep the spread of the virus under control.

Am I able to get takeaway food from a pub or restaurant?

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and cafes can seat and serve people indoors and outdoors. Customers must order, eat and drink while seated, and social contact rules will still apply to prevent mixing between households. There is no requirement to order a substantial meal alongside alcoholic drinks and no curfew.

Some hospitality venues may continue offering click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services at their own discretion.

Can I still order and consume food and drinks at the bar in my local pub?

Bars, restaurants and other similar hospitality businesses can serve customers indoors, in groups of single households or support bubbles, two households or groups of six from different households. They must continue to operate table service for ordering and consuming food and drink.

Face coverings must be worn unless sat at a table.

Working and running businesses, services and venues safely

Which venues and businesses can be open?

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors can open, as long as they are COVID Secure. This includes indoor entertainment venues and attractions, cinemas, children’s play areas, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors and outdoors. This includes all indoor hospitality, but they must continue to operate table service for ordering and consuming food and drink.

Some larger performances and sporting events will be allowed. Indoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 1,000 or half full (whichever is lower) and outdoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 4,000 or half full (whichever is lower). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, capacities will be 10,000 people or quarter full (whichever is lower).

Can I go to work?

The Government's position is that everyone who can work from home should do so. You can travel to work, including to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot reasonably work from home and your workplace is open.

Workplaces should follow COVID-secure guidelines. At all times, workers should follow any measures put in place by their employers.

You should not go into work if you are showing symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating.

I have a tradesperson booked in to carry out work, is this allowed?

Work carried out by tradespeople can continue, provided that the tradesperson is well and has no symptoms.

It will be important to ensure that Public Health England guidelines, including maintaining a two metre distance, or a one metre distance with additional precautions, from any household occupants, are followed to ensure everyone’s safety. If this isn’t possible, you should keep a distance of one metre or more with extra precautions (e.g. face coverings). Make sure that everyone washes their hands before and after they touch any surfaces.

You can read more about working safely in people’s homes during COVID-19 on the gov.uk website.

Am I able to open my gym/fitness studio?

Indoor adult group sports and exercise can resume. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors (two households or up to six people from different households) and outdoors (groups must not be larger than 30 people).

Do workers in retail and hospitality need to wear face coverings?

Current legislation requires retail and hospitality staff to wear face coverings at work.

Can my pub or restaurant continue serving food on a takeaway or delivery basis?

Hospitality venues such as pubs, restaurants and cafes can serve people indoors and outdoors. Customers must order, eat and drink while seated, and social contact rules will still apply to prevent mixing between households. There is no requirement to order a substantial meal alongside alcoholic drinks and no curfew.

Some hospitality venues may continue offering click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services at their own discretion.

My work involves entering other people’s homes (e.g. a tradesperson, cleaner or nanny), can I continue to work?

You can continue to work providing that you are well and have no symptoms. No work should be carried out by someone who has COVID-19 symptoms or when someone in their own household has symptoms, however mild. No work should be carried out in households that are isolating or where individuals are being shielded, unless the work is to remedy a direct risk to the safety of the household.

You should notify clients in advance of your arrival and wash your hands using soap and water for 20 seconds on arrival to the home. Make sure good hygiene is adhered to, including hand washing regularly, particularly after blowing your nose, sneezing, coughing and when leaving the property. If there are no facilities to wash your hands, hand sanitiser should be used.

It's vitally important that if you have to carry out work in people’s homes that you follow social distancing guidelines and maintain a distance of two metres, or one metre with additional precautions, at all times.

Further information can be found on the gov.uk website.

Can my business fulfil customer deliveries or click-and-collect orders? If my business is selling products online, can those purchases be delivered direct to consumers?

Non-essential retail is able to reopen.

Some shops may continue offering click-and-collect at their own discretion.

Leisure and recreation

Can I take part in waterports and associated activities such as swimming, surfing, canoeing, angling and boating?

Indoor and outdoor pools and outdoor water attractions, such as water parks, can be open. They should continue to follow social contact rules and ensure venues are COVID Secure.

Please take care and stay within your own capabilities, and follow the relevant advice:

If I can socially distance, can I play sport recreationally with someone I don’t live with?

Indoor leisure facilities can now accommodate indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors (two households or up to six people from different households) and outdoors (groups must not be larger than 30 people).

Can I take part in an outdoor sport or activity with people I don’t live with?

You can exercise outdoors in a group of no more than 30 people.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, and open-air swimming pools are allowed to reopen.

Indoor leisure facilities can now accommodate indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors (two households or up to six people from different households) and outdoors (groups must not be larger than 30 people).

