Category: UK Travel

Meeting people from outside your household from 4 July

No Comments

The government recognises how difficult it has been for people to be cut off from their family and friends in recent months. This has been necessary to help us all stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

This guidance explains how you can protect yourself and others from coronavirus when meeting people that you do not live with. It applies from 4 July. The existing guidance will continue to apply until that date. At all times, it’s important to maintain social distancing from people you do not live with to reduce the risk of spreading the virus. You should only have close contact with people outside of your household if you are in a support bubble with them.

In England, you can meet people you do not live with in 3 types of groups:

  • you can continue to meet in any outdoor space in a group of up to 6 people from different households
  • single adult households – in other words adults who live alone or with dependent children only – can continue to form an exclusive ‘support bubble’ with one other household
  • from 4 July, you can also meet in a group of 2 households (including your support bubble), in any location- public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time

It remains the case – even inside someone’s home – that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. Those who have been able to form a support bubble (i.e. those in single adult households) can continue to have close contact as if they live with the other people in their bubble. This should be exclusive and should not change. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers.

Staying alert when meeting people you do not live with

In order to keep you and your family and friends safe, it remains very important that you stay alert when meeting family and friends.

From 4 July, you should:

  • only gather indoors in groups of no more than two households (including your support bubble) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • only gather outdoors in either a group of up to 6 people from different households or up to two households (including your support bubble)
  • only gather in slightly larger groups of up to 30 for major life events, such as weddings
  • not hold or attend celebrations of any size (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
  • not stay overnight away from your home with members of more than 2 households (including your support bubble)
  • limit social interaction with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
  • try to limit the number of people you see, especially over short periods of time, to keep you and them safe, and save lives. The more people with whom you interact, the more chances we give the virus to spread

Gatherings of more than 30 people will be banned, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.

You can also minimise the risk of spreading infection by following some key principles. You should:

  • never visit another household or allow people into your household or you’re your garden if you have coronavirus symptoms however mild these are.
  • always check if guests have coronavirus symptoms or if they have been asked to isolate. If they have symptoms or have been asked to isolate, insist that they delay their visit until they have either been tested or completed their period of isolation
  • continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines when you are with anyone not in your household or your support bubble
  • take hygiene precautions by washing your hands as soon as you are home for at least 20 seconds, use hand sanitiser when you are out, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, and cough into the crook of your elbow
  • only form a support bubble with one other household, and if you or they are in a single adult household. You should not change or add to your support bubble once formed
  • access private gardens externally wherever possible – if you need to go through someone else’s home to do so, avoid touching surfaces and loitering
  • avoid using toilets in other people’s home (outside of your support bubble) wherever possible and wipe down surfaces as frequently as possible
  • using disinfectant, wipe down any surfaces or door handles people from outside of your household or support bubble come into contact with if walking through your home
  • avoid sharing plates and utensils with people outside of your household or your support bubble
  • avoid using paddling pools or other garden equipment with people outside of your household or bubble

The following sections provide more detail on how to safely meet people you do not live with.

Where to meet indoors

From 4 July, members of two different households (including your support bubble) can meet in any indoor space, including a private home. You should, wherever possible, socially distance from people you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble and take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene – washing hands and surfaces – when using shared facilities like bathrooms.

Where to meet outdoors

You can meet people in both public or private outdoor spaces, such as gardens, yards or roof terraces – as long as you maintain social distancing at all times with people who are not in your household or support bubble. Garages, sheds or cabins are all indoor areas where the risk of transmission is as high as if you were in a small room in a house.

If you do need to use the toilet in someone’s home or are passing through to access someone’s garden, try to avoid touching surfaces and if you use the toilet wash your hands thoroughly, wipe down surfaces, use separate or paper towels and wash or dispose of them safely after use.

Going to a pub or restaurant with members of another household

From 4 July, when eating or drinking out with people you do not live with, you should only meet one other household if you are seated indoors. People from more than two households at once cannot meet indoors. If you are eating or drinking outdoors, you can do so with one other household or in a group of up to 6 people from different households.

In all cases, people from different households should ensure they socially distance as much as possible. Premises should also take reasonable steps to help you do so in line with COVID-19 secure principles. It remains the case that you should only have close social contact with people you do not live with if you are in a support bubble with them.

