The law says that nobody can be outside their home without a reasonable excuse.

What makes a reasonable excuse can vary depending on the exact situation. Here are some reasonable excuses in England.


You can go out to get:

  • food, including alcohol and other luxuries
  • tools and supplies for home repairs or gardening
  • a delivery
  • money

Exercise and leisure

You can go out to:

  • exercise as much as you like, including walking, running, cycling, yoga, tennis, basketball, golf and tending an allotment
  • relax outdoors in parks and other public spaces, including sunbathing, picnicking and fishing
  • spend time outdoors with one other person not from your household
  • drive for exercise or leisure


You can also go out to:

  • get medical help and supplies, including for pets and to help someone else with their medical needs
  • escape an abusive or other dangerous situation at home
  • work, if you cannot work from home
  • take children to school or childcare, or take them between parents’ homes
  • move house or view houses for sale
  • go to a recycling centre
  • fulfil a legal obligation
  • access social, employment or victim support services
  • attend a funeral or visit a burial ground or remembrance garden

Public gatherings

Public gatherings of more than two people who don’t live together are banned. This includes all the leisure activities above like exercise and picnics.

You can exercise or relax outdoors with one other person from another household. Please keep 2m apart from anyone you meet from outside your household.

Exceptions include funerals or people working together who cannot work from home.

Police powers and fines for breaking coronavirus rules


Shops selling food, drink, medicines and other supplies are allowed to stay open. Places like cafes, restaurants and pubs are only allowed to open for takeaway.

More information on business closures

Reporting a social distancing violation

Please make sure you understand what is and is not allowed before you get in touch with us. We particularly want you to tell us if you see things like:

  • a large gathering of people from different households, in the park or on the streets
  • a house party with people who don’t live at the house
  • people drinking together at a pub, bar, cafe or restaurant
  • a crowded shop where people are refusing to keep their distance from each other

You can tell us about a breach of the coronavirus rules online.