COVID-19 FAQs

You can find the most up-to-date FAQs about the new national restrictions, which are in place between 05 November and 02 December, below.

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

Please visit GOV.UK/coronavirus for the latest official guidance and announcements.

We are also 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.


We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means 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

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

Sub Sections

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

 

Meeting or visiting family and friends

I am separated from the mother/father of my child who has custody. Am I able to visit my child?

The new regulations provide that you may leave your home for the purposes of access and contact between parents and a child where the child does not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.

Any existing visitation arrangements that are in place can continue.

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.

Can I have visitors in my garden?

You are not allowed to meet with anyone outside of your household or support bubble indoors or in private outdoor spaces, including gardens.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public spaces with the people you live with, your support bubble, or with one person from another household. Children under five and those who are dependent on round-the-clock care will not count towards the limit on two people when they are with their parent or carer.

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

Single adult households (including single parents with children under the age of 18) are able to form a ‘support bubble’ or ‘linked household’ with one other 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. If anyone in the bubble develops symptoms, all members of the bubble will need to follow the isolation guidance.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public spaces with the people you live with, your support bubble, or with one person from another household. Children under five and those who are dependent on round-the-clock care will not count towards the limit on two people when they are with their parent or carer.

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.

You can exercise or visit outdoor public spaces with the people you live with, your support bubble, or with one person from another household. Children under five and those who are dependent on round-the-clock care will not count towards the limit on two people when they are with their parent or carer.

If a large gathering is 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?

You may leave your home to visit a person receiving treatment in a hospital or staying in a hospice or care home, or to accompany a person to a medical appointment if they are a member of your household, a close family member or a friend.

What is a support bubble?

Support bubbles or ‘linked households’ can be formed by single adult households, including single parents or guardians with children under the age of 18 or who were under the age of 18 on or before 12June 2020, linking with one other household. There is no limit on the number of adults or children in the second household but all members of the household must agree to the arrangement. The support bubble must be exclusive and you cannot switch households. If anyone in your bubble develops symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, all members must follow isolation guidance.

Read more on the gov.uk website.

What is a childcare bubble?

Childcare bubbles 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. You should not change childcare bubble arrangements during the current restrictions. These bubbles should only be used for child care 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?

Single adult households 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 cannot change whilst restrictions are in place.

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?

Single adult households 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.

The households of the two parents or guardians should be considered as a childcare bubble if the child is under 13 years old, and you should not arrange to form a childcare bubble with any other household.

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

You can only meet with one other person outside of your household or social bubble (i.e. linked household), not including under 5s or those with care needs. A school run should not be considered a social activity and you should not breach the regulations whilst dropping your child off at school. Whilst you may need to queue or wait at the school, this should be at a distance and not be used for socialisation.

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 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 you live at university, you must not move between your permanent home and student home during term time. You should only return home at the end of term for Christmas. Further guidance is expected on this matter as we approach the festive period.

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

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 relocate to stay with a vulnerable relative?

You are able to leave your home to provide care for vulnerable people. If this requires you to relocate for the duration of the current restrictions then that is acceptable.

Am I able to move in with different family members for additional support?

There may be some situations where moving is the best option. This could include households where a key worker is isolating away from the main family and additional childcare is needed, where vulnerable people require support that they are unable to receive from volunteers or neighbours or where you need to leave an abusive situation.

Once you have moved, you should avoid doing so again until the restrictions have been lifted.

Am I allowed to move abroad?

Current national restriction do not stop you from moving home, including relocating abroad. However, it would be advisable to check what restrictions are in place in the country you are moving to. 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 of worship

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

It’s important that we all reduce our day-to-day contact with people outside of our own household or support bubble, so if you can go alone that will help cut down potential chances of contact with others.

When you are outside of the home, make sure you try to stay two metres apart from anyone outside of your household where possible. If this is not possible, try to keep one metre or more distance with additional measures (e.g. wearing face coverings, not directly facing others) to reduce the risk. More information can be found on gov.uk.

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.

Non-essential retailers will be expected to close from 05 November and remain until 02 December at the earliest.