Staying overnight with members of another household

From 4 July, you – and members of your household or support bubble – can stay overnight in groups of up to 2 households (including support bubbles). This can be in each other’s homes or other accommodation, such as hotels or apartments. You should, wherever possible, socially distance from people you do not normally live with, take particular care to maintain excellent hygiene – washing hands and surfaces – and avoid using shared facilities like bathrooms wherever possible.

Sharing food and drink

You should try, wherever possible, not to pass each other food or drink unless you live together or are in a support bubble together. You should ensure that plates or utensils are thoroughly cleaned before use. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds and use disposable towels if possible.

Using garden equipment

You should not share garden equipment with people outside of your household or your support bubble because of the risk of transmission from shared surfaces. You could bring your own equipment or if you have to use chairs, for example, you should wipe them down carefully with household cleaner before and after use.

You should try to avoid shared equipment. For example you should use your own tennis racquet, golf club or basketball. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.

You should avoid using paddling pools and private swimming pools with people outside of your household or support bubble.

Playing sport

From 4 July, you can exercise or play sport outdoors in groups of up to two households, or in groups of up to 6 people from different households as is the current rule. You should only do so where it is possible to socially distance from those you do not live with.

People who play team sports can train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but not in groups of more than 6 and you should socially distance from people you do not live with. While groups could practise ball skills like passing and kicking, equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum and strong hand hygiene practices should be in place before and after.

You can also play tennis with people from outside of your household (or support bubble) as long as you socially distance wherever possible. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if equipment is to be used by someone else.

Gatherings in COVID-19 secure venues

From 4 July, when meeting friends and family – even in venues like restaurants, pubs, places of worship or community centres – you should follow the limits on gatherings and only:

  • meet indoors in groups up to two households (including your support bubble) – this includes when dining out or going to the pub
  • meet outdoors in a group of no more than two households (including your support bubble) or in a group of up to 6 people from different households

Clubs or groups can begin to meet again in COVID-19 secure venues but you should comply with the limits described above . You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble. You should also limit social interaction with anyone outside your group even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship. Venues should ensure they comply with COVID-19 secure guidelines.

Gatherings of people doing the same activity with each other must be no more than 30 people, other than for exceptions to be set out in law.

Group prayer

From 4 July, places of worship can open for services and group prayer, in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidelines. You should socially distance from anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble. You should also limit social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with (which can include two households) even if you see other people you know, for example, in a community centre or place of worship.

Travelling to meet people

You can travel to meet people irrespective of distance. You should continue to avoid using public transport and should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible.

This guidance only applies to England. You must adhere to the individual country laws and guidance of the devolved administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).

You should not travel with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing, for example by cycling.

Making a support bubble with another household

In England, if you live by yourself or are a single parent with dependant children – in other words, if there is only one adult in your home – you can expand your support network so that it includes one other household of any size. This is called making a ‘support bubble’ and means you are able to have close contact with them as you could if they were members of your own household.

We recognise how difficult this time has been, particularly on lonely and isolated people, and this change is designed to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the current social restrictions. Once you are in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as in a single household.

Keeping support bubbles exclusive

You should not change who is in your bubble or have close contact with anyone else you do not live with. This is critical to keeping you, and your family and friends, as safe as possible.

Members of support bubbles developing coronavirus symptoms

If you or someone in your household or your support bubble (if applicable) are showing coronavirus symptoms, everyone in your support bubble should stay home. If you or a member of your support bubble is contacted as part of the test and trace programme, the individual contacted should stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble should then isolate. This is critical to staying as safe as possible and saving lives.

Physical contact with members of your support bubble

You can have close physical contact with members of your support bubble if you and they want to. Support bubbles are a cautious step to help people who may be lonely and therefore at greatest risk of isolation. You do not need to socially distance from people in your bubble, but good hand hygiene and other measures can help to keep you and the people you meet as safe as possible.

Some people already take extra precautions with those they live with – for example, if one of them is clinically vulnerable, or one of them has a lot of contact outside the house – and you might want to do the same if you expand your bubble.

Meeting other households along with your bubble

In relation to the wider limits on gatherings, members of your support bubble should effectively be treated like members of your household.

Support bubbles and isolation

If any member of your support bubble – either someone in your own household or one that you have formed a bubble with – develops symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus you should follow advice on household isolation.

