“From this evening I must give the British people a very simple instruction – you must stay at home,” Johnson said on Monday evening, citing the need to slow the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.
Preventing the spread of the coronavirus between homes is key to ensuring that the National Health Service (NHS) is not overwhelmed by the influx of patients requiring intensive care – or crowding out other people who need treatments, Johnson said.
This means no direct contact with friends or family members who do not live in the same home, and only leaving to shop for food “as infrequently as possible,” “one form of exercise” a day, getting medical care, or commuting to and from work if absolutely necessary.
People in the UK will only be allowed to leave their home for the following purposes:
- Shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Police will have the powers to enforce the rules, including through fines and dispersing gatherings. To ensure compliance with the instruction to stay at home, the government will:
- Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship
- Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with
- Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals
Parks will remain open for exercise, but gatherings will be dispersed.