Can I still go to a place of worship?

Places of worship must close unless they are being used for funerals, to broadcast acts or worship, individual prayer, formal childcare or where part of a school, essential voluntary and public services, or other exempted activities such as support groups. You are permitted to leave your home to attend a place of worship.

Funerals are able to go ahead, with no more than 30 attendees with no more than 15 attendees at commemorative events to celebrate a life of a person who has died. Marriages and civil partnerships may go ahead in certain circumstances however must be limited to no more than six people.

Will public toilets be open?

Councils are responsible for public toilets and this decision is up to them. You should avoid using the public toilet where possible. If you need to use any of these facilities, you should practise social distancing and good hygiene (i.e. washing your hands thoroughly).

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

Entertainment venues, including zoos, safari parks, drive-in cinemas and theme parks will be expected to close from 05 November and remain until 02 December at the earliest.

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 can also give a direction to close a specific outdoor place in its area, such as Newquay beach, or outdoor places of a specified description in its area – such as public parks.

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.

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 and restaurants will be expected to close from 05 November and remain so until 02 December. However, food takeaway services before 10pm, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services are able to continue operating. Takeaway of alcohol will not be permitted unless ordered for delivery or click-and-collect.

Can I drive a member of my household to the shop/pharmacy and wait in the car?

The restrictions are in place to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). If someone is unable to drive themselves or having shopping delivered is not an option, waiting in the car is a reasonable compromise as it will reduce potential chances of contact with others.

What will you do if you find places of worship open?

If officers see place of worship open, they will remind both the leader and worshippers of the Government advice and consider if it remains open for a permitted use. We will engage, explain and encourage those worshippers to return home. We don’t expect to need to use enforcement action.

 

Working and running businesses, services and venues safely

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.

I visit homes to care for dogs and take them for walks. Am I able to continue offering this service?

You may leave your home to attend to the care of a pet or another animal which you own or care for. This includes for the purposes of exercise.

As long as you are able to implement social distancing measures, you are able to continue offering this service.

There is more information for people with animals on GOV.UK.

Am I able to open my gym/fitness studio for private/individual sessions?

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as leisure centres, gyms, sports facilities and fitness studios will be expected to close for public use from 05 November and remain until 02 December at the earliest.

However, they are able to open to allow elite sports persons, professional dancers and choreographers to use them.

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

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

Restaurants, bars and pubs must remain closed until at least 02 December. Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions.

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

Hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will be expected to close from 05 November and remain so until 02 December. However, food takeaway services before 10pm, click-and-collect, drive-through and delivery services are able to continue operating. Takeaway of alcohol will not be permitted unless ordered for delivery or click-and-collect.

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 where it is not reasonably possible for you to do so from home, providing that you are well and have no symptoms. No work should be carried out by someone who has COVID-19 (coronavirus) 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?

The COVID-19 (coronavirus) regulations allow for deliveries of orders from non-essential retailers that are required to close. These retailers can also continue to operate click and collect orders.

Can I go to work?

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

Which businesses and shops will remain open during these restrictions?

Businesses providing essential goods or services, and following COVID-19 Secure guidelines are able to remain open. This includes:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences
  • Petrol stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, load providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Launderettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds

What is considered 'non-essential' retail?

Non-essential retail includes:

  • Clothing and homeware stores
  • Vehicle showrooms (other than for rental)
  • Betting shops
  • Tailors
  • Tobacco and vape shops
  • Electronic goods and mobile phone shops
  • Market stalls selling non-essential goods
  • These businesses can continue to operate click-and-collect and delivery services. A full list of restricted business can be found in the regulations.

 

Leisure and recreation

Can I swim in the sea?

You may leave your home to take exercise outside, but outdoor swimming pools, sport centres, and watersports centres must close. 

We would urge anyone planning a visit to the coast to follow RNLI safety advice:

  • Take care near cliffs - know your route and your limitations
  • Have a plan - check the weather forecast and tide times
  • If you fall into the water unexpectedly, FLOAT TO LIVE. Fight your instinct to thrash around, lean back, extend your arms and legs, and float
  • If individuals are choosing to go sailing or yachting it is important to ensure that equipment is properly checked and serviceable before going afloat.
  • In any coastal emergency dial 999 or 112 and ask for the Coastguard.