If you share custody of your child, and you and your child’s other parent are both in separate bubbles, all households would need to isolate if someone becomes symptomatic in the group.

If you are clinically extremely vulnerable (shielding)

From 6 July, those in single adult households (either an adult living alone or with dependent children under 18) may, if they wish, also form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household. All those in a support bubble will be able to spend time together inside each other’s homes, including overnight, without needing to socially distance.

If you are clinically vulnerable or have a higher risk of catching coronavirus (such as a frontline healthcare worker)

If you are clinically vulnerable, you should continue to take particular care to minimise contact with others. You should bear this in mind when deciding to form a support bubble. If you are at a higher risk of exposure to those with coronavirus (for example, if someone in your house is a healthcare or care worker that interacts with patients that have coronavirus), you should take particular care when deciding whether to form a support bubble .

If you share custody of your child with someone you do not live with

Children with separated parents are already permitted to move between both households and there is no change to that. It is also permitted for those households – if there is only a single adult in them – to form a support bubble with another household.

However, it is very important that if someone in any of these linked households shows coronavirus symptoms, or is otherwise self-isolating, you should all stay at home. This is critical to controlling the virus, by avoiding a chain of transmission.

Using a support bubble for informal childcare

If you are a lone parent you can form a support bubble with another household to provide informal (i.e. unpaid) childcare for them or for them to provide informal childcare for you. You should not form a support bubble with more than one household.

Lone adults with children over 18

If you live with children over the age of 18, you will not be able to form a support bubble.

The exception to this is if the child was under the age of 18 on 12 June 2020 and is in a single-parent household. That household can continue to participate in their current support bubble or form a support bubble if they have not already done so, once that child turns 18. This is a targeted intervention to provide extra support to some of those most impacted by the current social restrictions.

Lone adults with carers

If you are the only adult in your household, then you will be able to form a support bubble with any other household that is willing to exclusively bubble with you. This is irrespective of whether carers visit you to provide support.

If you live with other adults including your carers, then you will still be able to form a support bubble, however this would need to be with a single adult household.

Travelling to form a support bubble

There is no limit on how far you can travel in England to meet members of your support bubble but we recommend that you form a support bubble with someone who lives locally wherever possible. This will help to prevent the virus spreading from an area where there might be a higher rate of infection If you live in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland you must follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.

Returning from abroad

You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered, and stay away from others, including people you bubble with. See guidance on how to self-isolate when you travel to the UK.

Published 23 June 2020

Prime Minister’s statement to the House on COVID-19: 23 June 2020

No Comments

Mr Speaker, before I begin, I am sure the whole House will join me in sending our deepest condolences to the families and friends of

James Furlong, Joe Ritchie-Bennett and David Wails,

who were brutally killed in Reading on Saturday.

To assault defenceless people in a park is not simply an act of wickedness but abject cowardice,

and we will never yield to those who would seek to destroy our way of life.

Mr Speaker, with permission I will update the House on the next steps in our plan to rebuild our economy and reopen our society,

while waging our struggle against Covid-19.

From the outset, we have trusted in the common sense and perseverance of the British people

and their response has more than justified our faith.

Since I set out our plan on the 11th May,

we have been clear that our cautious relaxation of the guidance is entirely conditional on our continued defeat of the virus.

In the first half of May, nearly 69,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 across the UK;

by the first half of June, that total had fallen by nearly 70 percent to just under 22,000.

The number of new infections is now declining by between 2 and 4 percent every day.

Four weeks ago, an average of 1 in 400 people in the community in England had COVID-19;

in the first half of June, this figure was 1 in 1,700.

We created a human shield around the NHS and in turn our doctors and nurses have protected us,

and together we have saved our hospitals from being overwhelmed.

On the 11th May, 1,073 people were admitted to hospital in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with Covid-19,

by 20th June, this had fallen by 74 per cent to 283.

This pandemic has inflicted permanent scars and we mourn everyone we have lost.

Measured by a seven-day rolling average, the number of daily deaths peaked at 943 on the 14th April,

on 11th May it was 476,

and yesterday, the rolling average stood at 130.

We have ordered over 2.2 billion items of protective equipment from UK based manufacturers, many of whose production lines have been called into being to serve this new demand –

and yesterday, we conducted or posted 139,659 tests, bringing the total to over 8 million.

