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Frequently Asked Questions

Gatherings, public spaces, and outdoor activities

What can I do that I couldn’t do before?

From 13 June, you will be able to:

  • Form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children - in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult. All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. Support bubbles should be exclusive - meaning you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households
  • Attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer

From 15 June:

  • You will be able to visit any type of shop and some additional outdoor attractions - drive-in cinemas, and animal attractions like zoos, farms and safari parks
  • Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support
  • You will have to wear a face covering on public transport

You will still be able to meet outdoors with groups of up to six people from different households, provided social distancing is observed and you stay 2 metres away from anyone outside your household or support bubble.

As before, you cannot:

  • visit friends and family inside their homes (unless you are in a support bubble from 13 June) or for other limited circumstances set out in law
  • stay away from your home or your support bubble household overnight - including holidays - except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
  • exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
  • use an outdoor gym or playground
  • gather outdoors in a group of more than six (unless exclusively with members of your own household or support bubble or for one of the limited set of circumstances set out in the law)

I don’t have to stay at home anymore?

You should continue to stay alert and limit your contact with others. Staying at home is the easiest way to do this.

From 13 June, if you are in a support bubble, you may spend time outdoors or inside either home within the bubble.

Everyone may spend time outdoors with groups of up to six people from outside your household or support bubble. You should stay alert and always practise social distancing with people from outside of your household or support bubble, keeping 2 metres apart.

The more people you have interactions with, the more chance the virus has to spread. Therefore, try to limit the number of people you see - especially over short periods of time.

If you or someone in your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble (if applicable) is 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 must stay at home. If the individual becomes symptomatic, everyone in the support bubble must then isolate. This is critical to staying safe and saving lives

You can find more information on meeting people you don’t live with here.

How many people am I allowed to meet with outdoors?

You are allowed to meet in groups of up to six people who you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble.

You are only allowed to meet in groups of more than six people if everyone is a member of the same household or, from 13 June, support bubble.

There is more information about the rules you should follow when meeting people you do not live with here.

So, can I visit people indoors now and invite them into my own home?

Only if you are in a support bubble with them.

Generally, visiting people in the home or inviting people into your home is not permitted. However, from 13 June, if you are a single adult household – either you live alone or only with dependent children - you can form a support bubble with one other household. This means you can see other members of your support bubble indoors and outside. You will also be able to be less than 2 metres apart and stay overnight as if you were members of the same household. Individuals who form a bubble with one household may not form a bubble with anyone else.

It is not yet possible for people who are not in support bubbles to meet inside other people’s homes - that remains against the law unless covered by one of the limited exceptions. This is critical to helping us control the virus and keep people safe.

Can I visit a clinically vulnerable person?

We know that people 70 and over, those with certain underlying conditions and pregnant women may be more clinically vulnerable, so we have advised them to take particular care to avoid contact with others.

That means such individuals can meet people outdoors but should be especially careful. Similarly, clinically vulnerable people can form a support bubble with another household, if one of the households is an adult living alone or with children, but extra care should be taken. For example all members of the support bubble should be especially careful to socially distance from people outside of the household or bubble.

You can also visit a clinically vulnerable person inside if you are providing care or assistance to them, following the advice set out here. You should not do so if you have coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Wherever possible, you should stay at least 2 metres away from others, use a tissue when sneezing and dispose of it safely, cough into the crook of your elbow and wash your hands for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser if washing facilities are not easily available.

If someone is defined as clinically extremely vulnerable and being asked to shield, you should follow the guidance for a shielded person as this is different to the wider clinically vulnerable group. Shielded people are advised not to form a support bubble due to the heightened risks for this group.

Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?

You should avoid sharing a private vehicle with anyone outside of your household or, from 13 June, support bubble as you will not be able to keep to strict social distancing guidelines. The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on Private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.

Are day trips and holidays ok? Can people stay in second homes?

Day trips to outdoor open space are permitted as long as you can return the same night. You should make sure you do not put others at risk because of services you may need in the time you are away. You should practise social distancing from other people outside your household or support bubble (if applicable). You should continue to avoid using public transport if you can. Consider all other forms of transport before using public transport. If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.

You are not permitted to stay overnight away from the place where you or your support bubble are living - for a holiday or similar purpose - in the UK or overseas. This includes staying overnight in a second home. If your work requires you to stay away from home you can do so but should continue to practise social distancing. You can also stay overnight in an emergency, to escape harm or under other limited circumstances.

Premises such as hotels and bed and breakfasts will remain closed, except where providing accommodation for specific reasons set out in law, such as for critical workers where required for a reason relating to their work. Hotels are also available to host those self-isolating after arriving in the UK (where no other accommodation is available).

Enforcement

What is a criminal offence?

It is a criminal offence to:

  • meet indoors with anyone who is not a member of your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble, except for specific exceptions set out in law
  • meet outdoors in a group of more than six with people who are not in your household or support bubble, except for specific exceptions set out in law
  • incite others to break the rules by e.g. inviting people to a party
  • threaten others with infection by coronavirus, for example by coughing or spitting in their direction

How will you enforce the rules?

The police and local authorities have the powers to enforce the requirements set out in law if people do not comply with them. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures, but if you breach the regulations, they may instruct you to disperse, leave an area, issue you with a fixed penalty notice or arrest you where they believe it necessary. They may also instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these legal requirements again if they have already done so.