Please take care when in the water and be aware of your own abilities. Our emergency services are already stretched and should a lifeboat crew be called to an incident in the water, it would put unnecessary pressure on our volunteers and other front line services being exposed to COVID-19.

Can I go surfing?

You may leave your home to take exercise outside, but outdoor swimming pools, sport centres, and watersports centres must close. 

Please take care when in the water and be aware of your own abilities. Our emergency services are already stretched and should a lifeboat crew be called to an incident in the water, it would put unnecessary pressure on our volunteers and other front line services being exposed to COVID-19.

We would urge anyone planning on going surfing follows the advice set out by Surfing England.

Can I go canoeing?

You may leave your home to take exercise outside, but outdoor swimming pools, sport centres, and watersports centres must close. 

Read the latest advice on the British Canoeing website.

Can I go angling?

You may leave your home to take exercise outside, but outdoor swimming pools, sport centres, and watersports centres must close. Angling has been permitted as part of this. 

Read the latest advice on the Angling Trust website.

Am I allowed to go boating?

The Canal and River Trust has stated that from Thursday until 2 December all navigation in England should be limited to essential use only.

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

You can visit, exercise in outdoor public spaces with the people you live with, your support bubble, or with one person from another household, but should aim to maintain a two metre gap from those you don’t live with, or at least one metre with additional precautions. There is more information about outdoor sports and recreation on the gov.uk website.

Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities, such as leisure centres, gyms, sports facilities and fitness studios will be expected to close for public use from 05 November and remain until 02 December at the earliest.

If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Can I go shooting or hunting?

You must only leave your house if you have a reasonable excuse to do so. 

Taking exercise or visiting a public outdoor place for open air recreation alone, with members of your household or support bubble, or one person from another household, is allowed. Shooting and hunting may therefore be permissible as an outdoor recreational activity, long as the appropriate regulations and guidance are followed.

Shooting ranges are required to close. More information can be found on the Countryside Alliance website.

Can I still play golf?

Golf clubs and courses must close from 05 November until 02 December at the earliest. Visit the England Golf website for more information.

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

No, only elite sports are able to go ahead. Indoor and outdoor sports facilities and fitness and dance studios are only able to open to allow elite sports persons, professional dancers and choreographers to use them.

Am I allowed to stop and sit for a few minutes while I’m exercising?

You can exercise outdoors or visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble or with one person from another household, but this should not be for socialising.

However, if you’re out for exercise and need to pause for a moment to catch your breath then this would be fine. You should then either continue with your exercise or make your way home if you are finished.

Doesn’t this guidance mean anyone can drive for a few hours to visit the lakes/take the dog for a walk three hours away/spend a day walking on the fells/sit on a bench in a park?

Under the current restrictions, people must not leave the place they are living without a reasonable excuse. Exercising or visiting a public outdoor space is a permitted reason to leave home, but we are recommending that people do this locally. Officers will consider all the factors when engaging with the public and continue to encourage people to stay at home. Where necessary officers will then enforce.

Overnight stays are not allowed.

Can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?

You can leave your home and/or be away from your home for a medical need, or to exercise. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that has routinely required you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involved travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a formal care plan agreed with a medical professional.

We would recommend that any travel away from the home should be limited and exercise should be taken locally where you can. You should remain at least two metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household, support bubble, or a carer.

Can I drive a short distance to walk my dog/the dog of a key worker or vulnerable person safely?

The Government advice is clear that people must not make any unnecessary journeys. We would recommend that, where possible, dog walking should take place locally.

We ask that you consider the necessity of every journey before setting out. Having more people on our roads increases the chances for accidents and breakdowns, which adds pressure on emergency services who are dealing with unprecedented demand.

Can I visit horses? Can horse riding be my form of exercise?

Stables and riding centres are currently required to close. However, as the owner or keeper of a horse you have a duty of care to them.

