Guidance below reviewed and updated 19th October 2020
Please note, the Healthwatch Hillingdon shop is now closed to the public. However, you can still contact us by phone or online. Contact us
We can all help control the virus if we all stay alert. This means you should:
- Stay at home as much as possible
- Work from home if you can
- Limit contact with other people
- Keep your distance if you go out (2 metres apart where possible)
Wash your hands regularly.
Government introduces local COVID alert levels
The government wants to ensure that the right levels of intervention are introduced in the right places to manage COVID outbreaks and, working with local authorities, they have now introduced three local COVID alert levels: medium, high and very high. Hillingdon borough is at the high level. The council has produced information on its website outlining what this means for residents. The advice can be found here: Hillingdon council website
New government guidance announced from September 14th
The rules on who you can meet change from Monday 14 September.
On 9 September, the government announced upcoming changes to simplify restrictions and ensure the coronavirus is controlled:
Can I visit people indoors?
Yes. From 14 September there will be a legal limit on the number of people you don’t live with who you are able to meet. When meeting with people you don’t live with you can socialise in groups of up to 6. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with. There is further guidance on meeting others safely, which includes details of exemptions from this limit, including for larger households and support bubbles.
How many people am I allowed to meet with outdoors?
From 14 September, there will be a new legal gatherings limit. When meeting with people you don’t live with you can socialise in groups of up to 6. You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with. There is further guidance on meeting with others safely, which includes details of exemptions from this limit, including for larger households and support bubbles.
Can I use public transport if I’m seeing friends in a park or going to my parents’ garden?
You can help control coronavirus and travel safely by walking and cycling, if you can. However where this is not possible, you can use public transport or drive. If you do use public transport, you must wear a face covering and you should follow the safer travel guidance for passengers.
Are children counted in the group of 6?
Can I share a private vehicle with someone from another household?
You should try not to share a vehicle with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, try to:
- share the transport with the same people each time
- keep to small groups of people of up to 6 people at any one time (this limit of 6 people will apply and have legal force from 14 September).
The Department for Transport has provided specific guidance on using private vehicles. Please see their guidance on private cars and other vehicles for more information on car sharing and traveling with people outside your household group.
- open windows for ventilation
- travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
- face away from each other
- consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
- clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products - make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
- make sure the driver and passengers wear a face covering.
More information is available by clicking on the link gov.uk
Government announcement 31st July
The government has announced some adjustments to the roadmap to recovery set out on 17 July. This is because there are warning signs that the virus may be growing again. The government will continue to review these measures and set out further details of any changes. Adjustments announced are as follows:
Greater Manchester, East Lancashire, parts of West Yorkshire
We are restricting social contact in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire. In these areas, we will be prohibiting in law any gatherings with people from other households in private homes or in their gardens. We will be strongly advising against household mixing in public venues, such as bars and restaurants.
People in these areas can still go to work, visit shops and carry out other activities as before. In addition, regulations will be passed to close gyms, pools and sports venues in Bradford, at the request of the local council.
We are easing restrictions in other regions where the prevalence of the virus has decreased sufficiently. This includes Luton (from 1 August), and the Oadby and Wigston suburbs of Leicester (3 August). Some other premises in Leicester – in line with the national 4 July changes – will also be able to reopen from 3 August.
Face coverings and quarantine
We are extending the list of areas where face coverings are mandatory from 8 August. Face coverings will be made mandatory in a greater number of public indoor settings, such as museums, galleries, cinemas and public libraries. The full list is set out below, and will be reflected in updated guidance on face coverings. This is in addition to shops, supermarkets and public transport, as is currently the case.
We will enhance our approach to enforcing existing laws on face coverings and quarantine for people who have just arrived in the UK. If premises or event organisers are not complying with COVID-19 Secure guidance, local authorities will act to close them down or cancel events.
Pilot testing crowds at events
We are stopping the pilots testing the return of crowds to sporting and performing arts events. This means planned pilots at venues such as the Sheffield Crucible, Goodwood, county cricket, and concerts and business events will not go ahead.
We are pausing national shielding guidance from 1 August as average incidence rates across the country remain sufficiently low. This will continue to be kept under close review. In areas where incidence and transmission rates are increasing, we will take a more targeted approach to shielding advice at local authority level. Specific areas where local measures are in place are currently Leicester, Luton and Blackburn with Darwen.
We are giving employers more discretion on how they ensure employees can work safely, as set out in the roadmap published on 17 July, and in line with updated guidance on gov.uk. Working from home is one way to do this, but workplaces can also be made safe by following COVID-19 Secure guidelines.
Delaying proposed changes
We are not changing the list of premises allowed to open, aside from in places such as Leicester, Luton and others outlined above, where restrictions are being lifted. We are delaying the changes that had been proposed in the roadmap for 1 August until at least 15 August.
We set out in the roadmap that these changes would only take place if prevalence had not risen. Specifically, this means:
- remaining leisure settings, such as bowling, skating rinks and casinos, will remain closed
- indoor performances will not be permitted
- restrictions will remain on the highest risk close contact services, such as treatments on the face including eyebrow threading or make-up application
- Guidance on weddings and civil partnerships will be unchanged. Ceremonies can be attended by up to 30 people, but larger receptions (that is, those that exceed the guidance on gatherings in your local area) including sit-down meals, should not take place.
- Guidance on visiting care homes is unchanged. In the event of an outbreak in a care home or evidence of community hotspots or outbreaks leading to a local lockdown, care homes should restrict visits to exceptional circumstances only.
