After more than 6 weeks in lockdown, the rules have now been relaxed somewhat but not without creating a degree of confusion. So what has changed from today?
Access to outside spaces
A welcome change for everyone is that we are now permitted to spend an unlimited amount of time outdoors. Picnics, sunbathing and even certain sports such as tennis and golf are now allowed, on the understanding that social distancing is still an absolute necessity. In addition, public toilets will now be open but please take special care if using such facilities, as they do continue to present a risk.
In a Facebook Live Q&A today, BCP Council leader Vikki Slade confirmed people may now visit Dorset’s beaches and that those with rented beach huts may now use them. However, social distancing must still be enforced at all times.
For those who have been missing spending time working in their garden, it will be a huge relief that garden centres are once again allowed to open. With good weather expected over the coming weeks, there are bound to be queues at local centres, so bear this in mind when travelling and take a good book!
Spending time with others
You are now allowed to meet one other person – and only one at a time – from a different household, as long as you meet outdoors and observe guidelines relating to social distancing. It is still illegal to form gatherings of more than two people from different households. As before, you can visit outdoor spaces such as parks with anyone else in your household.
While previously the restrictions prohibited any form of unnecessary travel, you can now travel to any open outdoor space for exercise or other outdoor activities, regardless of the distance from your home, with anyone from your household. To make it easier to visit the many beautiful outdoor spaces you can now drive to in the area, the council has granted access to all car parks (charges still apply).
Returning to work
For those who are currently on furlough from work, the good news is that if you are unable to work from home, the majority of employers may now start asking you to return to work, and the government has set out detailed guidelines for employers to help them make the workplace safe. In addition, there are guidelines to help support anyone with staff who are considered vulnerable, those who are shielding, or who are showing symptoms of coronavirus. Currently, non-essential retail businesses, restaurants, pubs, bars, gyms and leisure centres must stay closed until further notice.