If you have a horse in full livery, you must not visit them whilst you are self-isolating. You should contact your yard manager or vet to make suitable welfare arrangements. If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help, you should call your local authority.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 (coronavirus), you may leave your house to exercise and it would be reasonable to combine this with leaving your house to provide care for your horse or livestock.

It is essential that you minimise the time spent outside of the home and remain two metres away from others. You should remember to wash your hands before and after contact with any animals.

The British Horse Society is regularly updating advice for those who own a horse.

I have bees. Can I tend to my hive?

Yes. DEFRA has defined bees as livestock, which conveys a duty of care on beekeepers to maintain hives and generally go about their business of making sure that their bees are safe and healthy. This means that travel undertaken to discharge this duty is deemed reasonable under Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 legislation.

You should continue following Public Health guidance on social distancing.

If you are not registered with BeeBase, or have apiaries that are not registered, then please visit www.nationalbeeunit.com.

Read the full guidance from the British Beekeepers Association.

Can I care for animals not located at my home? For example, chickens on my allotment.

Yes. If you have livestock such as cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, or poultry you can continue to care for them and have a duty to do so.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you should arrange for someone else who is not self-isolating to care for your animals. Where this is not possible you should ensure the basic needs of your animals are met. If you are too unwell to care for your animals and there is no one to help, you should call your local authority.

There is more information for people with animals on gov.uk.

Can I exercise with someone outside of my household?

You are allowed to take exercise outside, alone, with your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household. You should try to stay two metres apart from anyone from other households.

Indoor fitness and dance studios and indoor gyms and sports venues/facilities must remain closed to the public by law. However, they are able to open to allow elite sports persons, professional dancers and choreographers to use them.

 

Gatherings and events

Can I attend a funeral?

Although many businesses are closed, you can still attend funerals as long as numbers do not exceed 30 people.

You should still keep two metres between every household group or social bubble (which counts as one household) where possible. If this isn’t possible, you should keep a distance of one metre or more with extra precautions (e.g. face coverings).

Can weddings go ahead?

Marriages and civil partnerships may take place in certain circumstances, such as where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover. These weddings are limited to six people. Wedding receptions cannot take place.

Do you want us to report groups of people we see?

If you are concerned that you have seen a gathering which contravenes the regulations, we would encourage you to contact us by using our 101 form on the Force website, or via the webchat function on our website.

 

Overnight stays and holidays

Are you going to stop tourists visiting?

We are working with our partners to ensure we have one clear, consistent message for the public – think twice before you travel to Devon and Cornwall / Dorset.

Day trips to outdoor open space, in a private vehicle, are permitted. However, we urge you to please respect our communities and go home or somewhere else if it is busy.

Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay somewhere else overnight is not allowed, except in limited circumstances. Holidays and overnight stays in tents, campervans, motorhomes, guest accommodation and second homes will not be permitted. You can only stay away from home overnight for a limited number of reasons. This includes if you:

  • Are unable to return to your main residence
  • Need accommodation while moving house
  • Need accommodation to attend a funeral or related commemorative event
  • Require accommodation for work purposes or to provide voluntary services, where this cannot be done from home
  • Are a child requiring accommodation for school or care
  • Are homeless, seeking asylum or a vulnerable person seeking refuge
  • Are an elite athlete or their support staff or parent, if the athlete is under 18

Those who were already on holiday or staying in second homes should return to their primary residence as soon as is practical and comply with the ‘stay at home’ requirements at their accommodation in the meantime.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions.

Can I stay at my holiday home or second home?

Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay somewhere else overnight is not allowed, except in limited circumstances. This includes staying in a second home, caravan or holiday home. Those who were already on holiday or staying in second homes should return to their primary residence as soon as is practical and comply with the ‘stay at home’ requirements at their accommodation in the meantime.

Second home owners may attend their property for the purposes of maintenance or security, but should not remain in the property overnight.

Can I go on holiday in my campervan or go camping overnight?

