UK Politics

Can I still walk the dog? UK lockdown questions answered


Boris Johnson has announced a nationwide lockdown to tackle the UK's coronavirus outbreak.

In an address to the nation on Monday night, the prime minister said Britons must stay at home for at least three weeks and only leave for four "very limited purposes" to slow the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

However, the decree has thrown up many questions for people in lots of different situations.

PM's full statement to the country

Sky News answers some of your questions about the lockdown.

What are the four reasons Mr Johnson said I could leave the house for?


  • Shopping for basic necessities like food and medicine – but you should do this "as infrequently as possible" and use food delivery services "where you can"
  • One form of exercise a day, such as a run, walk or cycle. This can be done alone, with members of your household, or indeed with your dog
  • Any medical need, to give care or to help a vulnerable person
  • Travelling to and from work, but only if this is "absolutely necessary" and cannot be done from home
Britons may get out of the house to exercise once a day, but maintain social distancing
Image: Britons may get out of the house to exercise once a day, but must maintain social distancing

But, what if…?

I defy the rules and do not stay at home (apart from the exceptions)?

More from Boris Johnson

Health secretary Matt Hancock said fines will start at £30 and could be unlimited.

I am separated from my child's parent – can the child (under 18) still visit us both?

Yes. Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove told Sky News children should not be moving between households, but the government recognises "this may be necessary" for separated parents so "is permissible".

Mr Gove later apologised for not being "clear enough".

I work in the construction industry, can I keep working?

Mr Gove said construction on open air sites can continue but workers should follow "social distancing advice". However, many builders have pointed out this is almost impossible on construction sites.

Global health physician Dr Peter Drobac told Sky News from a public health point of view, builders and any tradesmen should not be working because that means they are not staying at home.

The Cabinet Office said the government is providing support for workers so they do not have to work.

The government is set to announce further support for self-employed workers soon.

People queue at a Sainsbury's supermarket at Colton, on the outskirts of Leeds, the day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson put the UK in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Image: People queue at a Sainsbury's supermarket near Leeds on day one of the lockdown

How about if I'm a plumber?

Mr Gove said plumbers can attend emergency call-outs "to ensure people can stay safe" but if it is not essential, then do not.

I have planned building work that has already started on my house – can it continue?

Mr Gove said work can continue on open air sites but if builders cannot be two metres apart while working on your house they should stay at home.

I don't live near my parents, who are self-isolating as they are over 70 or have other health conditions, can I drive to them to deliver a food shop?

It is "unlikely" police will be pulling cars over just for driving, Mr Gove said. So as long as you leave the shopping outside their door it should be fine.

I volunteer to help the elderly/vulnerable, can I still do that?

Yes. Under the new lockdown rules, helping a vulnerable person counts as part of a medical reason to leave the house.

Michael Gove warns that people will die unless the public stay at home
'Stay at home or your loved ones may die'

Are independent food shops still open?

Several have decided to close or have moved to food delivery service or online orders only. The best thing to do is to check their social media pages or websites to see if they are still open and running.

A packed Tube train at Bethnal Green station
Image: Tube trains should be avoided if possible, although there was no sign of that on Tuesday morning
Trafalgar Square in central London is normally teeming with tourists but was empty as the lockdown kicked in
Image: Trafalgar Square in central London is normally teeming with tourists but was empty as the lockdown kicked in

I need to get to work – can I still use the bus, train or Tube?

People should avoid using public transport, but if they have to and they are a key worker they can. Social distancing rules still apply but as services have been reduced this is difficult.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has called for all non-essential use of public transport in the capital to stop and said more services cannot be run because staff are sick or self-isolating.

I work in a textile factory where we work in close quarters, should I be made to go to work?

No. Mr Hancock said if you are not an essential worker you should stay at home, adding that corporate companies will be fined for making workers go in. Any essential workers should stay two metres apart at work where possible.

Non-key workers are being told to stay at home
Image: Non-essential travel should be halted

Can I go for a drive to blow the cobwebs away?

"It is unlikely anybody will be pulled over by the police just for driving," Mr Gove said.

If I see a group of people hanging out in the park what should I do?

You should encourage people to disperse and if they do not tRead More – Source