Boris Johnson’s address to the nation last night confirmed what many had thought inevitable.
From today, the UK is under a police-enforced coronavirus lockdown, with people only allowed to go outside for a limited set of reasons.
Public meetings of more than two people have been banned, while all stores deemed non-essential have been forcibly closed.
However, there has already been great confusion among the general public of the rules and the exceptions.
What are the lockdown rules?
The Prime Minister’s orders were simple last night, telling people “you must stay home”.
However, there are four exceptions:
- Shopping for basic necessities
- One form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- Any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home
Police now have the power to fine people for not complying or to disperse crowds of people if they gather in public.
However, there has already been some confusion as to what work is considered “absolutely necessary”.
Construction workers continued to travel to work today, despite mayor of London Sadiq Khan calling for all sites to be closed.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said it was okay for construction workers to still work.
Many zero-hour contract workers are also said to be still going to work.
Can I still catch the Tube?
Transport for London (TfL) has dramatically cut public transport services, with the Tube and bus networks running at a limited capacity.
Forty Tube stations have been closed and the Waterloo to City and Circle lines have been shut down.
Advice from government and City Hall is that people should not be taking public transport unless they are essential workers who need to travel to their workplace and back.
Despite this, there have been chaotic scenes on the Tube in the past two days at rush hour.
The Aslef train drivers’ union London Undergound representative Finn Brennan told City A.M. that trains were overcrowded, because too many people still going to work.
“A large number of TfL staff are sick and in self isolation, and if more people end up in this condition, then they won’t be able to provide a service at all,” he said.
Some have called for Tube services to return to normal during rush hour, however Khan said today it was not possible as 20 per cent of TfL staff are sick or self-isolating.
Can I leave London
There has not been restrictions placed on leaving or entering London as of yet.
However, the government has also told people to avoid making unnecessary trips.