Leaving your home - the place you live - to stay somewhere else overnight is not allowed, except in limited circumstances. Holidays and overnight stays in tents, campervans, or motorhomes will not be permitted. Those who were already on holiday should return to their primary residence as soon as is practical and comply with the ‘stay at home’ requirements at their accommodation in the meantime

 

Travel

Can I travel on public transport if I avoid peak times?

Yes. However, you should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible. If you do need to use public transport, it is mandatory that you wear a face covering. Staff working on public transport are also advised to wear face coverings.

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.

Read more about using public transport.

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

If you normally share a vehicle with people from other households to get to or from work, we recommend you find a different way to travel. For example, consider walking, cycling or using separate vehicles if you can.

If you have to travel with people outside your household group, try to share the transport with the same people each time and keep to small groups of people at any one time. You should also consider wearing a face covering and other recommended Government advice.

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?

Overnight stays away from primary residences are not allowed. This includes holidays and trips overseas.

Those planning to travel into England should be aware of current travel restrictions and may need to self-isolate for 14 days. If you do not need to self-isolate, you should still follow national restrictions, including staying at home as much as possible.

If you do need to travel overseas for one of the permitted reasons, such as for work, then make sure that you follow any local guidance. You can find this in the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice.

What is classed as a reasonable excuse to leave home?

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific reasons:

  • For work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where this cannot be done from home.
  • To shop for essential items at retailers that are allowed to remain open, or to collect items (including food or drink) ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, or to obtain or deposit money or access critical public services.
  • To fulfil legal obligations, or carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a property.
  • For education or childcare purposes.
  • To visit someone in your support bubble, provide informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble, provide care for a vulnerable person, provide emergency assistance, attend a support group or receive respite care.
  • To exercise or visit an outdoor public place.
  • For medical reasons, to escape harm, to visit someone in a care home (if permitted), hospice or hospital, to accompany someone to a medical appointment or to take pets to the vets.
  • For individual prayer at a place of worship, to attend a funeral or related event, or attend a deathbed wedding.

Who can travel for work under the 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.

Can I go for a drive as long as I don't exit the car?

You should not leave home without reasonable excuse, so we ask that you only drive when it's absolutely necessary. The NHS is already under extreme pressure and having fewer cars on the road will reduce the chances of serious road traffic collisions.

I live overseas and need to undertake essential travel to get home. Can  friend or relative drive me to the airport?

The restrictions are in place to help us stop the spread of COVID-19 and avoiding public transport is a sensible measure. If a driver is challenged by the Police as to the nature of their travel, they will need to justify the journey.

If you have been living with a friend or relative, then you would be considered part of the household and able to travel together. If they are part of a different household then you would need to look into public transport, putting social distancing measures into practice.

My friend/relative has mental health needs/neurodiversity (e.g. autism) and taking them out for a drive often helps with their condition. Will I be fined if I take them out in the car?

Travel for medical needs and to provide care or help to a vulnerable person is an exception to the rules. This would be covered under this exception. Other methods and measures should be explored before travel is undertaken.

Do I need paperwork to show I am going to work?

The rules have been designed to protect people, not to catch people out. Guidance from the Government says that if you can’t work at home, you can travel to work. There is no official paperwork required to prove where you are going. Officers will continue to stop vehicles under the Road Traffic Act and may also have a chat with the driver about whether their journey is reasonable.

Will you be policing the roads to stop people travelling?

Police interact with motorists every day and given the current circumstances, it is reasonable to expect officers to ask some motorists whether they have a valid reason for being outdoors. In rural areas for example, where motorists are covering greater distances, this may be appropriate.

When vehicles are stopped, the driver and occupants are likely to be asked for their reasons, in line with our approach to engage, explain and encourage. We will only take enforcement action if it is necessary and proportionate.

Will we see the roll out of checkpoints?

Some forces, such as ours, cover areas of high footfall due to our beauty spots and outdoor public spaces. We may on occasion stop vehicles to enquire where they are going and why. The rules are to protect lives and save the NHS.

But these are not roadblocks – each force is dealing with a very different area that needs policing. In some parts of the country, people mostly move around by car – so of course some officers will need to stop vehicles to engage with people.

