Why can I go to work but not see my family? Coronavirus Q&A: Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick answers your questions

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick answered questions from ITV viewers looking for clarity in the latest government coronavirus measures.

Mr Jenrick took part in ITV's weekly Coronavirus Q&A, taking questions on whether people can meet up with friends and family, their employment rights and why children are being allowed back to school before MPs go back to work.

Jackie: Why can I sit in the park or go to work but not see my close family?

"The guidance we are publishing today will say that, from Wednesday you are able to go outside more often, so you're not limited to just once a day.

"And when you go to the park or other public spaces you can sit on a bench or lie on the grass and speak to somebody outside of your household, it's just one other person, and you should be two metres apart.

"I appreciate it's frustrating for some that they can't go to a family member's home and sit in the garden there, or even enter the home, but this is just the first phase, we hope, if we can keep the infection under control, we may be able to ease even further in the weeks ahead. But this is a first step in the right direction of making life easier and enabling people to have a bit more contact with people outside of their households."

Asked why parks and not people's gardens, Mr Jenrick replied: "Well, we're chosen to do it in parks because they're public, open spaces.

"We don't think they'll be very much bending of the rules in public spaces.

"And it enables people to have some exercise, take their kids and other members of their household out.

"And if they do come into contact with somebody who they know they are able to stop, even sit down and have a conversation with them, as long as it's socially distanced.

"It isn't something as pre-planned or something that brings them into contact as much as going to a close family member or friend's house, sitting in the garden, having lunch, having a cup of coffee in the garden.

"That is something we would like to see, but it's going to take some time before we get to that.

"It may be possible in the next phase.

Marjiem: We live in Frinton-on-Sea and we are now expecting that hundreds of people will be flocking here the beach. That puts our area more at risk.

"Applying common sense is absolutely critical for this and so far people have generally adhered to the guidelines and shown personally responsibility.

"And that's critical, because if people keep doing that then we can keep that rate of infection under control, control the virus and enable us to move forward to the next phase, a further opening up of the economy and of our everyday lives.

"We're saying to people, they can get in their car, with people from their own household, go for a drive, perhaps into the countryside perhaps to the local beach and go for a walk.

"But when they're there they should social distance.

"They shouldn't come into close proximity with other people, they shouldn't congregate, but they can get that bit of fresh air.

"And that's important because if you remember the lockdown has affected all of us, but not all of use equally.

"Many people have been in cramped accommodation, in flats, perhaps with kids, and will really welcome the opportunity to get out into the countryside or to the beaches.

"But they've got to behave responsibly if that's going to be sustainable.

"We are providing advice to councils on how they can manage some of those outdoor spaces particularly beaches and ensure people do follow those rules."

But can people take day trips to beaches further a field? Mr Jenrick said: "There is no limit on how far you can travel."

He continued: "Obviously we think it's highly unlikely given that you won't be able to stay for the moment in hotels or B&Bs that people will travel very long distances but we haven't put a time limit on it, that will be up to people's discretion how they want to travel."

Robert Jenrick talking to ITV News' Nina Hossain. Credit: ITV

Jo: What should workers forced to return to work do, if their employers ignore distancing guides?

"We want people who can't work from home to return to the work place but to return safety.

"We published detail today guidelines worked through with the medical experts - Public Health England and elsewhere - as to how those settings can be done safely.

"It's really important that people feel confident to return to work so I'd urge people to look on gov.uk to read some that advice.

"Employers continue to do their duty to their employees, to look after them and to treat them well, so those work places must be safe.

"If they're concerned then they should raise this as they would do normally, with the employer, with health and safety.

"The Health and Safety Executive have been given extra money from government so thy can manage that and take up complaints seriously.

"Talk to trade unions, all the things you would normally do if you're worried about going to work.

"And you shouldn't feel pressurised to go back to work if you have genuine concerns that your employer isn't following the guidance.

"Take a look at it, report concerns if you have them."

Mariam: If I am expected to return to work, will the prime minister remove parking restrictions so I can drive to work and park for free?

"That's a matter for local councils who generally control those.

"Councils have taken action, for example, waiving car parking charges for health and social care workers in many cases.

"But that's a matter for them to take up.

"Obviously we want local councils to be as pragmatic and flexible as possible so that people can avoid public transport if possible."

William: Why would you send Reception and Year 1 to school when they would be difficult to keep distances?

"We're going to be publishing more guidance on this shortly and the education secretary will be answering questions on that.

"But the advice that we've had is that getting those youngest children back to school is important because this is a critical year in their development and having some weeks back at school before the summer holidays will help to set them up well for the future at a really formative stage in their education.

"But we're going to be working with schools to make sure it's planned, well managed, that class sizes are appropriate that the teachers above all feel confident going back to work and have all the advice and the protective equipment that's necessary."

Suzanne: why does the government wish to reopen schools before reopening parliament? Our children are not your guinea pigs.

"Parliament is sitting in a socially distancing way.

"We're not forcing members of parliament to back who don't feel able to or who are shielding because they're elderly or vulnerable.

"But those who can are able to go back in a socially distanced way.

"We know from the scientific evidence that children have the lowest risk of getting unwell as a result of the virus and so they are one of the safest groups to return to settings.

"But obviously we need to ensure that teachers are properly protected, and that's an important piece of work now that we're doing with school ahead of the reopening."

Keith: Why do we have different rules from all the home nations?

"Our strong preference is for the whole UK to move as one.

"We think that's simplest, we want a coherent and consistent message across the UK.

"But devolution does mean legal changes that underpin these rules are done at the level of different executives.

"Whether that's Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

"What we're trying to do with the UK government is to work as closely as possible with politicians in all of those parts of the union.

"Wherever we can this is done together and the public are given the simplest and clearest message. And we'll keep on doing that in the weeks ahead."