And while we remain vigilant, we do not believe there is currently a risk of a second peak of infections that might overwhelm the NHS.

Taking everything together, we continue to meet our five tests

and the Chief Medical Officers of all four home nations have downgraded the UK’s Covid Alert Level from four to three,

meaning that we no longer face a virus spreading exponentially,

though it remains in general circulation.

The administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland hold responsibility for their own lockdown restrictions

and they will respond to the united view of the Chief Medical Officers at their own pace, based on their own judgment,

but all parts of the UK are now travelling in the same direction and we will continue to work together to ensure that everyone in our country gets the support they need.

Thanks to our progress, we can now go further and safely ease the lockdown in England.

At every stage, caution will remain our watchword, and each step will be conditional and reversible.

Mr Speaker, given the significant fall in the prevalence of the virus, we can change the two-metre social distancing rule, from 4th July.

I know this rule effectively makes life impossible for large parts of our economy, even without other restrictions.

For example, it prevents all but a fraction of our hospitality industry from operating.

So that is why almost two weeks ago, I asked our experts to conduct a review and I will place a summary of their conclusions in the libraries of both Houses this week.

Where it is possible to keep 2 metres apart people should.

But where it is not, we will advise people to keep a social distance of ‘one metre plus’,

meaning they should remain one metre apart, while taking mitigations to reduce the risk of transmission.

We are today publishing guidance on how businesses can reduce the risk by taking certain steps to protect workers and customers.

These include, for instance, avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layouts,

reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces,

improving ventilation,

using protective screens and face coverings,

closing non-essential social spaces,

providing hand sanitiser

and changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams.

And of course, we already mandate face coverings on public transport.

Whilst the experts cannot give a precise assessment of how much the risk is reduced,

they judge these mitigations would make “1 metre plus” broadly equivalent to the risk at 2 metres if those mitigations are fully implemented.

Either will be acceptable and our guidance will change accordingly.

This vital change enables the next stage of our plan to ease the lockdown.

Mr Speaker, I am acutely conscious people will ask legitimate questions about why certain activities are allowed and others are not.

I must ask the House to understand that the virus has no interest in these debates.

Its only interest, its only ambition is to exploit any opportunities is to recapture ground that we might carelessly vacate.

There is one certainty: the fewer social contacts you have, the safer you will be.

My duty, our duty as the Government, is to guide the British people, balancing our overriding aim of controlling the virus against our natural desire to bring back normal life.

We cannot lift all the restrictions at once, so we have to make difficult judgments,

and every step is scrupulously weighed against the evidence.

Our principle is to trust the British public to use their common sense in the full knowledge of the risks,

remembering that the more we open up, the more vigilant we will need to be.

From now on we will ask people to follow guidance on social contact instead of legislation.

In that spirit we advise that from 4 July, two households of any size should be able to meet in any setting inside or out.

That does not mean they must always be the same two households.

It will be possible for instance to meet one set of grandparents one weekend, and the others the following weekend.

We are not recommending meetings of multiple households indoors because of the risk of creating greater chains of transmission.

Outside, the guidance remains that people from several households can meet in groups of up to six.

and it follows that two households can also meet, regardless of size.

Mr Speaker, I can tell the House that we will also re-open restaurants and pubs.

All hospitality indoors will be limited to table-service, and our guidance will encourage minimal staff and customer contact.

We will ask businesses to help NHS Test and Trace respond to any local outbreaks

by collecting contact details from customers, as happens in other countries,

and we will work with the sector to make this manageable.

Almost as eagerly awaited as a pint will be a haircut, particularly by me,

and so we will re-open hairdressers, with appropriate precautions, including the use of visors.

We also intend to allow some other close contact services, such as nail bars, to re-open as soon as we can, when we are confident they can operate in a Covid-secure way.

From 4th July, provided that no more than two households stay together,

people will be free to stay overnight in self-contained accommodation,

including hotels and bed & breakfasts,

as well as campsites as long as shared facilities are kept clean.

Most leisure facilities and tourist attractions will reopen if they can do so safely,

including outdoor gyms and playgrounds, cinemas, museums, galleries, theme parks and arcades

as well as libraries, social clubs and community centres.