The government has introduced higher penalties for those who do not comply, to reflect the increased risk to others of breaking the rules as we begin to ease the restrictions.If the police believe that you have broken these laws – or if you refuse to follow their instructions enforcing the law – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice of £100 (reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days). If you have already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount for further offences will increase in line with the table below.

First offence £100
Second offence £200
Third offence £400
Fourth offence £800
Fifth offence £1600
Maximum penalty £3200

For both individuals and companies, if you do not pay your fine you could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.

Are you enforcing enough?

Our approach here in Lincolnshire is to engage, explain encourage and enforce – the latter is a last resort and only if necessary. Police in the UK police by consent, and we work with the public to achieve our joint goals. This stance is paying off, and the vast majority of the public are complying with the rules. We are and will continue to enforce the legislation where it is necessary to do so, especially if people repeatedly ignore the rules.

Is your approach the same across the county? That is, are you policing rural and urban areas in the same way?

Our response is based on information and intelligence, and assessed on possible threat, risk and harm; so while our stance is the same across the county our response may differ in different areas because that will be dictated by the specific scenarios in these locations. We are taking action right the way across the county. Information from the public helps us greatly, so if you believe we are missing a location please tell us.

As much as we would like to be, we can’t be everywhere all of the time so are doing our best to respond to live incidents where and when we can.

Can you enforce the two metre social distancing rule?

Since the Prime Minister made amendments to the restrictions on Wednesday 13 May, the police have no powers to enforce two-metre distancing in England.

Regulation breaches

My neighbours are having a party with more than six people – what can I do?

We welcome reports made to us of any behaviour that might be disruptive or anti-social and where we can we will take appropriate action in relation to those reports. If we can get to those reports in live time we will. The main message is that people who might be participating in those activities are putting themselves and others at risk and it is surprising and disappointing that they are not listening to government advice.

What are you doing to tackle groups of people gathering?

We have had challenges in some town centres in getting to places at the exact time when people are gathering. We have been putting out response officers, PCSOs, Specials and Community Cohesion officers but we can’t be there 100% of the time. When we are there we’ve enforced as appropriate. We are also working with partners to make sure people understand the central advice and we’ve had lots of communications in different languages to help spread the message more widely.

Exercise

How often can I exercise outside my home?

Government advice states that you can exercise outdoors as often as you wish.  But you must follow social distancing guidelines and stay at least two metres away from people who are not from your household.

If I can socially distance, can I play sport with someone I don’t live with? What about tennis / croquet / cricket / Frisbee?

You can exercise or play sport in groups of up to six people from other households, but should only do so where it is possible to maintain a two metre gap from those you do not live with.

People who play team sports can meet to train together and do things like conditioning or fitness sessions but they must be in separate groups of no more than six and must be two metres apart at all times. While groups could practice 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 doubles tennis with people from outside of your household as long as you remain two metres apart as far as possible. Any equipment that is used should be cleaned frequently. Cleaning should be particularly thorough if it is to be used by someone else.

And if you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.

Are there restrictions on how far I can travel for my exercise or outdoor activity?

No. You can travel to outdoor open space irrespective of distance, as long as you can return the same night and do not put others at risk because of services you may need in the time you are away. You should continue to avoid using public transport and should cycle, walk or drive wherever possible.

If visiting other parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – you must adhere to the laws and guidance of the devolved administrations at all times.

You shouldn’t travel with someone from outside your household or, from 13 June, your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing - for example by cycling.

Roads and driving

Are you putting up road blocks or pulling people over?

We are not putting up roadblocks and, where appropriate, we will pull people over. We are constantly monitoring the roads and we have a number of different ways in which we can do this. The vast majority of people are complying with the rules and therefore there is no necessity to do more at this current time. Just because you don’t always see a police officer, does not mean we are not present, or are unable to monitor remotely.

The roads are a busy in my local area – what are you doing about it?

Where we think it is necessary we will pull people over and talk to them about the journey they are making. People are allowed to travel for these reasons:

  • for work, where you cannot work from home
  • going to shops that are permitted to be open - to get things like food and medicine
  • to exercise or spend time outdoors
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid injury or illness, escape risk of harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person

Speeding

While most people are following government guidance to make only essential journeys, we are seeing some irresponsible drivers and riders taking advantage of the emptier roads.

Our specialist operations officers are on patrol, both in cars and motorbikes, marked and unmarked and we will enforce speed limits on our roads.

We all need to do everything we can to reduce the burden on the NHS and by making only essential journeys and taking extra care when driving or riding we can help reduce the chance of having a collision or coming to harm while on the roads.

Personal Protective Equipment

Do you have good supply of PPE in force?

Surgical masks have been delivered to every police station, are in every police car and every officer in the county has their own. We have about 80,00 held in reserve.  You may see officers putting on the masks if they are dealing with someone who has Coronavirus symptoms, and that that is to keep those officers but also the public safe. We also have further PPE in the form of aprons, gloves and goggles for when needed. We also have ample stocks of handwash to ensure  we are maintaining regular handwashing because we know this is vital in helping fight off Covid-19.

Support

What support exists?

If you need help or support during this pandemic, or you would like to volunteer to help others please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk or call Lincolnshire County Council’s dedicated hotline, 01522 782189.

You can also get support if you feel you need it by calling a new confidential mental health helpline that has been set up by Lincolnshire Partnership Foundation Trust. Specially trained staff can support 24/7 with feelings of low mood, anxiety and stress, call 0800 001 4331 or visit the NHS website: www.lpft.nhs.uk/contact-us.

02 Oct 20 8:14 AM

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