Can my non-professional team continue to train and play together?

Indoor adult group sports and exercise classes may now resume.

Can cycling groups ride together?

Organised sport and physical activity can take place when organised by a relevant governing or organising body, as long as they take the necessary precautions to do so safely.

British Cycling and Cycling UK have given guidance to groups affiliated to their organisations, which include keeping groups to a maximum of 15 riders and limiting equipment sharing. If you want to verify whether a club or group is affiliated to one of these organisations, you can find out using the following links:

Gatherings and events

How many people are allowed to meet from different households?

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings is now removed. Gatherings over 30 people will remain illegal.

People are able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households.

When are gatherings of over the standard restricted limits allowed?

There are a limited number of circumstances where larger groups are allowed to meet. The exceptions include:

  • Indoor gatherings where people are from no more than two households (a support bubble, or linked household, is regarded as a single household).
  • Indoor gatherings for the purposes of a commemorative event following a person’s death, a significant event celebration (such as a christening or bar mitzvah), weddings, civil partnerships and receptions – these are all capped at 30 people.
  • Protests, providing they have been organised by a business, charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution, or a public or political body, and the organiser takes required precautions.
  • For certain arrangements linked to childcare, where reasonably necessary.
  • For funerals, where attendance is determined by venue capacity based on COVID Secure measures.
  • For the purposes of education, training, work or provision of voluntary or charitable services.
  • To provide emergency assistance.
  • To avoid injury, illness or escape a risk of hard.
  • To provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person or a person who has a disability.
  • For the purposes of a house move, including enabling a student to move to or from their student household.
  • To take part in an election or referendum.
  • Support groups and parent and child groups – these are limited to 30 people.

Full details can be found in the regulations.

Can I attend a funeral?

Funerals can continue to go ahead, and the limit of 30 attendees has been removed. However, there will still be limits based on how many people the venue can safely accommodate based on social distancing and COVID Secure measures.

Wakes and other commemorative events will have limits of 30 attendees.

Can weddings and civil partnerships go ahead?

Weddings, civil partnerships and receptions can take place with up to 30 attendees.

Can other important life events, such as christenings and bar mitzvahs, take place?

Life events such as christenings and bar mitzvahs can take place but attendees are limited to 30 people.

Are people allowed to protest during the pandemic?

Protests which are organised by a business, charity, public body, philanthropic organisation or political body can go ahead. Organisers must take appropriate precautions to keep attendees safe.

Am I allowed to attend a support group?

Formal support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue to take place. These should be limited to no more than 30 people aged 5 years or older, and take place at premises other than a private dwelling. Anyone under 5 will not be included in the participant limits. Members are encouraged to consider if it is reasonably necessary to be physically present at the gathering.

Are any events able to go ahead?

Indoor and outdoor events can go ahead, including live performances, sporting events and business events. Attendance at these events will be capped according to venue type, and attendees should follow the COVID Secure measures.

Overnight stays and holidays

Are you going to stop tourists visiting?

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within England. Indoor gatherings and overnight stays are permitted with your household, support bubble, or in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is within private homes or in hotels or other accommodation.

We would encourage anyone who visits Devon and Cornwall to be respectful of our communities and continue to follow social distancing measures and the limits around gatherings.

Are people allowed to travel to stay overnight somewhere else, either in another home, a hotel or camping?

There are no restrictions on how far you can travel within England. Indoor gatherings and overnight stays are permitted with your household, support bubble, or in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is within private homes or in hotels or other accommodation.

Can I stay at my holiday home or second home?

Indoor gatherings and overnight stays are permitted with your household, support bubble, or in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is within private homes, including second homes and holiday homes, or in hotels or other accommodation.

Travel

Can I travel on public transport?

Yes, you can continue to use the public transport network if you need to travel.

The Government has created safer travel guidance for passengers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Please check with your local transport provider before setting out on any journeys as they may have updated their timetables and be running fewer services.

Can more than one person travel in a car or to get to and from work?

It is recommended that you avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or support bubble unless the journey is undertaken for an exempt reason, such as if car sharing is reasonably necessary as part of your work.

Find more guidance around using private cars and other vehicles on gov.uk.

Do I have to use a face covering on public transport?

Unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering when on public transport.

More information on face coverings can be found on the gov.uk website.

What measures are in place when people travel overseas?

There are no legal restrictions or permitted reasons required to travel internationally. There will be a traffic light system for international travel and you must follow the rules when returning to England, depending on whether you return from a red, amber or green list country.

You can see what list each country is on by visiting gov.uk.