“Close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools and spas will need to remain closed for now, as will bowling alleys and water parks.

But my RHFs the Business and Culture Secretaries will establish taskforces with public health experts and these sectors to help them become Covid-secure and re-open as soon as possible.

We will also work with the arts industry on specific guidance to enable choirs, orchestras and theatres to resume live performances as soon as possible.

Recreation and sport will be allowed, but indoor facilities, including changing rooms and courts, will remain closed

and people should only play close contact team sports with members of their household.

Mr Speaker, I know that many have mourned the closure of places of worship,

and this year, Easter, Passover and Eid all occurred during the lockdown.

So I am delighted that places of worship will be able to reopen for prayer and services –

including weddings with a maximum of 30 people,

all subject to social distancing.

Meanwhile, our courts, probation services, police stations and other public services will increasingly resume face-to-face proceedings.

Wrap-around care for school age children and formal childcare will restart over the summer.

Primary and secondary education will recommence in September with full attendance

and those children who can already go to school should do so – because it is safe.

Mr Speaker, we will publish Covid-secure guidelines for every sector that is re-opening,

and slowly but surely, these measures will restore a sense of normality.

After the toughest restrictions in peacetime history,

we are now able to make life easier for people to see more of their friends and families

and to help businesses get back on their feet and get people back into work.

But the virus has not gone away.

We will continue to monitor the data with the Joint Biosecurity Centre and our ever more effective Test and Trace system.

And I must be clear to the House, that as we have seen in other countries,

there will be flare-ups for which local measures will be needed

and we will not hesitate to apply the brakes and re-introduce restrictions even at national level – if required.

So I urge everyone to stay alert, control the virus and save lives.

Let’s keep washing our hands,

staying 2 metres apart wherever feasible, and mitigating the risks at 1 metre where not,

avoiding public transport when possible, and wearing a mask when not,

getting tested immediately if we have symptoms,

and self-isolating if instructed by NHS Test and Trace.

Today, we can say that our long national hibernation is beginning to come to an end

and life is returning to our shops, streets and homes

and a new, but cautious, optimism is palpable.

But it would be all too easy for that frost to return

and that is why we will continue to trust in the common sense and the community spirit of the British people to follow this guidance,

to carry us through and see us to victory over this virus.

I commend Mr Speaker this Statement to the House.

Published 23 June 2020

PM announces easing of lockdown restrictions: 23 June 2020

No Comments

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has today (Tuesday 23 June) set out further changes to lockdown measures in England to enable people to see more of their friends and family, help businesses get back on their feet and get people back in their jobs.

From Saturday 4th July, the Prime Minister has announced that pubs, restaurants and hairdressers will be able to reopen, providing they adhere to COVID Secure guidelines.

From the same date, he has set out that two households will be able to meet up in any setting with social distancing measures, and that people can now enjoy staycations in England with the reopening of accommodation sites.

In order to begin restoring the arts and cultural sector, some leisure facilities and tourist attractions may also reopen, 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 has also 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.

As we begin to reopen the economy, it’s important that we do not increase the risk of transmission which is why “close proximity” venues such as nightclubs, soft-play areas, indoor gyms, swimming pools, water parks, bowling alleys and spas will need to remain closed for now. The Government is continuing to work with these sectors to establish taskforces to help them to become COVID Secure and reopen as soon as possible.

While the infection rate continues to fall, the Prime Minister has been clear that the public must continue to follow social distancing guidelines to keep coronavirus under control. The Government will keep all measures under constant review and will not hesitate to apply the handbrake, or reverse measures, should the virus begin to run out of control.

These changes apply in England only.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): new transport guidance for passengers and operators

No Comments

Coronavirus (COVID-19): new transport guidance for passengers and operators

Announcing new safer travel guidance for members of the public and safer transport guidance for operators.

The Rt Hon Grant Shapps MP

With permission Mr Speaker, I should like to make a statement about the new transport guidance for passengers and operators that has been published by my department.

Coronavirus has cast its shadow over the lives of everyone in this country.

As we all know too well, for some it has caused unimaginable heartache. And for many millions of our fellow citizens, this crisis has meant enormous sacrifice in the national effort to beat the disease.

The government is immensely grateful to the British people for the profound changes they have made over the past weeks.

I would also like to extend my thanks to transport workers and the wider sector for their immense efforts to keep Britain on the move during this crisis.

