The Maximum Distance Permissible for Travel Amidst the Coronavirus Lockdown

Boris Johnson has presented his plan to exit the lockdown, with the goal of easing social restrictions and reviving the economy, provided that the vaccine rollout continues successfully and infection rates remain low.

However, at present, the "stay at home" order is still in effect and is expected to continue until March 29, with ongoing recommendations to limit travel. So, the question arises: how far can one travel during this lockdown period?

Here are some articles that explore this issue:

- "Lockdown roadmap: when will I be able to hug someone again?" (link: [source])

Several individuals have faced fines for their travel activities during lockdown. For instance, Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, who set out on a local, socially-distanced walk to Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire, were stopped by the police and fined £200. Upon their arrival, they were startled by the presence of numerous officers, sensing that a serious crime had occurred.

Later on, the fines were retracted by the police, with the Police and Crime Commissioner acknowledging that their approach may have been overly strict.

In another incident, a couple traveled from Northamptonshire to Horsey in Norfolk to witness the seal colony. As a result, they received a fine after covering a distance of over 120 miles from their residence in Wellingborough.

Similarly, a woman from Lincolnshire drove 100 miles across three counties to satisfy her craving for a McDonald's burger. She was penalized by the police for violating Covid-19 regulations.

In contrast, Prime Minister Boris Johnson himself was spotted cycling seven miles away from his residence. Downing Street asserted that this activity was in compliance with Covid-19 guidelines, stating, "The Prime Minister adhered to the Covid guidance while engaging in exercise."

These incidents raise the question of how far one can travel during the lockdown and highlight the potential consequences for non-compliance.

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    We have always placed our trust in the general public to exercise sound judgment during these challenging times. Whenever we have requested their cooperation at the local level, they have consistently risen to the task.

    So, what are the dos and don'ts?

    When ITV News Central sought guidance from the Department of Health, they responded by stating that the term "local area" has not been legally defined in this context.

    However, it is important for individuals to exercise common sense. If you need to leave your home for a valid reason, it is advisable to stay within your village, town, or specific area of the city where you reside. Of course, this can be exempted if there is a justifiable reason that necessitates traveling further, such as for work or to avoid harm.

    The Leicestershire Police, when contacted by ITV News Central, stated the following:

    The legislation does not specify how far individuals can travel for exercise. According to government guidance, "stay local" means remaining within your village, town, or specific area of the city. We can only enforce regulations based on the reasons why someone is out of their home – distance or travel is not mentioned in the regulations.

    Following the withdrawal of fines issued to Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore by the Derbyshire Police, they stated:

    "The UK Government strongly advises against leaving your local area. However, the Covid Regulations that our officers enforce, and which enable them to issue Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) for breaches, do not impose restrictions on the distance traveled for exercise.

    "Police officers will inquire about the purpose of individuals being outside their homes and will explain the regulations, encouraging compliance. Those who are found to be breaching the regulations and have no reasonable excuse may be issued with an FPN. In situations where individuals are violating the advisory not to travel beyond their local area but are not breaking any regulations, officers will urge them to follow the guidance.

    "We all have a responsibility to adhere to both the regulations and the guidance put in place to safeguard the NHS and save lives. As we have done throughout the pandemic, we will engage proportionately, fairly, and using the well-established 4Es approach. We are confident that the majority of people will act responsibly, respect the rules and guidance, and contribute to the safety of their communities. Those who choose not to comply with the regulations designed to limit the spread of the virus should expect to receive a fixed penalty notice."

    For further information, please visit: [provide link]

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