Regardless of which country you travel to the UK from you must complete a passenger locator form and have evidence for a negative COVID-19 test before you travel to England.

When traveling internationally then you should consider the public health advice for the country you will be travelling to, even if you are returning to a place you have visited before. Information can be found in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice.

Who can travel for work under the existing restrictions?

The Government's position is that everyone who can work from home should do so. Where that is not possible, people should go into work where it is safe and they are not symptomatic, following relevant PHE guidance.

Workplaces should follow COVID-secure guidelines. At all times, workers should follow any measures put in place by their employers. Employers should be taking responsibility to ensure that guidelines are being followed in their workplaces. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Crime

Is there a heightened risk of fraud and scams?

Yes, we have already seen some instances of fraudsters taking advantage of the situation with reports of telephone scamming and phishing emails.

We are working to ensure the public have the information they need so they are not caught out by opportunistic thieves/scammers.

Phishing emails: There have been reports of coronavirus-themed phishing emails. These attempt to trick people into opening malicious attachments which could lead to fraudsters stealing people’s personal information, email logins and passwords, and banking details. Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details. Any suspicious emails should be sent to the National Cyber Security Centres Suspicious Email Reporting Service – report@phishing.gov.uk

Shopping online: If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.

There is additional information and updates regarding fraud on the Action Fraud website and in the fraud section of this website.

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

What sort of suspicious emails, texts, online activity and other scams related to the coronavirus outbreak should I be aware of?

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

Scams based on “NHS test and trace”

Phishing emails relating to the government Test & Trace service have been reported nationally. Some scam text messages relating to Test and Trace are also reported to be in circulation. Remember: Test and Trace staff will NEVER ask you for financial details, PINs or passwords, they will NEVER visit your home and they will NEVER do any of the following:

  • Ask you to dial a premium rate number to speak to us (for example, those starting 09 or 087)
  • Ask you to make any form of payment
  • Ask for any details about your bank account
  • Ask for your social media identities or login details, or those of your contacts
  • Ask you for any passwords or PINs, or ask you to set up any passwords or PINs over the phone
  • Ask you to purchase a product
  • Ask you to download any software to your device or ask you to hand over control of your PC, smartphone or tablet
  • Ask you to access any website that does not belong to the Government or NHS

Members of the public can send their suspicious emails to report@phishing.gov.uk and the NCSC’s automated programme will immediately test the validity of the site. Any sites found to be phishing scams will be removed immediately.

How should the elderly and vulnerable protect themselves from opportunist thieves/fraudsters coming door to door?

Being a good neighbour is important, and communities are rallying around to support each other. However, there may be those who seek to exploit the situation also.

Volunteers working with the health and emergency services will be in possession of the necessary DBS arrangements before commencing placements and will be assigned to roles where indemnity cover is in place. They should all have documentation proving their status.

Community volunteering to provide assistance to those most vulnerable in meeting their daily needs will also be likely in the coming months. If people have doubts about those who are approaching them, and are concerned, we advise that they don’t engage and report serious suspicious behaviour to police. The majority of groups are well intentioned, and will be working through charities or through a local authority and should have proof that they are doing so.

There is additional information and updates regarding fraud on the Action Fraud website. Theft offences should be reported using our online channels.

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

Where can I report email and online frauds and scams?

The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has launched the Suspicious Email Reporting Service - report@phishing.gov.uk - which will make it easy for the public to forward suspicious emails to the NCSC – including those claiming to offer services related to coronavirus.

Suspicious text messages can be sent to 7726.

Report other sorts of scam to the national policing hub Action Fraud.

In both cases, reporting scams and suspicious communications is important, as every piece of information received helps to build an intelligence picture of criminals who would capitalise on the coronavirus lockdown, and thus helps national poking services to shut them down.

If you have parted with money and realise that you have been scammed, contact your bank and email 101@dc.police.uk immediately.

What crimes would you no longer respond to? Will you stop arresting people?

There are no crime types that we would no longer respond to and the police will NOT stop arresting people. Each contact to the police for help will be risk assessed. Priority of response will be given to maintaining public order, situations of violence or where life is in danger and where a very vulnerable person is involved. We’re asking the public to be patient as we may take more time to follow up report relating to lower-level crimes.

As a result of social distancing regulations, it is likely that forces will see a shift in crime patterns – this includes online offences and fraud. As always, we will prioritise available resources from the areas where demand was previously high (such as the night-time economy) to the areas which need it now.

Are you expecting a rise in crimes such as domestic abuse?

Yes, sadly this is likely with more people staying at home and isolated from other friends and family. We are currently running a campaign to raise awareness of this issue so please keep an eye on our social media channels.

