When the UK lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister over a week ago, the public were told they should only leave their homes in only a few circumstances.
Boris Johnson said these were: shopping for basic necessities; one form of exercise a day; a medical need; and travelling to work if absolutely necessary.
Police were then given greater powers to discipline those not following the rules.
Officers can fine and arrest people who continuously flout the social distancing measures as they will now be considered to be breaking the law.
Those who ignore the tough restrictions on movement could be hit with a £60 fine initially and another £120 fine for a second offence.
However, forces up and down the country have come under fire in recent days for their over-zealous response to the coronavirus lockdown.
This has been addressed today (Thursday April 1) as new guidance has been issued to police forces on when it is acceptable to punish people for traveling.
And the new coronavirus law, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, does detail when it is acceptable to leave their homes without getting into trouble with the police.
The place where a person is living includes the premises where they live together with any yard, garden, passage, stair, garage, outhouse, or any other appurtenance of such premises.
This does not apply to any person who is homeless.
Under the law, the reasonable excuses you can leave where you're living are:
- To travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where it is not reasonably possible for that person to work, or to provide those services, from the place where they are living
- To attend a funeral of: a member of the person's household, a close family member, or if no-one within the previous sub-paragraphs are attending, or a friend.
- To fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings
- To access critical public services, including: childcare or educational facilities (where these are still available to a child in relation to whom that person is the parent, or has parental responsibility for, or care of the child); social services; services provided by the Department of Work and Pensions; services provided to victims (such as victims of crime)
- In relation to children who do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents, to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children, and for the purposes of this paragraph, "parent" includes a person who is not a parent of the child, but who has parental responsibility for, or who has care of, the child
- In the case of a minister of religion or worship leader, to go to their place of worship
- To move house where reasonably necessary
- To avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
*Places that have been classed as 'essential' in Part 3 of Schedule 2 and can remain open during the lockdown include supermarkets, corner shops, pharmacies, hardware stores, banks, petrol stations, garages and bike shops amongst others.