Viral list of UK lockdown rules is not right

26 March 2020
What was claimed

Everything is closed except supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations.

Our verdict

Other shops, including pet shops, dry cleaners and Post Offices can remain open.

What was claimed

Cafes, bars, restaurants and shops are closed.

Our verdict

Cafes and restaurants can still provide takeaway services, and some shops remain open. Bars are closed.

What was claimed

You can’t leave your house unless to buy food, medicine or in an emergency.

Our verdict

This is not right. You can also leave to exercise, travel to work, take children to school or care for a vulnerable person.

What was claimed

You cannot have more than one person in a car unless in an emergency.

Our verdict

This is not correct. No guidance on car passengers has been issued although you are meant to keep 2m from people not in your household.

What was claimed

Pets must be walked alone within 50m of your house.

Our verdict

This isn’t true. You can go further away from your house and walk them with members of your household as part of your daily exercise.

What was claimed

Beaches, parks and children’s playgrounds are closed.

Our verdict

Playgrounds are closed. Some parks have decided to close too, but no beaches have reported closing. People should follow social distancing measures.

What was claimed

You are not allowed to go for a walk or bike ride to get fresh air.

Our verdict

This is wrong. You can walk or cycle as part of your daily exercise.

What was claimed

You must wear gloves to go to the supermarket.

Our verdict

This is not correct. No guidance on gloves has been issued for supermarkets.

What was claimed

You must queue in single file and one meter apart.

Our verdict

No advice on queuing has been issued, but the government recommends people stay two metres apart.

What was claimed

You face hefty fines if you break these rules.

Our verdict

Businesses could face unlimited fines if they break government rules. Police can also fine people.

While this article was correct when first published it contains information relating to the UK's lockdown rules prior to 13 May. Since that date, some rules have changed. For the latest on what counts as essential travel during lockdown we've more up to date information here.

A post shared hundreds of times on Facebook claims to show a list of rules for the UK’s Covid-19 lockdown. Many things on this list are not correct. It is actually a copy of a list which claimed to show lockdown rules in Spain, which is largely accurate. 

The UK government has said it will review its current guidance on the lockdown in three weeks. We will update this story if it changes.

“Everything is closed except supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations.”

This isn’t quite correct. As well as supermarkets, pharmacies and petrol stations, the government guidance says other food shops, health shops, bicycle shops, home and hardware shops, laundrettes and dry cleaners, car rentals, pet shops and veterinary surgeries, corner shops and newsagents, post offices, off-licences and breweries, car garages and vehicle rental shops and banks can remain open. All other retail stores, including hair and beauty salons and massage parlours, must close.

“Cafes, bars, restaurants and shops are closed.” 

This is broadly correct. Restaurants and cafés can still provide food delivery and takeaway but must close to other customers. Pubs and bars must remain closed.

“It is not allowed to leave your home unless you are going to buy medicine, food or it is an emergency.” 

This is not correct. Under the new guidance, you can leave the house for one of four reasons: shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, any medical need or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, and travelling to and from work if you “absolutely cannot” work from home.

If your child is still attending school, because you work in a critical sector, you can continue to take them there. Where parents don’t live together, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.

Even when doing these activities, you should spend as little time outside of the home as possible and ensure you are two metres apart from people you don’t live with.

“It is not allowed to have more than 1 person in a car except in a medical emergency.” 

No guidance has been released specifying the number of people allowed in a car. However, you should continue to follow the government’s social distancing rules, and avoid seeing friends or family who you do not live with, which includes being in a car with them.   

“You are only allowed to walk your pets within 50m of your home. Pets have to be walked alone.” 

There are no rules saying that pets can only be walked within 50 metres of your home. Everyone is still allowed one form of exercise a day, alone or with members of their household. This could include walking dogs. There are no restrictions on how near to your home you must stay, but the government says you should spend as little time as possible outside of your home and stay two metres away from people you don’t live with.

“Beaches and parks are closed… All children’s playgrounds and parks are closed.” 

Some areas of parks are closed, such as children’s playgrounds, sports courts and pitches and outdoor gyms. There are no rules requiring parks or beaches to close, although some have anyway. Hammersmith and Fulham council in London has decided to close its parks, and the National Trust has closed its parks and gardens. Others, like The Royal Parks in London, have suggested they may have to close if people do not follow social distancing guidelines. We haven’t seen any reports of beaches closing in the UK.

“You are not allowed to go for a walk or a bike ride to get fresh air.” 

This is not correct. Everyone is allowed one form of exercise a day, alone or with other members of their households. This can include a walk or bike ride. Again, you should spend as little time out of the house as possible and stay two metres away from anyone you don’t live with.

“When getting groceries from a supermarket you can’t go in at all unless you are wearing gloves. Gloves are provided at the entrance.” 

This is wrong. There are no rules requiring the wearing of gloves in supermarkets or anywhere else.

“In queues you have to stay in single line with a 1 metre distance between each person at all times.” 

The government recommends people stay two metres apart from those they don’t live with. No specific guidance on queuing has been released though some supermarkets have asked their customers to stay this far apart when queuing.

“There are hefty fines if you break these rules.” 

Police will be able to fine people and businesses who do not follow the rules set out by the government (although as we’ve already said, these aren’t the rules included in the Facebook post). Businesses and premises that stay open in breach of the rules could receive potentially unlimited fines.

New regulations mean the police can instruct members of the public to go home or leave an area, and ensure parents are stopping their children from breaking the rules. They can issue a fine of £60, lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days. This fine rises to £120 for second time offenders, and doubles for each further repeated offence. Police can also arrest people “where deemed proportionate and necessary”. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as partly false because many of the things listed are not part of government guidance.

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