COVID-19 lockdown restrictions relaxed

What are the new restrictions when it comes to driving? 

Following a revision to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions announced by HM Government, from 13th May drivers in England will be allowed back behind the wheel to visit outdoor spaces without distance restrictions.

The easing of the lockdown rules in place to minimise the spread of COVID-19 were announced on the evening of 10th May. It follows the steady reduction in the daily deaths and infection rate related to COVID-19 in the UK. 

driving to open spaces during lockdown

Lockdown rules relaxed

The new guidance marks a move from the Stay Home, Save Lives rule-set that has governed UK lockdown to date. Instead, we are now being encouraged to Stay Alert and Safe.

The easing of restrictions associated with this change of message applies to those living in England only. Those in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland must adhere to original Stay at Home lockdown advice.

Can I drive under new lockdown guidelines?

Individuals living in England are no longer restricted by the frequency of times they can leave their homes nor for the duration of time spent outdoors.

Social distancing rules continue to remain in place at all times. However, we are now able to travel to public spaces that were previously off limits. Furthermore, garden centres have been permitted to reopen alongside some outside sports facilities that can allow for activities, such as tennis or golf, within households.

Previously, UK-wide guidelines dictated that travel could only be for unavoidable trips for food, medicine or medical treatment. Or for essential workers for whom home working wasn't possible. With these rules being significantly eased from 13th May, we can expect a much greater volume of road users than in previous weeks.

If you are using your car for the first time since COVID-19 lockdown, read our advice on how to reduce the risk of coronavirus in your vehicle.

Driving for work during COVID-19 lockdown

Alongside the easing of restrictions for driving recreationally, Sunday's announcement also lifted rules around commuting from 11th May.

Those who are unable to work from home were encouraged to return to work as soon as possible. This is regardless of your industry.

Individuals returning to work during lockdown are warned to avoid public transport where possible and to opt for their own vehicles, walking or cycling instead. Those that depend on travel for work are therefore no longer expected to stay at home and can now return to the road once again.

driving amidst COVID-19 lockdown

What are the new COVID-19 driving rules?

If you live in England, aren't showing symptoms of coronavirus and are under 70 years old you will be allowed to drive to work from 11th May or to open public spaces from 13th May. Those over 70 years old or are classed as clinically vulnerable to COVID-19 are advised to adhere to the original guidelines and to stay indoors, relying on friends and family for essential supplies.

Lockdown rules remain unchanged for those living outside of England.

Can I share my car?

To abide by social distancing rules you are only allowed to travel with those within your own household. Therefore, you cannot share your car with anyone who lives outside of your home.

Are there restrictions to the new driving rules?

Besides the need to travel only with members of your household, you will be able to use your car for commuting and trips to open public spaces. There will no longer be restrictions on the duration or distance of trips outdoors. However, you are still prohibited from visiting or staying overnight at premises other than your own home.

Furthermore, while lockdown rules have been relaxed, individuals are asked to exercise caution - staying local where possible and to plan trips to ensure public spaces are open to visitors. Importantly, social distancing must be possible at all times.

When will COVID-19 lockdown rules be reviewed?

All coronavirus guidance is in constant review as both death and infection rates are closely monitored. HM Government has announced a formal review of all lockdown measures, including those surrounding driving, on 31st May.

How will these rules be enforced?

Police will no longer be looking to prosecute people making journeys relating to these new COVID-19 lockdown relaxations. However, if they feel you have broken the law then you are viable for a fixed penalty notice of £100 - reduced by half if you pay within 14 days. For multiple offences this fine can increase to a maximum of £3200.