Domestic abuse is considered a serious crime and the police service is committed to the safety of victims and children during this time of crisis. We want you to seek and receive appropriate support when you need it.

If you or your children are in immediate danger, you should call 999. You can get help and support on our website or access the national domestic abuse helpline or support services online.

Are you seeing a rise in hate crime because of this virus?

In Devon and Cornwall we have not seen an increase in hate crime. However we know hate crime and incidents can be under-reported and Devon and Cornwall Police is encouraging victims to come forward in confidence either directly to the police, to supporting agencies or through third party reporting centres.

If you are a victim or witness of a hate crime or incident, please report it online. Alternatively if you wish to speak to someone call 101. In an emergency always dial 999.

If you are deaf or hard of hearing you can get in touch in the following ways:

  • Emergency – SMS/text 999 or textphone/minicom 18000 / SMS/text 80 999 or textphone 18000
  • Non-emergency – SMS/text 67101 or textphone/minicom 18001 101
  • Our website also provides a webchat function

You can also report anonymously through TrueVision.

For further reporting options, support and information, including easy read documents and reporting forms, visit: devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/threat-assault-abuse/hate-crime/

Nationally there has been no increase in overall hate crime, however there has been a rise in hate crime directed towards Asian communities.

Is video conferencing safe for businesses and to stay in touch with family and friends?

There is no doubt that video conferencing is becoming more and more popular, whether for business or to connect with friends and family.

Some devices have video conferencing built in, such as Apple’s FaceTime, and there are many other standalone video conferencing apps which you can download such as Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others.

We have put together a guide to staying secure when using these apps and we encourage you to share it with your friends and family or employees: devon-cornwall.police.uk/video-conferencing

Please follow the Devon and Cornwall Police Cyber Protect team on Twitter @DC_CyberProtect for the latest updates.

Visit the National Cyber Security Centre website for further guidance on video conferencing.

Can I still report crime to the police?

Yes. The safety and welfare of local communities remains our top priority.

Members of the public should continue to call 999 in an emergency where a crime is in progress or there is a threat to life.

If your call is not urgent and can be reported using our online channels, we ask you to do so in order to release the pressure on our emergency lines and resources. You can contact us through our website (/contact/), by using webchat, or by email (101@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk). We are unable to take reports via our social media channels.

We are experiencing high call demand to both our 999 and 101 numbers and our digital services offer you the option to self-report, which will then be prioritised and actioned.

If you are concerned you have seen something that contravenes the regulations, we would encourage you to report it using the national COVID-19 reporting form.

We would advise members of the public to avoid visiting our Public Enquiry Offices unless it is essential. Many of our offices have now closed, with others working to reduced hours.

Members of the public should not call police to report cases of COVID-19 and should instead direct their concerns to NHS 111.

I’m a victim of a crime, do the current rules mean that I can no longer attend my support group?

Formal support groups, can continue to take place. These should be limited to no more than 30 people aged 5 years or older and take place at premises other than a private dwelling. Anyone under 5 will not be included in the participant limits. Members are encouraged to consider if it is reasonably necessary to be physically present at the gathering.

Will the easing of lockdown measures lead to crime going up again?

As things slowly return back to normal, yes, we would expect to see a return of things we have come to experience in the past. Ultimately, any changes to regulations from now will mean more people are out and about. We are ready to meet any increase in demand, at whatever pace it comes. As ever, we ask the public to stay vigilant, and keep reporting crime to us.

Policing during the pandemic

What powers do the police have to enforce travel quarantine regulations?

Passengers arriving the UK will be contacted regularly by Public Health England to ensure they understand the requirements and are self-isolating. If anyone is suspected of breaching the restrictions, their details will be passed on to the central triage team and police forces will be asked to visit the individuals address.

As always, our approach remains to engage, explain and encourage, and only where necessary enforce.

Are the police able to enforce the use of face coverings on public transport?

Unless you are exempt, you must wear a face covering when on public transport. Management of wearing face coverings will largely be a matter for public transport providers who will engage with those using their services. They may deny an individual who is not wearing a face covering, access.

If police intervention is required, they may direct an individual to wear a face covering, or to disembark the vehicle. An individual may also be removed from the vehicle. The police will l continue to take the approach of engaging, explaining and encouraging compliance to these regulations and will only enforce as a last resort.

Should police stop people from meeting with different households?

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings will be removed. Gatherings over 30 people will remain illegal.

People will be able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is also in place for domestic overnight stays.