We will always remember the way the industry has served this country during this most challenging of periods. Public transport operators have ensured that all those on the frontline of the fight against the virus can get to work. While freight firms have delivered vital goods and kept supermarket shelves stacked.

However, it is now time to consider how together we will emerge from this crisis.

On Sunday, the Prime Minister set out the first careful steps for reopening society and a roadmap for the weeks and months ahead.

Undoubtedly transport is going to play a central role in that recovery. It will be key to restarting our economy, and in time enable us to renew and strengthen those precious social ties that are so deeply valued by us all.

But as I said last week, our nation’s emergence from this crisis will not be a single leap to freedom. It will be a gradual process.

We cannot jeopardise the progress achieved in the past few weeks by our shared sacrifices.

Therefore, we remain clear that those who can work from home should continue to do so. However, as those who cannot start to return to their jobs, the safety of the public and of transport workers must be paramount.

That is why the Department for Transport has today (12 May 2020) published two new pieces of guidance for passengers and operators.

These documents aim to give passengers the confidence to travel.

And they seek to give operators the information they need to provide safer services and workplaces for passengers and staff.

We encourage operators to consider the particular needs of their customers and workers as they translate these documents into action.

Mr Speaker, the first document is aimed at passengers. I’ll summarise some of the main points contained in this advice.

Firstly, as mentioned, we continue to ask that people only go to work if they cannot do their jobs from home.

That is because, even as transport begins to revert to a full service, the 2 metre social distancing rule will only leave effective capacity for 1 in 10 passengers overall. It is therefore crucial that we protect our network by minimising the pressures placed upon it and ensure it is ready to serve those who need it most.

As a result, we are also asking those who need to make journeys to their place of work or other essential trips to walk or cycle wherever possible.

In order to help more of us to do this, last week I announced an unprecedented £2 billion investment to put walking and cycling at the heart of our transport policy.

The first stage, worth £250 million, will include a series of swift emergency measures, including pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements and cycle and bus only corridors.

This money should help protect our public transport network in the weeks and months ahead. It’s my hope that it will eventually allow us to harness the vast health, social and environmental benefits that active forms of travel provide.

If people cannot walk or cycle but have access to a car, we urge them to use this before considering public transport, avoiding, where possible busy times of day.

I do, however, recognise that for some people using public transport is a necessity. In this case, you should follow the guidance we have set out today to stay safe when using the network.

This recommends that travellers maintain social distancing by staying 2 metres apart, wherever possible, to prevent the spread of the virus.

We also advise that, as a precautionary measure, people consider wearing a face covering when using public transport. This could help protect other travellers from coronavirus where you have unknowingly developed the illness and are not showing any symptoms.

And we urge passengers to avoid rush hours, to use contactless payment, and to wash their hands before and after their journey.

In addition, the guidance also reminds us that, at this most challenging of time, it is more vital than ever that we think of the needs of others.

Our transport operators and their staff are doing all they can to keep everyone safe.

Please follow advice from staff at stations, and at bus interchanges, be patient and be considerate to fellow passengers and staff.

In particular, we should remember the needs of disabled passengers, those with hearing and sight impairments and older travellers.

Mr Speaker, as I mentioned, we’re also publishing a second document, guidance for transport operators. These organisations really are at the forefront of our national recovery efforts.

They know inside out the needs of their customers and their workers, and they understand like no one else, their industries’ own specific challenges.

That is why I have no doubt that operators are best placed to implement the safety processes that work best for their businesses, employees and customers.

The guidance, we are publishing today, advises operators across all forms of private and public transport on the measures they can take to improve safety.

These steps include ensuring stations, services and equipment are regularly cleaned.

Making sure passenger flows are clearly communicated to avoid crowding and try to keep everyone on the network – passengers and staff – 2 metres apart.

This guidance will develop over time, in line with our increasing understanding of how coronavirus is spread and contained.

In addition, it is likely that there will be no one-size-fits-all approach to its implementation, it will need to be tailored into locally based plans that reflect specific needs. In preparation for that process yesterday I wrote to local authorities, to set out how we can work together to prepare the transport network at a local level for restart and ensure public safety.

Mr Speaker, the documents, I have published today, will help ready our transport system to support our country, as we seek to control the virus and restart the economy. We will inevitably encounter obstacles as we embark on this next stage of our national fightback against this disease.

