Seven lockdown rules that could change

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (COV

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would review the rule allowing people to exercise outside with one person from another household 'if too many people keep breaking it'. - Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

One of the most difficult aspects of following the government's Covid guidance has been the number of times it has changes.

Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said on Tuesday that lockdown rules in England have changed 64 times so far, an average of an alteration every four and a half days.

And many people have pointed out the ambiguity in some of the rules, especially in the wording of the guidance around exercise which advises people to "stay local".

Even a Norwich police officer admitted on Wednesday that he and his colleagues had found it difficult to keep up with the changes in guidance and rules, which makes it trickier to enforce them.

Rumours persist that rules could get even more strict in the coming days and weeks, as the number of deaths and confirmed Covid-19 cases remain at very high levels.

On Wednesday, prime minister Boris Johnson refused to rule out harsher measures, despite claiming that the current rules are "showing signs of some effect".

But what exactly could be next to change?

Wearing masks have become part of everyday life. Pic: PA

Wearing masks have become part of everyday life. - Credit: PA

Face-covering rules

After Tesco and Asda announced they would ban shoppers not wearing masks unless they have a medical exemption, it's likely other supermarket and shops will follow suit.

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And it has been suggested too that face coverings should be mandatory for anyone outside their home, even outdoors, though this would have "very little impact" on transmission according to Sage.

Professor Chris Whitty did say there "might be some logic" to forcing people to wear masks in a busy outdoor queue or crowd, though.

Two-metre rule

Reports have suggested that some scientists want the government to increase the recommended gap for social distancing without mitigation to be extended from two metres to three.

However, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK's deputy chief medical officer, criticised this view, telling LBC that the distance that droplets travel depends on the cough or the sneeze, not on the variant of the virus.

Also, a three-metre rule would make it impossible for many shops and businesses to operate effectively, and could force even more firms to close.

Key worker children make their way to primary school.

Key worker children make their way to primary school. Early years and nurseries, including nurseries and childminders, remain fully open. - Credit: PA


Scientists say young children carry a lower risk of transmitting the virus than older children and adults, but Public Health England figures show 10pc of outbreaks in education settings occurred in nurseries and similar institutions.

Early-years provision has so far remained open in England in the current lockdown, despite the fact they were closed last March to all except vulnerable children and those of key workers.

Prof Whitty has claimed that keeping them open allows parents to go to work or do other important things, but Scotland and Northern Ireland have closed them and England could follow suit.

Places of worship

Such places were forced to close during the first national lockdown last March, but have been able to remain open in England under the current restrictions.

Government guidance, however, describes places of worship as "particularly vulnerable to to the spread of coronavirus".

It also says that the government is working with faith leaders and the Places of Worship Taskforce to "review and amend" this guidance as the situation changes, so it's possible these types of buildings could be forced to close in the near future.

Norwich Airport. Pic: EDP

People from England are not allowed to travel internationally, unless legally permitted to do so. - Credit: Archant

International travel

The current Covid-19 guidance says people can only travel, including internationally, if they have a legally permitted reason to do so.

This means some people are still allowed to travel to and from the UK, but a new Covid-19 variant discovered in Brazil and Japan has seen calls for further restrictions on international travel.

From Friday, people will have to prove they have tested negative 72 hours before they board their flight when travelling to England.

Click and collect

With non-essential shops already forced to close to in-store customers, many have launched click and collect services to help maintain revenue during lockdown.

New restrictions in Scotland, however, have restricted click and collect to stores which are selling 'essential' items, such as food and clothes.

It's possible similar steps could be taken in England, to reduce the number of people making journeys to collect items – especially where there is an option to have goods delivered to their homes.

Couple On Cycle Ride In Countryside Smiling At Camera

People in England are currently allowed to exercise outside with one other person from another household, as long as they maintain a two-metre distance, but could this change? - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Exercising with a relative or friend

As long as they maintain a two-metre distance, people in England are currently allowed to exercise outside with one other person from another household.

But Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would review this "if too many people keep breaking this rule".

Walking, running, cycling or swimming outside either on your own or with other members of your household or bubble is currently allowed once per day, as long as people stay "local".

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