Stay at Home + Q&A

Stay at Home

Sweeping new rules have bee brought in. Everyone is being asked to Stay home, save lives. The full rules are here.

Here is a summary of the new rules. Everyone must stay at home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

This includes people of all ages – even if you do not have any symptoms or other health conditions.

You can only leave your home:

  • to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
  • to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
  • for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
  • to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary

Stay away from other people

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

There are two exceptions:

  • Where the gathering is of a group of people who live togethe​r – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
  • where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.

Closing of Non Essential shops and open spaces

  • All pub, bars, theatres and restaurants non-essential retail stores are now closed
  • All non essential shops have been ordered to close – this includes clothing and electronics stores, hair, beauty and nail bars, as well as outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres​ are closed
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities​ such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities are closed
  • communal places within parks​, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms are closed
  • places of worship, ​except for funerals attended by immediate families are closed
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers) are closed.

Further information on this can be found here.

What can you do to help?

The single most important thing you can do is follow NHS advice. Wash hands, and self-isolate when you get symptoms – this is vital.

Good hygiene, social distancing and self-isolation are critical in the fight to slow infections – for yourself and for others – particularly those over 70, those with underlying health conditions and those who are pregnant.

When and for how long should you self-isolate?

  • If you have a high temperature or a new continuous cough
  • You must self-isolate for 7 days if you live alone
  • You must all self-isolate for 14 days if you live with others (if someone gets symptoms during isolation all householders must remain symptom free for 7 days even if that means isolating for more than 14 days)

Self-isolation will save lives – it’s important you follow the guidance if you’re affected.

You do not need to call NHS 111 to self-isolate.

If your symptoms worsen during isolation or are no better after 7 days contact the NHS online coronavirus service . If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.

Why should you self-isolate?

Self-isolation will save lives – and while 90% of people will recover from this virus – some will get seriously ill and it is these people we need to protect.

After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine.

How should I look after myself when I self-isolate?

  • Get plenty of rest
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Eat as healthily as you can
  • To reduce pain and fever take paracetamol (if you use other mediation get in touch with your care provider)
  • Keep in contact with friends and family by phone, video and online

Can I go to the theatre, cinema, the pub, a restaurant, clubs…


However, the Government has changed the law so pubs and restaurants without a licence can offer take away services.

Why aren’t more people being tested?

The Government is trying to delay the spread of infection so has prioritised testing for the most at risk of severe illness from the virus rather than divert resources to widespread testing. Plans to test up to 25,000 per day have been announced. Testing currently includes people in hospital who have pneumonia or acute respiratory illness. The reason this is being done is to make sure we are using our valuable NHS resources as well as we can. By focusing our testing on the most vulnerable we help relieve pressure on the NHS and save more lives.

Do I need to wear a face mask?

When you’re doing normal day-to-day activities face masks do little to protect people from viruses. The best way to reduce any risk of infections is with good hygiene, like washing your hands, not touching your face and avoiding social contact (within 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.

Healthcare professionals may wear special masks if they’re spending hours each day looking after people who have tested positive for coronavirus, or may have been infected. If someone has been told they have coronavirus, they may be advised to wear a mask to protect others.

What financial support can I get?

The Government has made a number of changes to benefits and sick pay and will likely take more steps over the coming days and weeks. The following two organisations provide detailed support and advice about your money in light of coronavirus and new government measures.

This up-to-date guide from the Money Advice Service is easy to follow and filled with good advice about sick pay and changes to claiming your benefits during this challenging time.

The advice and benefits and grants calculators at Turn2Us are useful to get support if the coronavirus has had a negative impact on your finances.

Can I claim sick pay?

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home? Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by the virus.

What if I have a ‘zero hours’ contract? You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Check with your employer in the first instance and if you’re not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) .

What if I’m self-employed? You can apply for Universal Credit – the Government have changed certain rules governing this benefit during the coronavirus period.

What if the whole family has to stay at home so we have no income? If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit – the Government has changed certain rules governing this benefit during the coronavirus period.

I’m worried about paying my tax – is there any help?

Yes, there are 2,000 staff supporting a COVID-19 dedicated helpline for businesses and self-employed being run by HMRC Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, Saturday 8am-4pm – 0800 0159 559 who will discuss possible remedies such as:

  • agreeing an instalment arrangment
  • suspending debt collection proceedings
  • cancelling penalties and interest

Can I get up-to-date news about coronavirus (COVID-19)?

Yes sign up here and check your junk mail for confirmation.




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