Am I allowed to drive to collect someone from the airport?

You must only leave your home if you have a reasonable excuse for doing so.  Taking someone to, or collecting someone from, the airport may be a reasonable excuse.

If, for example, the person is part of your household or support bubble, it may be reasonable to collect them from the airport. However, if this is not the case them it would be advisable for them to find alternative arrangements.

Anyone travelling back to the UK, needs to make sure that they are following any travel restrictions that are in place.

I'm currently abroad, do I have to return immediately?

Anyone currently overseas does not need to make arrangements to return immediately. However, it is advisable to check with your travel operators to find out how your journey home may be affected and if your plans will need to change to accommodate this.

Anyone travelling back to the UK, needs to make sure that they are following any travel restrictions that are in place.

 

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.

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

You can also report anonymously through TrueVision, or get support from StopHateUK, including British sign language reporting and a 24/7 helpline.

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. 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.

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 (coronavirus) 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?

You can continue to attend support groups, and some venues will be allowed to remain open for this as it is one of the exemptions. You can find further information on the gov.uk website, including the full list of exemptions. Numbers should be limited to 15 people.

 

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?

People are able to spend time in outdoor public spaces, with members of their own household, support bubble or with one person from another household. When meeting with someone from another household you should adhering to social distancing measures.

The public should show civic duty and common sense and follow social distancing guidelines, which protect the NHS and will save lives.

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.

Under the Business Closure regulations introduced on 21 March 2020, officers will have powers to prosecute for breach of regulations.

You can report businesses that you believe should not be open to:

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.

Are you going to start arresting people?

There is a power of arrest under the new legislation, which will we will use as a last resort. Our approach will be to maintain our education and engagement approach to persuade individuals to comply with the direction set by Government rather than having to enforce it, as it is in all of our interests. However, if we are left with no other choice, we will arrest people if there is no other option and we have the lawful basis to do so.

Will you close takeaway food vans?

Takeaway food can continue to be offered, as can food delivery. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be permitted unless ordered for delivery or click-and-collect.

Would the police be able to respond to severe disorder in prisons?

Her Majesty's Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) says it has put in place robust contingency plans. The police work closely with HMPPS and this will continue.

How much will this all cost you, are you applying for special grants?

It’s too early to tell. Forces are keeping tabs on how much additional expenditure this outbreak could lead to. There is an established special grant process in place via the Home Office which forces may consider at a later date.

How are you protecting officers?

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

In some scenarios, officers and staff will been issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) to minimise the risk of work-related infection.

Additional PPE is NOT needed for routine policing activities and will not be worn unless dealing with a suspected Covid-19 case. Public Health additionally advises that it is NOT to be worn when dealing with contacts of suspected cases.

PPE which is to be worn when dealing with a person suspected or confirmed as having COVID-19 is:

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

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 to in support of neighbouring areas falling short.

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.

Are you bringing in the Special Constabulary and retired officers/staff?

In order to continue providing core services to our communities in light of the pandemic, we need to maximise our use of volunteers to give us some extra assistance over the coming weeks. Forces will be asking Special Constables if they can volunteer more of their time with the support of their employer. In addition, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) have called employers to release more than 10,000 Special Constables to support the police service in managing the impact of the Coronavirus.

We have also recently asked people who have previously worked for us if they would be willing to offer their services and skills, in some temporary capacity. This is a fast-changing environment and we are still working to define the critical services we may need.

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.

The Government has now advised that people should wear face coverings when out and about, and made them mandatory on public transport and in shops – will this affect police supplies of PPE?

The Government have made it clear that face masks and face coverings are different, stating: “A face covering is not the same as a facemask such as the surgical masks used as part of personal protective equipment by healthcare and other workers. These supplies must continue to be reserved for those who need it.”

Therefore, police PPE supply remains unaffected by the face-covering announcement. 

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 to the Government direction?

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.

If courts refuse to accept prisoners, what will the police do with them?

We are currently looking at this and are working closely with criminal justice partners to make necessary plans. We do not anticipate this will be a significant issue.

