Coronavirus: Guide to social distancing

For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus.

On Sunday 10 May the Prime Minister announced a roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the COVID-19 crisis you can find this here

This document describes the progress the UK has made to date in tackling the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and sets out the plans for moving to the next phase of its response to the virus. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread. The roadmap will be kept constantly under review as the epidemic, and the world’s understanding of it, develops.

FAQs can be found here. This guidance applies in England – people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

Groups of up to six people will be able to meet outdoors in England from Monday 1 June, including in gardens and other private outdoor spaces, provided strict social distancing guidelines are followed.You can find out more here.

The 2.2 million people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to COVID-19 and have been ‘shielding’ are able to go outside, as restrictions are eased in a cautious and gradual way which means we can control the virus. Those advised to shield can now go outside with members of their household or meet one member of another household if they live alone, providing a much-needed boost to people most at risk who have made huge sacrifices. Social distancing must be followed strictly at all times.

From 15 June, face coverings will be required while using public transport in England, to help control the virus and save lives. All hospital visitors and outpatients will also be required to wear face coverings – and all hospital staff to wear Type 1 and Type 2 surgical masks.

The Prime Minister has announced that from 14 June, adults living alone – or single parents with children under 18 – will be able to form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household, meaning they can spend time together inside each others’ homes and interact with each other without needing to stay 2 metres apart, helping those who are suffering from loneliness during this difficult time.

From Monday 6 July, those shielding from coronavirus can gather in groups of up to 6 people outdoors, including those outside of their household, while maintaining social distancing. Those who are shielding and live alone or are single parents with children can form a ‘support bubble’ with another household.

From Saturday 1 August, the guidance will then be relaxed so clinically extremely vulnerable people will no longer be advised to shield, but support will remain available from NHS volunteers and local councils.

The Prime Minister has set out that from Saturday 4 July:

  • Pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.
  • Two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures and people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.
  • Some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen in order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, if they can do so safely – this includes outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades, as well as libraries, social clubs, places of worship and community centres.
  • Following a review, the Prime Minister set out that where it is not possible to stay two metres apart, guidance will allow people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’. This means staying one metre apart, plus mitigations which reduce the risk of transmission.