Police give guidance on the Government advice, but only enforce the law. They also must do so with common sense and proportionality based on the particular situation, their engagement with the individual and always keeping in mind the purpose of regulations to prevent the spread of the virus.

What are police doing if the businesses that are not allowed to be open refuse to stay closed?

Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers, with police support if appropriate, are responsible for enforcing regulations requiring businesses to remain closed.

Environmental Health and Trading Standards can issue prohibition notices where businesses do not follow these restrictions. In addition, businesses who fail to comply can also receive fines. Continued non-compliance could then lead to the loss of alcohol licenses.

You can report businesses that you believe should not be open using the national COVID-19 reporting form.

How can police be sure that people are being honest about meeting with those from other households?

We trust the public to be honest with us and to continue engaging with us positively, as they have been to date - but of course officers will be inquisitive where necessary.

Everyone has a responsibility and a civic duty in respecting the terms of this lockdown. Thousands have tragically lost their lives, and we would expect a degree of maturity from the public in continuing to observe the new rules. Most have been very sensible, and we thank them for the personal sacrifices they’re making.

Where we see clear breaches, we will act appropriately.

How are you protecting officers?

Public Health England (PHE) has published guidance to first responders and this has been circulated to all police forces for their officers and staff to follow.

Officers and staff have been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of work-related infection. This includes:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Fluid repellent surgical face mask is recommended
  • Disposable plastic apron
  • Disposable eye protection (such as face visor or goggles)

Based on PHE guidance this is sufficient for routine policing activities.

We are working closely with the Government and PHE to manage supplies of PPE like gloves and masks. Questions around stocks of these should be directed to PHE and the Government. Regions are monitoring their stock levels and will redistribute resources where they need 

Are officers and staff working from home?

Where possible, police staff and officers on desk duties, who are not showing symptoms or feeling ill, are able to work from home.

Those who have symptoms and are unable to work, will stay at home and self-isolate.

Are you planning to cancel leave for officers/staff?

Nationally, and locally we have tried and tested plans to respond to a situation like this. This may include the cancellation of rest days and leave.

What is the current level of isolation across the police service?

We will not be sharing isolation rates, as these numbers will ebb and flow over the coming weeks. We are reassuring members of the public that we are coping well and that service continues as normal.

Would you scale back your work?

Our tried and tested business continuity procedures include plans to maintain a level of service that fulfils critical functions. With a significant loss of officers and staff, we will concentrate on responding to serious crimes and maintaining public order.

Some non-urgent administrative services may experience delays, such as firearms applications, where, in line with Government advice our staff are not able to complete home visits, which are part of the application process. Other services of this nature may also be impacted.

We will ensure the public understand how any changes may affect them and any changes they need to make.

Can masks be used by officers who have beards?

Police officers have been issued with PPE, including face masks, where shaving is not required for their use. A small number of officers in certain specialist roles have masks that are specifically fitted that are not compatible with facial hair. This is not a new COVID-19-related provision. These officers are aware they will need to be clean-shaven if they need to use that equipment as part of their role. If this conflicts with any religious (or similar) restriction, we are working with officers to find appropriate alternatives.

Is there a ban on face-to-face meetings? Would that apply to interviewing suspects and taking them into custody?

We have control measures that we can use if we need them. This includes conducting meetings over video or the telephone when it is suitable.

Interviews with suspects would only take place if a suspect was well enough. Officers will have access to PPE like gloves and masks if needed. Sensible and proportionate use of bail and released under investigation will be considered – this would not be used for anyone considered to be a risk to the public.

How will you deal with under 18s not adhering?

We will start off by speaking with them, and encouraging them to comply of their own free will. If necessary, we will liaise with an adult with responsibility for that child or young person. There is a power for us to provide a direction to that adult if it is necessary for us to do so.

Will you be relaxing custody arrangements, letting criminals walk free?

No. We will always arrest and detain where it is necessary. During the COVID-19 pandemic officers will consider voluntary attendance rather than arrest in cases where it is safe and proportionate to do so, particularly if suspects are diagnosed or suspected of having COVID-19. This would only apply to low level, low risk cases.

Will the police still be executing warrants?

Yes. Forces will be continuing their normal service unless there is a significant impact on our ability to do so. Commanders will be considering the safest approach in each of their operations and will be briefing officers on aspects of hygiene and safety if these are executed.

Does this affect how I report lost and found property?

Our staffing levels are reduced due to the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the resources are being redirected so that we can best support to the community. At this time we need to make additional efforts to not handle unnecessary items of found property.

Please continue to follow the instruction on our website. At this time we may need to delay the release and collection of found items, and would ask for your understanding and cooperation.

Are you prioritising which offenders are getting charged?

