The latest government and NHS information regarding the new measures in place and resources

Last updated: 09/04/2020

This information includes the current public measures in place, getting the latest updates and more.

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Employment and benefits support

If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there is a wide range of support available. The DWP has regularly updated information about the changes the government has brought in to support people who are already claiming benefits, need to claim benefits, or are at risk of losing their job as a result of coronavirus.

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A new national helpline,  0800 111 4000 – 9am-5pm provides essential assistance to those who don’t have a network of support but who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19.

The service offers help to those who do not have family or existing community support and cannot get online and who are over 70, disabled, require the support of mental health services, are pregnant or receive a flu jab for health reasons. Anyone not in these categories but still looking for support should visit

Callers will be automatically connected to their local authority who will support them to access the service they need, such as:

  • essential food and medication
  • links to local social work services for vulnerable children or adults
  • emotional support
  • contact with local volunteer groups.
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Government clarifies guidance on exercise

UK Government has now published new guidance making clear that, if you’re autistic or have a learning disability, you can leave your home more than once a day and travel beyond your local area if this is important to your health. The National Autistic Society has published a helpful update on the move.

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Public guidance

Staying at home

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  2. Exercise, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  4. Travelling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household. These measures must be followed by everyone.

Separate advice is available for individuals or households who are isolating, and for the most vulnerable who need to be shielded. If you work in a critical sector outlined in this guidance, or your child has been identified as vulnerable, you can continue to take your children to school. Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes

Closing non-essential shops and public spaces

In March, the government ordered certain businesses – including pubs, cinemas and theatres – to close. This was extended to a further set of businesses and other venues, including:

  • all non-essential retail stores – this includes clothing and electronics stores; hair, beauty and nail salons; and outdoor and indoor markets, excluding food markets.
  • libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers). More detailed information can be found here, including a full list of those businesses and other venues that must close. Businesses and other venues not on this list may remain open.

Stopping public gatherings

To make sure people are staying at home and apart from each other, the government is also stopping all public gatherings of more than two people. There are only two exceptions to this rule:

  1. where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
  2. where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace. In addition, the government is stopping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. This will exclude funerals, which can be attended by immediate family.

Delivering these new measures

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus. Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures. The government will therefore be ensuring the police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce them, including through fines and dispersing gatherings where people do not comply. They will initially last for the three weeks from 23 March, at which point the government will look at them again and relax them if the evidence shows this is possible.

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Update on parents who live separately

The UK Government has confirmed that parents who live separately will also be allowed to move children under 18 between their houses.

Whilst this has established an exception to ‘stay at home’ requirements; it does not mean that children have to be moved between homes. This needs to be sensibly assessed on an individual basis with safety of all being considered to any decision taken.

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No evictions from private/social rented sectors for six months

Emergency legislation from Scottish Government will ensure there can be no evictions from the private rented sector or social rented sector for six months.

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Face-to-face health assessments for benefits suspended amid coronavirus outbreak

Visit the Gov UK website for information

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Government launches Coronavirus Information Service on WhatsApp

Get official advice and information about 
Coronavirus directly from the government. WhatsApp message ‘hi’ to 07860 064422. Alternatively, use this link.

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People with caring responsibilities now eligible for furlough

People unable to work because of caring responsibilities arising from the coronavirus pandemic are now eligible for furlough, the UK Government has announced.

Those who cannot work – including from home – because they need to look after children or a vulnerable individual in their household have been advised to speak with their employer about being placed on temporary leave.

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NHS inform

You may be worried about yourself and your family and how you can look after your health and mental wellbeing at this time. It’s normal to feel stressed, scared, confused and even angry during these times. If you have any of those feelings, try to make sure you only information and advice from credible and reliable sources. Limit the amount of time you spend checking the news and avoid some of the ‘fake news’ stories that are going around.

NHS inform will give you all the advice you need to keep yourself safe and support your wellbeing.

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Download an isolation note for your employer

The NHS have created an online form for people with symptoms of coronavirus, or those who are living with someone with symptoms, which allows you to download an isolation note to give your employer as proof you need to stay off work. This means you don’t need to get a note from your GP or call 111.

Once you have used NHS advice to find out if you have symptoms and need to isolate, fill in the form here to download an isolation note.

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Virtual person-centred visiting

NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde are now launching a scheme as part of its person-centred visiting programme to increase virtual visiting through the purchase of 100 iPads, complete with FaceTime, Skype and Zoom. The iPads will be distributed to all acute and mental health hospitals this week to let patients and family keep in touch during this time of very restricted visiting.

For more information, please contact