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.

Will the army be brought in to help with enforcement?

There are no current plans for the army to assist with enforcement.

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 not be leaving your house without a reasonable excuse 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.

 

COVID-19 legislation

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

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 in this next stage.

With increasing cases of COVID-19, people are required to stay at home, except for a limited number of reasons, such as:

  • For work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where this cannot be done from home.
  • To shop for essential items at retailers that are allowed to remain open, or to collect items (including food or drink) ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, or to obtain or deposit money or access critical public services.
  • To fulfil legal obligations, or carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a property.
  • For education or childcare purposes.
  • To visit someone in your support bubble, provide informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble, provide care for a vulnerable person, provide emergency assistance, attend a support group or receive respite care.
  • To exercise or visit an outdoor public place.
  • For medical reasons, to escape harm, to visit someone in a care home (if permitted), hospice or hospital, to accompany someone to a medical appointment or to take pets to the vets.
  • For individual prayer at a place of worship, to attend a funeral or related event, or attend a deathbed wedding.

You are able to meet one person from another household in a public outdoor space – children or those requiring round-the-clock care do not count in the limit of two people where they are accompanied by their parent or carer.

Personal responsibility is key - when leaving the house, think carefully about where you are going and how you will be able to keep your distance from others. Keep in mind the purpose of the regulations and the national effort to protect the NHS and save lives.

Some businesses are required to close. These include:

  • all non-essential retail, including, but not limited to clothing and electronics stores, vehicle showrooms, travel agents, betting shops, auction houses, tailors, car washes, tobacco and vape shops.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, leisure centres and gyms, sports facilities including swimming pools, golf courses and driving ranges, dance studios, stables and riding centres, soft play facilities, climbing walls and climbing centres, archery and shooting ranges, water and theme parks,
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, adult gaming centres and arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, concert halls, zoos and other animal attractions, botanical gardens;
  • personal care facilities such as hair, beauty and nail salons, tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services, non-medical acupuncture, and tanning salons.

Food shops, supermarkets, garden centres and certain other retailers providing essential good and services can remain open. Non-essential retail can continue to operate deliver and click-and-collect services for customers.

Hospitality venues like restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services. However, takeaway of alcohol will not be permitted unless ordered for delivery or click-and-collect.

There are some businesses that have not been able to reopen, and must continue to stay closed:

  • Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques
  • Sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

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.

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 that you have seen a gathering which goes against the regulations, we would encourage you to contact us by emailing us via our 101 form on the Force website.

What powers do police have under the Bill?

A summary of the coronavirus bill impacts can be found here

Why is the power needed?

The powers are necessary to help manage the spread of COVID-19 where a police officer, in the course of their duties, encounters a person who they suspect is, or may be, infectious.

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?

The Government intends to bring in legislation that will create a criminal offence if an individual does not comply with the measures, punishable by a fixed penalty notice.  Enforcement by police would only be used as a last resort.

How will restrictions on large gatherings be enforced?

Policing still has a role where people are not following the latest rules, including gatherings as restricted by the Regulations.

Officers may direct the gathering to disperse, direct any person from the gathering to return home, and remove any person gathering in a public place to the place they are living.

As throughout this public crisis, officers will engage, explain, encourage and, only as a last resort, enforce.

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.

 

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 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.

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.

A friend or family member is about to be released from prison. Will I be able to collect them as they are not at a local institution?

Yes. In this case, a released prisoner clearly cannot stay at the prison. Avoiding public transport to get to their place of residence is a reasonable precaution.

What are you doing to ensure rough sleepers follow ‘stay indoors’ measures?

Local authorities are working with the police and other agencies to support and advise this group on how to follow government guidance.

 

Other organisations

Local resources

Teachers helpline – child victims of domestic abuse

Operation Encompass Teachers’ Helpline operates from 8.30am to 10am, from Monday to Friday, staffed by a child and educational psychologist or clinical psychologist from Psychology Associates. The number will be 07562250050 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.

Links to other trusted information sources

 

Non Emergency Directory (NED)

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