Staying at home and away from other people (social distancing)
Only leave your home if it’s essential
You should only leave or be away from your home for very limited purposes, including:
- shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
- one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
- 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
- travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home
Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres (3 steps) away from anyone outside of your household.
For more about when you can leave your home, see:
There is separate advice about:
How to stop the infection spreading
There are things you can do to help reduce the risk of you and anyone you live with getting ill with coronavirus.
- wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
- use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
- put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Looking after your health and wellbeing
To help yourself stay well while you’re at home:
- stay in touch with family and friends over the phone or on social media
- try to keep yourself busy – you could try activities like cooking, reading, online learning and watching films
- do light exercise at home, or outside once a day – see NHS fitness studio: exercises you can do at home
- consider taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D each day if you’re indoors most of the day – this is to keep your bones and muscles healthy
Advice on mental health while you’re staying at home:
If you need medical help
While everyone is being told to stay at home, it can be hard to know what to do if you’re unwell.
It’s still important to get medical help if you need it, especially if you feel very unwell or think there’s something seriously wrong.
- If you have symptoms of coronavirus (a high temperature or a new, continuous cough), use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.
- If you need to contact a GP, use the GP surgery’s website, use an online service or app, or call the surgery.
- For urgent medical help, use the regular NHS 111 online service, or call 111 if you’re unable to get help online.
- For life-threatening emergencies call 999 for an ambulance.
If you’re advised to go to hospital, it’s important to go. Keep going to any appointments you usually have, unless you’re told not to.
Read about how to get medical help from home.