The public are urged to continue reporting crimes to the police as normal. Officers are continuing to work around the clock to keep the public safe and respond to emergencies.

Clearly, at this unusual and challenging time, we are prioritising the most serious of cases for immediate charging decisions. However, it is important to reiterate that we are continuing to investigate crimes as normal.

Can I still get fingerprinted for a visa or passport application?

Fingerprinting services are still running. However, you should limit the interactions you have with people you don’t live with and are encouraged to consider whether driving for this service is necessary at this time.

Will you be detaining sick people using your new powers?

We have a special relationship with the public in this country. We police by consent, and will continue to do so during this emergency. The public will be thinking about the greater good and we encourage them to follow Government advice.

The Emergency Bill means police officers, in consultation with, or at the request of health professionals, can direct an infected person to go and immediately receive treatment or isolate at home.

It is important to note that the power to detain is not the same as that of arrest. Having this virus isn’t a crime, putting others at risk deliberately is.

How will this affect how you deal with sectioning of those suffering from mental ill health?

The current legislation allows us to place someone under a temporary section of 24 hours. This will be extended to 36 hours. This is down from 72 hours before the time limit was reduced by the Policing and Crime Act 2017.

Are you policing social distancing?

The police can only enforce the regulations. Social distancing is Government guidance and people need to take individual responsibility for following it.

Will you be attending house parties?

Everyone has a personal responsibility in limiting the outbreak by following the simple rules around gatherings. We will continue to engage, explain, encourage and enforce where necessary.

What’s your relationship with the COVID-19 secure marshals?

The COVID-19 secure marshals are a matter for the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government. They will report to local authorities and not to the police.

Will police be managing public car parks?

No. The responsibility for the management of these sites is with local authorities.

Please check your local authority’s website for details around opening times.

The public are reminded that they must not obstruct the highway and remember that emergency service vehicles including police, fire and ambulance may need to pass through the area in an emergency.

The police will respond to calls from the public as usual. Those that have been the victim of a crime, or are in situations where a crime is in progress, should contact the police as usual.

Will you be monitoring group sizes in bars and restaurants?

Licensed premises are primarily the responsibility of local authorities. Police will respond where necessary.

COVID-19 legislation

How have the restrictions changed in England following the latest Government announcement?

Stage Two of the roadmap out of lockdown starts on Monday 12 April 2021. You can read more about the roadmap on gov.uk.

Police officers have been engaging with the public and explaining that following the regulations helps to prevent the spread of the virus and save lives. The efforts of the public mean police officers have rarely had to enforce the Government regulations. We are confident the vast majority will continue to do their bit and follow guidance.

As we have throughout the pandemic, officers will aim to engage, explain and encourage, and then, only if necessary use enforcement.

Government guidance around social distancing is not enforceable and the police will not get involved in matters of this nature.

At Stage Three:

The rule of six or two household restrictions on outdoor gatherings are removed. Gatherings of over 30 people will remain illegal.

People are able to meet indoors in groups of two households or up to six people from different households. This is also in place for domestic overnight stays.

Most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to open, as long as they are COVID Secure. This includes indoor entertainment venues and attractions, cinemas, children’s play areas, and indoor adult group sports and exercise classes. They must continue to follow legal limits on groups indoors and outdoors. This includes all indoor hospitality, but they must continue to operate table service for ordering and consuming food and drink.

Some larger performances and sporting events are allowed. Indoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 1,000 or half full (whichever is lower) and outdoor venues will be limited to a capacity of 4,000 or half full (whichever is lower). In the largest outdoor seated venues, where crowds can be spread out, capacities will be 10,000 people or quarter full (whichever is lower).

Up to 30 people are able to attend weddings, receptions, wakes and funerals, as well as other significant life events such as bar mitzvahs and christenings.

Guidance around social contact is being reviewed at this stage, but you should continue to maintain at least two metres distance away from those outside of your household or support bubble, wash your hands regularly and keep good ventilation until advice changes. There will also be a review on the work from home. If you have been working from home, this should continue in line with the current Government advice until further guidance is issued.

International travel is permitted, but there are restrictions that must be followed when returning to the UK.

What happens if someone is deemed to have broken the regulations?

Devon and Cornwall Police continue to explain, engage and encourage people to follow the restrictions, and we will not hesitate to enforce obvious and harmful breaches where we see them.

Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) can be issued to the amount of £200 to individuals who attend an indoor restricted gathering of up to 15 people. This amount will double for each subsequent offence, up to £6,400 for the sixth and subsequent offences.

