Guidance from the government

The government have put some rules in place to help stop coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading.

We've created an easy read guide to help explain some of the things that you can and cannot in England (except for some places that are in a local lockdown e.g. Leicester).


There is separate guidance in place for Wales and Northern Ireland.

Easy read guide to what you can do (PDF)

When can I leave my home?

You can leave home to shop, exercise, travel beyond your local area, spend time outside or to get medical treatment. 

In England businesses like restaurants, pubs, cinemas, hotels and campsites can open as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. Certain business may still be closed and different places will be closed depending on if you are England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

From Thursday 24 September, pubs and restaurants in England must not stay open later than 10pm.

Local lockdowns

Some places in the UK have more coronavirus cases than other parts of the country.

To help keep people safe in these areas some rules may be put in place which may affect you if you live there, especially if you are someone who is most likely to get very poorly from coronavirus. If you are one of these people you will be on the shielded patients list.

The following areas have higher cases of coronavirus in the UK and are taking advanced measures. Click on each location to visit the website and find out more about what is happening there:

Everyone on the shielded patients list who lives in one of these areas will receive a text and a letter to tell them that advanced measures are being taken in their local area, what the instructions are for them, and where they can find more information and support.

Find out more about shielding guidance for the rest of the country in our easy read guide here (PDF).

You can find out what is happening in your local area by using our local support map.

Social distancing 

It is still important to be careful when you do go out or see other people, to reduce the chance of getting ill or infecting other people.

You must follow social distancing rules (PDF), which means keeping 2 metres apart from people who are not from your household or someone who supports you.

If it is not possible to keep 2 metres apart from people then there are some things you can do to keep safe, such as:

  • stay at least 1 metre away from other people
  • wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth
  • turn your face away from other people’s faces
  • wash your hands as often as possible
  • do not touch your face.

See our easy read guide about the 2 metre social distancing rule for more information (PDF).

Support bubbles

People who live on their own (aka single households) can now spend time at another household in a ‘support bubble’.

These support bubbles only apply to single adult households or single parents with children under 18. Support bubbles cannot be used by people who are shielding.

Meeting up with people who are not from your household

Up to 6 people from different households can meet indoors or outdoors. (A support bubble counts as 1 household.)

You must follow social distancing rules when meeting up with people not from your household.

You can stay overnight from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household.

From 14 September it is the law in England that people cannot meet indoors or outdoors in groups of more than 6 people from different households. This is to help stop the number of coronavirus cases rising.

Face coverings

This easy read guide explains what face coverings are, including why and how they should be worn (PDF).

There are different rules for wearing face coverings depending on where you are. 

We have created this easy read guide on face coverings rules for people living in England (PDF). (Please see separate guidance for people in Northern Ireland (PDF) and Wales.)

People who do not have to wear a face covering

This guidance explains why some people do not have to wear face coverings.(For example; because you have a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering, or because it causes severe distress).

If you do not have to wear a face covering, there are cards (sometimes called "exemption cards") that you can take with you when you go out to help explain why, if someone asks you in public. The cards can also be used to ask someone else to remove their face mask or covering so you can understand them better.

Please use these cards if you need them:

Find out more

See official guidance from the government (in England, Northern Ireland and Wales) to find out more about the restrictions around coronavirus (COVID-19).

Talk to us

We know this is a difficult and unusual time. We're here to help.

If you need information or advice you can contact our helpline or if you can, have a chat on our online community

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