When can I leave my home?

You must stay at home, unless you have a good reason to go out.

You can leave your home to:

  • shop for food
  • get childcare or got to school or university (if they are still open)
  • go to work, if you cannot work from home
  • exercise (you can do this once per day in your local area)
  • go to a hospital or health appointment
  • visit people in your support bubble
  • give care to a vulnerable person
  • escape in an emergency or if you are in danger.

You can go out with:

  • anyone in your household or your support bubble
  • a carer or supporter
  • a disabled person you support who needs you to be with them all the time.

Who can I spend time with?

You must not meet indoors with people you do not live with, or who are not in your support bubble (if you have one).

It is okay to meet with people who are there to support you (e.g. a carer or support worker).

From Monday 8 March you can meet outside in a public place (e.g. park) with one person that you do not live (this was allowed before 8 March, but only for exercise). 

You must follow social distancing rules (PDF) when you do this (this means staying 2 metres apart from each other).

What places will be open?

Because of the lockdown rules many shops and services will not be able to open. However there are some places that will stay open, including:

  • supermarket and shops selling things you really need (e.g. food, medicine)
  • places selling food to takeaway, for delivery or click and collect
  • places of worship (you must follow social distancing rules in places of worship. Funerals and weddings can still take place with a small number of guests).

From Monday 8 March 2021 schools and colleges will be open to all students.

Groups, clubs and day services may have to close. Contact the person running the group, club or service to find out if they are open.

Support and childcare bubbles

Support bubbles

You can join up with another household to make a support bubble if you:

  • are the only person over 18 in your household (e.g. a single parent)
  • are over 18 and live with another adult or a child under 5 who needs help from you all the time because of their disability or health condition
  • you have a baby who is less than 1 year old.

You can still have carers and support workers visiting you and have a support bubble.

Childcare bubbles

Parents with children under 14 can make a childcare bubble with one other household for childcare purposes.

This is to allow parents to be able to work, and must not be used for adults to socialise.

People who need to take extra care (people who are clinically extremely vulnerable)

There are some people who may become very poorly if they catch coronavirus (COVID-19).

These people are sometimes called clinically extremely vulnerable or people who have been asked to shield.

Doctor's surgeries have a list of people who need to shield.

People with Down's syndrome were added to this list in November. In February and March more people were added to the list because the government found out more about coronavirus.

People who need to shield will get a letter from their doctor to tell them what they need to do to keep safe.

We have made this easy read guide to the advice for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable and may need to shield during this lockdown (PDF).

The government has also made this guidance about shielding which you can read.

Find out more

See official guidance from the government (in EnglandNorthern Ireland and Wales) to find out more about the restrictions around coronavirus (COVID-19).

Talk to us

We know this is a difficult and unusual time. We're here to help.

If you need information or advice you can contact our helpline or if you can, have a chat on our online community

Contact the helpline Go to the online community