Organisers or facilitators of restricted gatherings, which involve more than 30 attendees indoors and more than 50 attendees outdoors, can be faced with a £10,000 FPN, which may lead to Court proceedings in the case of non-payment. Anyone attending a restricted gathering of more than 15 people can be issued with an £800 FPN, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

What happens to the money collected through FPNs issued for breaching COVID-19 regulations?

FPN payment is managed through ACRO, who hold the funds in a separate bank account used solely for this purpose before transferring funds to local authorities. You can find more information about this on the ACRO website.

How are prohibitions for non-compliant businesses playing out?

Police officers are working well with Trading Standards and local authorities in relation to retail enforcements within the new regulations. Local authorities are really assisting us here and we are grateful to them. At this stage, we do not have data on prohibition numbers as it needs to be agreed with local government.

How do I report suspected breaches?

If you are concerned you have seen something that contravenes the regulations, we would encourage you to report it using the national COVID-19 reporting form.

What powers do police have under the Bill?

A summary of the coronavirus bill impacts can be found here

Do you expect to be given further legal powers?

This is a fast moving picture. The Government and Parliament have the responsibility for legislation, and we are working closely with them.

Do the police have the legal authority to force someone to self-isolate?

Individuals are required to self-isolate if they test positive or come into close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If a report is made of someone not complying with this, we will make contact with NHS Test and Trace to confirm whether the individual should be isolating. If it is confirmed, then a risk assessment will be made and, if appropriate, officers or PCSOs will visit the address to check whether they are complying with the regulations. As we do with all COVID-19 regulations, we will continue to take the 4Es approach, with enforcement remaining an option if necessary.

How will restrictions on large gatherings be enforced?

Devon and Cornwall Police continue to explain, engage and encourage people to follow the restrictions, and we will not hesitate to enforce obvious and harmful breaches where we see them.

Fixed penalty notices (FPNs) can be issued to the amount of £200 to individuals who attend an indoor restricted gathering of up to 15 people. This amount will double for each subsequent offence, up to £6,400 for the sixth and subsequent offences.

Organisers or facilitators of restricted gatherings, which involve more than 30 attendees indoors and more than 50 attendees outdoors, can be faced with a £10,000 FPN, which may lead to Court proceedings in the case of non-payment. Anyone attending a restricted gathering of more than 15 people can be issued with an £800 FPN, which will double for each repeat offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

Do you have a power of entry to see how many people are inside?

There is no power of entry for police under the current COVID-19 rules. There are circumstances where other powers of entry may apply, for example if a serious crime is taking place inside or police need to enter to arrest someone.

Is this un-enforceable?

No. We will adapt to the terms of the regulations, and will positively engage with the public as we have been doing throughout the pandemic. The focus for police will become narrower - on those activities, which continue to remain unlawful.

The core British principle of policing by consent continues to be at the heart of our approach. Police will continue to use the approach of engaging, explaining, encouraging and enforcing as a last resort. Our experience so far is that this is working as a tactic.

Supporting our communities

I’ve been offered support from the NHS Volunteer Responders, but how do I know if they’re legitimate?

All recipients of the service will be given clear guidance from the NHS on how to safeguard themselves, but some key tips are:

  • Never open the door to someone claiming to be an NHS Volunteer Responder unless you are expecting them (they will phone ahead)
  • Check the ID on their phone (they will leave it on your doorstep and stand two metres back)
  • If in doubt, ask them to call you. They will have your number in their phone if they are genuinely an NHS Volunteer Responder.

Are there any measures being taken so that disabled people are able to shop safely?

Many supermarkets and shops are putting measures in place to provide opportunities for vulnerable people, including those with disabilities, to get the supplies they need. These measures are set and monitored by the stores themselves.

There are also local volunteer and community groups that have been set up to provide additional support to those who need it – you may find details at covidmutualaid.org. Be sure to find out what your local authority has in place, too.

Remember to check GOV.UK for the latest news and updates.

What COVID-19 (coronavirus) resources do you have for people who use British sign language (BSL)?

Please visit our British sign language resources page for guidance communicated in BSL.

What resources do you have to help explain the new police powers and coronavirus laws to someone with learning difficulties?

The Easy Read section of our website has a guide to the new powers and laws.

Gov.uk has also created an Easy Read version of their social distancing guidance.

The Cabinet Office has created an Easy Read guide to the roadmap.

What information is available to help people where English isn’t their first language?

There are a range of resources that have been translated into a variety of languages.

Can police refer someone vulnerable to the NHS Volunteer Responders scheme?

