Following the announcement this evening (23 March 2020), people will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:
To ensure compliance with the instruction to stay at home, the Government will immediately:
Parks will remain open for exercise but gatherings will be dispersed, and the police will have the powers to enforce restrictions, including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
The Prime Minister stated that no Prime Minister in the world wants to enact measures like this but that 'Without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses.'
24 March - UPDATES TO GUIDANCE
Extracts from the Guidance:
On 23 March the Government, stepped up measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives. All non-essential premises must now close. Takeaway and delivery services may remain open and operational in line with guidance on Friday 20 March. Online retail is still open and encouraged and postal and delivery service will run as normal.
Retail and public premises which we expect to remain open must:
Parks will remain open but only for individuals and households to exercise once a day.
Communal spaces within parks such as playgrounds and football pitches will be closed.
Non-essential businesses and premises must now shut.
The following businesses and premises must remain closed:
Everyone is instructed to comply with the rules issued by the government in relation to coronavirus, in order to protect both themselves and others.
As of 2pm on 21 March 2020, closures on the original list from 20th March are now enforceable by law in England and Wales due to the threat to public health. The government will extend the law and enforcement powers to include the new list of premises for closure. Further measures on enforcement could be taken following the passage of the Coronavirus Bill through parliament.
A business operating in contravention of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Business Closures) Regulations 2020 will be committing an offence. As agreed with the devolved administrations, these measures will be extended to Scotland and Northern Ireland by Ministerial Direction once the Coronavirus Bill is in force.
Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines.
Article originally published 23 March. Updated 24 March.