|Good morning. At the risk of bombarding your email inboxes, I am sending another update, as the Government has published some useful documents to help answer some of the questions people have.
This document answers a lot of questions about what you can and cannot do, and explains what will be different from tomorrow.
If you can work from home, you should continue to do so. If you cannot work from home, please discuss how to do so safely with your employer.
The Government has been working with industries and unions to produce this document which provides detailed safety guidance according to sector.
The advice is to avoid public transport wherever possible. More advice on travelling safely, including car sharing, is available HERE.
The Government has advised the use of face coverings for adults in instances where social distancing may not be possible, for example on public transport or in smaller shops. You can find out more about that HERE. This is not to protect the wearer but to protect others if the wearer has Covid-19 but does not display any symptoms. If you or anyone in your household has any of the symptoms of Covid-19 you must self-isolate.
Timelines and the plan
The full plan the Government is working to is HERE. A reminder that this is an aspiration, but public health is paramount, and if the R number starts to increase as a result of any measures being relaxed, they can be tightened again.
Freedom to travel for exercise
I continue to receive emails from people who are anxious that others may now travel to exercise in the countryside so long as they remain at least 2 metres from other people. I want to try to allay those concerns if I can.
Firstly, the scientific advisers have been clear this is a safe activity. No measures will be relaxed until it is deemed safe to do so. The Covid-19 virus spreads in droplets, from coughing, sneezing and talking. So long as you remain 2 metres or more from others, you will not catch it. Please continue to wash your hands, use hand sanitiser and refrain from touching your face.
It is much safer to have everyone dispersed, exercising in large open spaces and beaches than crammed onto pavements and in small parks.
The Government has issued further guidance on planning journeys, but you are not at risk from others if they are 2 metres away, regardless of where they have travelled from.
People are being advised to plan ahead, to check parks and beaches are open before travel, and if there is a numbers problem, local authorities can stagger arrival times, and ensure there is social distancing in car parks etc.
The Government is only allowing this because it has been deemed a safe thing to allow. If once these very small relaxation of measures are allowed, we find a sharp increase in the R rate, they will be tightened again.
This is a very low risk measure to allow more enjoyment for people in these tough times. You are of course free to stay home if you would feel safer doing that.
Second homes and holiday homes
At this point, there is no relaxation of the rules, which means you are not allowed to go to your second home or stay in a holiday home. There are exemptions to this, which have been in place since the start of the restrictions (for example if a holiday home/caravan park is your main residence, and a number of front-line NHS staff are using them to live in to protect shielded family members at home).
If you believe someone is staying in a second or holiday home without a reason allowed in the exemptions, you are free to contact the police who will investigate.
I do hope you will appreciate that we cannot give definitive dates for when we will reach various stages of lifting restrictions as laid out in the road map. We must be guided by the evidence, and ensure public safety at all times.
If a measure has been relaxed, it is because the Government’s scientific experts have deemed it safe to do so.
Very best wishes,