On Monday, March 23, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed the U.K. under a police-unforced lockdown. Those who disregard the new rules will be fined (starting at £30).
The new guidance, according to the BCC, says people should only leave their homes for:
- Shopping for basic necessities, such as food and medicine; trips should be as infrequent as possible
- One form of exercise a day, such as a run, walk or cycle, which should be done alone or only with people you live with
- Any medical need or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, which includes moving children under the age of 18 between their parents' homes,
- Traveling to and from work but only where work absolutely cannot be done from home
During the announcement, which was the BBC’s most watched news broadcast in years, Johnson said, “No prime minister wants to enact measures like this. I know the damage that this disruption is doing and will do to people’s lives, to their businesses and to their jobs.”
Social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies are all cancelled but funerals attended by immediate family members are allowed. Hotels, along with hostels, campsites and caravan parks, must close unless key workers need to stay there. The London Underground remains open but with limited service, according to The Telegraph. Other businesses are open include supermarkets, gas stations, post offices, laundromats, bike shops, pet shops, hardware stores and banks.
Parks remain open, which, according to The New York Times, “became a symbol of Britain’s nonchalant response this weekend when they were thronged with people.”
Citizens will not have to carry documents, as those in France are now required to do. Last week, Johnson advised all Britons to avoid non-essential travel, including visiting pubs, restaurants and clubs. Museums and most tourist attractions—including all theaters—were shut; churches closed but schools remained open (although these have since been closed).
There are currently 8,077 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom and 422 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine.