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Police release guide to why you can and can’t go out

PUBLISHED: 08:27 17 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:13 21 April 2020

Police enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Police enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

‘Home working’ from a local park, buying DIY supplies and sitting on a park bench for too long could land you in trouble with the police, according to new lockdown guidelines released by the force.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing has listed the activities considered acceptable for leaving home during the lockdown intended to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The guidelines come as the Government has extended the lockdown for a second three-week period and follows calls - including from North Norfolk District Council leader Sarah Butikofer - for the rules around the lockdown to be clarified.

According to the rules, people are allowed to exercise more than once a day, or drive to the countryside to walk, if more time is spent walking than driving.

Moving to a friend’s house for several days after an argument at home is considered ‘likely to be reasonable’.

The lockdown rules for what constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live

Necessities

Likely to be reasonable

-Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol.

Police enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

-Buying a small amount of a staple item or necessity (eg, a newspaper, pet food, a loaf of bread or pint of milk).

-Collecting surplus basic food items from a friend.

-Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in recent bad weather.

NOT likely to be reasonable

Police enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYPolice enforcing the lockdown in Cromer. The police have released new guidelines about what is considered a 'reasonable' reason to be out of your own home. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

-Buying paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen.

Comments

There is no need for all a person’s shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of snacks and luxuries is still permitted.

In general terms, a person has a reasonable excuse to visit the shops which remain open to customers under the regulations.

If a person is already out of the address with good reason, then it would not be proportionate to prevent the person from buying nonessential items.

Food could include hot food from takeaways.

Exercise

Likely to be reasonable

-Going for a run or cycle or practicing yoga.

Walking in the countryside or in cities. Attending an allotment.

-Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving).

MORE: Can I drive for exercise? Police chief addresses key question

-Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk.

Exercising more than once per day - the only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home.

NOT likely to be reasonable

-Driving for a prolonged period with only brief exercise.

-A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period.

Comments

Exercise can come in many forms, including walks.

Exercise must involve some movement, but it is acceptable for a person to stop for a break in exercise.

However, a very short period of ‘exercise’ to excuse a long period of inactivity may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else.

It is lawful to drive for exercise.

Work

Likely to be reasonable

-A key worker or other essential worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.

-A non-key worker or non-essential key worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.

-A person delivering food packages to vulnerable people.

NOT likely to be reasonable

-A person who can work from home choosing to work in a local park.

-A person knocking on doors offering to do cash-in-hand work.

Comments

There is no requirement to be a key worker or essential worker in order to travel to work.

Anyone can travel to work if it is not reasonably possible to work from home.

A request from an employer to attend the work place should be sufficient.

But there is no requirement for the person to have any written proof of a need to go to work or volunteering.

Police should not ask for ID documents or any other kind of document.

There is no requirement for volunteers to work for a registered organisation or charity. There is no requirement for the volunteering to be related to Covid-19.

Other reasons

Likely to be reasonable

-Taking an animal for treatment.

-Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a ‘cooling-off’ following arguments at home.

-Providing support to vulnerable people.

NOT likely to be reasonable

-Visiting a vet’s surgery in person to renew a prescription (where this could be done over the phone).

-Visiting a friend in their address or meeting in public to socialise.

Comments

Vet’s surgeries remain open and so taking an animal for emergency treatment would qualify as a good reason (as the owner has a duty to

preserve welfare).

But visiting a vet’s surgery where a call would suffice would not be reasonable.

The regulations allow people to move house. This means that individuals can move between households.

But this should be a genuine move (ie,measured in days, not hours).

Social visits are not generally a good reason to leave home.

However, there may be exceptional circumstances for a person to visit another (eg, a hospital authorising a particular person to visit).

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