Changes to lockdown measures from 4th July
Gatherings, public spaces, and activities
What can I do that I couldn’t do before?
From 4 July:
- you can meet in groups of up to two households (your support bubble counts as one household) in any location - public or private, indoors or outdoors. You do not always have to meet with the same household - you can meet with different households at different times. However, it remains the case - even inside someone’s home - that you should socially distance from anyone not in your household or bubble. This change also does not affect the support you receive from your carers
- when you are outside you can continue to meet in groups of up to six people from different households, following social distancing guidelines
- additional businesses and venues, including restaurants, pubs, cinemas, visitor attractions, hotels, and campsites will be able to open - but we will continue to keep closed certain premises where the risks of transmission may be higher
- other public places, such as libraries, community centres, places of worship, outdoor playgrounds and outdoor gyms will be able to open
- stay overnight away from your home with your own household or support bubble, or with members of one other household
- It will be against the law to gather in groups larger than 30 people, except for a limited set of circumstances to be set out in law.
Moving forward, from 4 July, people will be trusted to continue acting responsibly by following this and related guidance, subject to an upper legal limit on gatherings (as described above). The overwhelming majority of the British public have complied with the regulations, and the wider guidance on how to keep them and their friends and family as safe as possible. Taking this into account, we trust people to continue acting responsibly, and to follow the guidance on what they should and should not do.
You should not:
gather indoors in groups of more than two households (your support bubble counts as one household) - this includes when dining out or going to the pub
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six people from different households; gatherings larger than 6 should only take place if everyone is from just two households
- interact socially with anyone outside the group you are attending a place with, even if you see other people you know, for example, in a restaurant, community centre or place of worship
- hold or attend celebrations (such as parties) where it is difficult to maintain social distancing
- stay overnight away from your home with members of more than one other household (your support bubble counts as one household)
- Gatherings of more than 30 people will be prohibited, apart from some limited circumstances to be set out in law.
Previous guidance from 13th June:
Gatherings, public spaces, and outdoor activities
What can I do that I couldn’t do before?
From 13 June, you will be able to:
- Form a ‘support bubble’ with one other household if you live alone or are a single parent with dependent children - in other words, you are in a household where there is only one adult. All those in a support bubble will be able to act as if they live in the same household - meaning they can spend time together inside each other’s homes and do not need to stay 2 metres apart. Support bubbles should be exclusive - meaning you should not switch the household you are in a bubble with or connect with multiple households
- Attend your place of worship for the purposes of individual prayer.
From 15 June:
- You will be able to visit any type of shop and some additional outdoor attractions - drive-in cinemas, and animal attractions like zoos, farms and safari parks
- Year 10 and 12 pupils in secondary schools and further education colleges will begin to receive some face to face support
- You will have to wear a face covering on public transport.
You will still be able to meet outdoors with groups of up to six people from different households, provided social distancing is observed and you stay 2 metres away from anyone outside your household or support bubble.
As before, you cannot:
- visit friends and family inside their homes (unless you are in a support bubble from 13 June) or for other limited circumstances set out in law
- stay away from your home or your support bubble household overnight - including holidays - except for in a limited set of circumstances, such as for work purposes
- exercise in an indoor sports court, gym or leisure centre, or go swimming in a public pool
- use an outdoor gym or playground
- gather outdoors in a group of more than six (unless exclusively with members of your own household or support bubble or for one of the limited set of circumstances set out in the law),
At all times, you should continue to adhere to strict social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home, particularly ensuring you are two metres away from anyone outside your household.
If you are showing coronavirus symptoms, or if you or any of your household are self-isolating, for example if you have been contacted as part of the test and trace programme, you should stay at home - this is critical to staying safe and saving lives.
Read the Prime Minister's address for the latest information.
Guidance below was published before the updated advice on 11th May 2020
New rules on staying at home and away from others
The single most important action we can all take in fighting coronavirus is to stay home in order to protect the NHS and save lives.
When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the government is now (23 March 2020) introducing three new measures:
Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
According to guidance, you should now only leave the house for one of four reasons:
1. Shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to.
2. One form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with.
3. Medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person.
4. Travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary.
If you do need to go outside for one of these reasons, it's important that you always keep a distance of 2m (6ft) from other people.
For more info, visit: Gov.uk - Full guidance on staying at home and away from others
Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
- food and drink business (exceptions include those offering takeaway or delivery, those in hospital settings, schools and military premises etc.)
- retail stores (exceptions include supermarkets, pharmacies, post offices etc.)
- hotels (exceptions include designated premises for self isolation, key workers, homelessness support etc.)
- libraries, place of worship (exceptions include funerals, providing social distancing is observed), community centres (exceptions include voluntary services such as food banks etc.) and leisure facilities.
For more info, visit: Gov.uk - Further businesses and premises to close: guidance
Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
The relevant authorities, including the police, will be given the powers to enforce them – including through fines and dispersing gatherings.
Every citizen is instructed to comply with these new measures.
The below is our previously reported guidance, prior to the announcement on the 23rd March.
A high temperature
- A new, continuous cough
Loss or change in sense of smell or taste
If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation.
- if you have symptoms, stay at home for 7 days
- if you live with other people, they should stay at home for 14 days from the day the first person got symptoms
If you live with someone who is 70 or over; has a long-term condition; is pregnant; or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
Only call 111 if you cannot get help online.
Guidance for prevention and protection
Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds at a time using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue and throw the tissue away immediately. Or use your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using your regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.