And, there is no doubt that we will need to continue to work together as we overcome these challenges.

On that note, I would like to express my gratitude to our partners in the devolved administrations, local authorities, mayors, trade unions and transport operators for their work over the past weeks. I look forward to our continued collaboration in future.

Because, cooperation is going to be key to setting this country on the road to recovery.

If everyone plays their part, if we continue to stay alert, control the virus and save lives, and if we all follow this guidance when making essential journeys.

I believe we can together harness the power of transport to build a renewed and revitalised nation.

And I commend this statement to the House.

Published 12 May 2020

New guidance published to ensure transport network is safe for those who need to use it

No Comments

Guidance for safer travel and safer transport operations during the next phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Image of COVID-19 maintain social distance sign.
  • new guidance published on how to make journeys safely
  • public urged to continue to work from home if they can and avoid public transport where possible to reduce pressure on the network
  • those who have to travel for work should consider changing their travel habits – including cycling, walking or driving, and avoiding rush hour – to help people socially distance from others and reduce pressure on public transport

New guidance published today (12 May 2020) provides advice on how passengers should make journeys safely, following the publication of the government’s roadmap and strategy for the next phase of the pandemic. It urges people to consider cycling, walking or driving to help ensure there is enough capacity for those who need to travel on public transport to do so safely.

As the Transport Secretary stated on Saturday (9 May 2020), even as public transport begins to revert to a full service, the 2-metre social distancing rule would only leave effective capacity for one in ten passengers on many parts of the network.

The advice sets out that if people who cannot work from home and have to travel for work, they should first consider alternatives to public transport. Those driving their own cars have been asked to avoid busy areas.

For those who have to use public transport, the guidance for passengers on how to travel safely recommends:

  • keeping 2 metres apart from others wherever possible
  • wearing a face covering if you can
  • using contactless payment where possible
  • avoiding rush hour travel where feasible
  • washing or sanitising your hands as soon as possible before and after travel
  • following advice from staff and being considerate to others

All transport operators have been issued guidance on ensuring stations and services are regularly cleaned, making clear to passengers how to stay 2 metres apart where possible in stations, airports and ports, and to ensure routes for passengers are clearly communicated to avoid crowding. The government’s guidance also sets out steps operators should take to provide safe workplaces and services for their staff and passengers across all modes of private and public transport.

To help reduce pressure on the transport network so there is space for social distancing where possible, the Transport Secretary has spoken to train and bus operators and local authorities to ensure they increase the number of available services over the coming weeks.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Transport operators and staff have been working hard to ensure that people who need to get to work are able to do so, including crucial NHSworkers and all those on the frontline of the fight against the virus.

Alongside the cycling and walking revolution we are launching, and clear guidance to passengers and operators published today, we can all play our part by following the advice and reducing pressure on public transport.

If we take these steps, all those who need to use public transport should feel confident that they can do so safely, with the space to maintain social distancing as far as possible.

This follows the Transport Secretary announcing a £2 billion package of cycling and walking investment on Saturday that will deliver a green revolution in travel, easing the pressure on public transport services by helping more people than ever choose alternative forms of travel. This included £250 million for local authorities in England to create pop up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors.

The government’s strategy and advice recognises that there will be times and some settings on public transport where social distancing is not possible. The new guidance outlines how people should try to minimise the duration of this, and take all necessary steps to observe these measures where possible.

MOT Extension

No Comments

The Government has granted car owners a six-month exemption from MOT Testing.

The exemption will not come into force until the 30th March, 2020 so any vehicle requiring an MOT before that date MUST have the MOT test.

The exemption applies to cars, motorcycles and vans, but warned that the vehicle must be maintained in a roadworthy condition.

 

Advice against Non-essential travel

No Comments

The announcement below was issued by HM Government at 21:46 on the 22nd March 2020.

Following on from the government’s guidance on social distancing in relation to COVID-19, people should avoid travelling unless it is essential.

Who this guidance is for

This guidance is for people planning to visit second homes or holiday premises during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Essential travel does not include visits to second homes, camp sites, caravan parks or similar, whether for isolation purposes or holidays. People should remain in their primary residence. Not taking these steps puts additional pressure on communities and services that are already at risk.