How far can I travel during the Coronavirus lockdown?

Leicester City Centre during the third national Coronavirus Lockdown. Credit: PA Images

Boris Johnson has laid out his roadmap out of lockdown, which aims to relax restrictions on social contact and open up the economy - if the vaccine roll out continues successfully, and infection rates stay down.

But right now, the 'stay at home' order is still in place, and, according to the roadmap, will be until 29 March, with advice then to still limit travel. So how far is too far to travel?

Two friends on a walk in Derbyshire, a couple from Northampton seal watching in Norfolk and a woman who drove 100 miles for a burger have all been fined - but how far are you allowed to travel during lockdown?

Jessica Allen from Ashby-de-la-Zouch and her friend Eliza Moore were stopped by police and fined £200 as they drove to Foremark Reservoir in Derbyshire for what they considered a local, socially-distanced walk.

On their arrival, they say they were ‘surrounded’ by police and thought ‘someone had been murdered’.

The fines have since been rescinded by the force with the region's Police and Crime Commissioner describing the force as being "a little over-zealous."

The two women were hit with a £200 fine for what they thought was a local, socially-distanced walk Credit: BPM Media

The seal colony in Horsey is a popular spot for wildlife watchers. Credit: PA Images

Meanwhile, two people who travelled from Northamptonshire to visit a Norfolk beauty spot were fined after they were found to have made the 120-mile plus journey from their home in Wellingborough to visit Horsey to see the seals.

The man and woman admitted they had travelled to see the seals and were consequently issued with a fixed penalty notice.

A woman from Lincolnshire was fined by police after she drove 100 miles across three counties to get a burger.

Police issued a fixed penalty notice to the motorist, who was in her 30s, after she drove from Lincolnshire for a McDonald’s meal with her sister in Scarborough in breach of Covid-19 regulations.

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Boris Johnson himself was seen cycling seven miles from his home - Downing Street said this did not break Covid-19 rules, saying,

"The Prime Minister acted in accordance with the Covid guidance while he was exercising.

We have always trusted the public to exercise good judgment throughout the pandemic when we have asked them to exercise locally."

  • So, what can and can't you do?

When ITV News Central contacted the Department of Health for guidance, they said:"The term ‘local area’ in this context has not been legally defined."

Leicestershire Police told ITV News Central:

After Derbyshire Police rescinded the fines for Jessica Allen and Eliza Moore, they said,

“UK Government guidance strongly requests that people do not leave their local area. However, the Covid Regulations which officers enforce and which enables them to issue FPNs for breaches, do not restrict the distance travelled for exercise.

“Police officers will be inquisitive about why people are out of their homes and will explain the regulations and encourage people to comply. 

Where people are breaching the regulations and are away from home without a reasonable excuse, they may be issued with a FPN.  In situations where people are breaching the guidance not to travel out their local area but are not breaching regulations, officers will encourage people to follow the guidance.

“We all have a responsibility to follow both the regulations and the guidance in place to protect the NHS and save lives. As throughout the pandemic, we’ll engage proportionately, fairly, and using the well-established 4Es approach. We are confident that the majority of people will act responsibly,  respecting the rules and guidance, and playing their part to keep communities safe. Those who do not follow the regulations in place to limit the spread of the virus should expect to receive a fixed penalty notice.”

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