NHS Volunteer Responders has been set up to provide volunteer support to those clinically most at risk from coronavirus who have been advised to stay “shielded”, and to provide patient transport. It has also been expanded to include other people who are referred from specific individuals and organisations who consider them to be vulnerable for a range of reasons. This initiative is being delivered on behalf of NHS England and NHS Improvement by the Royal Voluntary Service (RVS).

Police staff, MPs, some charities, local government and the other emergency services are now among the people who can request help for someone who they consider to be vulnerable whilst in isolation at home, in addition to health and social care staff.

Once someone is registered for support, the RVS call centre will match up the tasks that need to be undertaken to help people with volunteers who live near to them.

More detailed guidance on who is likely to be eligible for support is set out on the RVS website.

Do I have to download the NHS Track and Trace App?

There is no legal requirement to download and use the NHS Track and Trace app. However, it will help to monitor the spread and alert you and others of when there may have been contact with the virus.

You can find more information about the app, and how to download it, on the NHS website.

Businesses need to display the NHS QR code posters so that those who are using the app can ‘check-in’ at the premises they visit.

I have additional needs and am supported by volunteers who need to drive to get to me, will they be stopped?

We want to ensure that the most vulnerable people in our communities are cared for and would not stop them receiving the vital support that they need. The rules state that people are able to travel ‘to provide care for a vulnerable person’, and supporting someone with additional needs would satisfy this purpose. This would also be exempt from the rules in regards to gatherings.

Other useful information

Local resources

Teachers helpline – child victims of domestic abuse

Operation Encompass Teachers’ Helpline operates from 8am to 1pm, from Monday to Friday, staffed by a child and educational psychologist or clinical psychologist from Psychology Associates. The number is 0204 513 9990 and standard mobile call rates will apply. There will be no charge to the teacher or school for the specialist professional advice

Devon

Visit the Devon County Council website for information about local organisations and groups offering support. In Devon residents are being asked to use the local Council for Voluntary Service (CVS). For Exeter visit the Exeter Community Wellbeing website. For the rest of Devon find contact details on the Devon Voluntary Action (DeVA) website.

Cornwall

Cornwall Council website provides information about services during this time. Volunteer Cornwall are coordinating help for residents. Residents who are isolating and need help can register with them.

Torbay

The Torbay Community Development Trust (TCDT), Ageing Well Torbay (AWT) and Brixham Does Care have set up an emergency coronavirus helpline for people in need of help because of illness or isolation and also for those that are prepared to offer help. The phone line covers Torquay and Paignton. The number is 01803 446022. Brixham Does Care can be contacted directly on 01803 857727. More information is available on the Torbay Council website.

Plymouth

Plymouth has launched the Caring for Plymouth Support Hub. Caring for Plymouth is an alliance between the Council, Livewell Southwest and a large number of voluntary and community sector organisations and will ensure that the medically vulnerable and people without support networks are provided with emotional support, shopping, medicine collection and support with paying bills and accessing money. The phone number is 01752 668000 and people can also fill in a form.

POP has set up a Facebook group for Plymouth community groups and organisations that are supporting the response to CO-VID19. It's proving to be really useful to share the latest advice and guidance and funding alerts. Along with being an opportunity for members to connect, share support, and share concerns around delivery that are being fed into citywide strategic planning groups.

Trusted information sources

Step One, Stage One – from 08 March[RC51] 

England remains in stay at home restrictions, but there are some changes

Children and students can return to face-to-face education in all schools and colleges. Students on practical higher education courses will also be able to resume face-to-face learning. Face coverings are recommended for students in higher education, further education and secondary schools in all indoor environments where two metres distance cannot be maintained. Face coverings are also recommended for staff and adult visitors in all education settings where social distance cannot be maintained.

Childcare and children’s supervised activities can resume for vulnerable children, or to enable a parent or carer to go to work, seek work, access medical care or attend a support group.

People can leave home for recreation and exercise outdoors with their household or support bubble, or with one person from outside their household. There must be no mixing indoors with people outside of your household or support bubble[RC52] .

Care home residents are allowed one regular visitor. The visitor will need to take a rapid lateral flow device test every time they visit, wear PPE and keep physical contact to a minimum.

Funerals can take place with up to 30 attendees and wakes and weddings can take place with up to six attendees. Wedding receptions must not take place.

International travel for holidays is not permitted and outbound travellers are legally obliged to provide their reason for travel on the Declaration to Travel form.

Political campaigning activity can take place for the purposes of campaigning in an election or referendum, but guidance continues to be to do this close to home.


 [RC51]Suggest linking to the Gov guidance

 [RC52]Suggest include clarity on where you can meet one other ‘outdoors’ as per the above advice.

 

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