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Coronavirus lockdown: Everything you can and can’t do — from going to the vets to ordering from Amazon

The question of whether vehicles can still undergo MOTs during the pandemic is ‘under review’

Sarah Young,Sabrina Barr
Monday 20 April 2020 07:45 BST
(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Since the announcement that the UK was being placed under lockdown, some members of the public have been questioning whether the new regulations will prevent them from carrying out everyday activities.

Are you still able to go to the vet if your pet is in need of medical assistance, for example, and is it still possible to order online at Amazon?

Here are several of the most-searched questions answered:

Can you go to the park?

For the moment, people are still allowed to leave the house once a day to take part in exercise, such as running, walking or cycling – all of which are activities many enjoy doing at local parks.

However, following the Prime Minister’s announcement, many local authorities have closed community spaces, meaning some parks and playgrounds have been forced to shut.

Last week, the National Trust announced that it has officially closed all of its parks and gardens to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

“We’ve taken the decision to close our parks and gardens to restrict the spread of coronavirus,” the statement read.

“Our countryside and coastal locations remain open with parking charges waived, but we encourage people to stay local and observe social distancing.”

Can you still play golf?

Following the prime minister’s announcement that people are still permitted to leave the house once per day to exercise amid lockdown, many golf fans have been wondering if they are still able to play the sport, as long as they stay two metres apart from their opponents.

On Tuesday, England Golf announced that it had made the decision to close all of its golf clubs, courses and facilities across the country.

“It is England Golf’s position that this deeply regrettable, but highly necessary and responsible course of action must be implemented with immediate effect and be maintained until further notice,” a statement read.

“Keeping golf courses open is simply no longer compatible with the updated policy of government which is designed to save lives in a time of national emergency.

Scottish Golf has followed suit, with a statement telling people to “stay at home”.

“While golf is an outdoor sport that allows players to exercise in the fresh air, the message to all of us is clear, we must stay home and play our part in containing the spread of COVID-19,” a statement read.

“With this in mind, Scottish Golf asks that all golfers in Scotland refrain from golfing until further notice.”

Can you order from Amazon?

With the majority of shops forced to close their doors, many people have set their sights on Amazon to get hold of products to see them through the lockdown. But, is the company still operating in the UK?

According to the online retailer, it is continuing to fulfil orders, however customers should expect delivery times to take a little longer than usual due to high demand.

“To serve our customers while also helping to ensure the safety of our associates, we’ve changed our logistics, transportation, supply chain, purchasing, and third-party seller processes to prioritise stocking and delivering items that are a higher priority for our customers,“ Amazon said in a statement.

”This has resulted in some of our delivery promises being longer than usual.”

Can you see your partner if you live separately?

During the prime minister’s announcement on Monday, Mr Johnson stated that people should only go outside for “very limited purposes” and placed a ban on public gathering of more than two people.

One of the exceptions to this, according to the government’s guidance, is where a gathering is of a group of people who live together. But, what about couples who live apart?

Unfortunately, the new measures when that nobody should be meeting up with someone they do not share a household with, even if social distancing measures are adhered to.

“If your friends ask to meet you, you should say no,” the prime minister said.

“You should also not be meeting members of your family who do not live in your home.”

Can you travel in the UK?

As part of the new measures, Mr Johnson has stated that people are allowed to use public transport.

However, he added that this only applied to those who need to travel to and from work and only if this is “absolutely necessary” and cannot be done from home.

While there has been no restriction of travel in and out of London yet, the government’s guidance is that people do not make unnecessary trips, including by road or rail.

The London Undergound and buses are still running but with a restricted service, while the Night Tube, which typically runs an all-night service on Fridays and Saturdays, has been suspended.

Can you get an MOT?

When a car undergoes a MOT test, important parts of the vehicle are checked to ensure that it meets road safety and environmental standards.

Vehicles must undergo an MOT on the third anniversary of its registration and on the anniversary of its last MOT if it is more than three years old.

So can MOTs still be carried out during the national lockdown?

On Wednesday 25 March, it was reported that drivers had been given a six-month extension to their MOTs due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The new rules, which apply to cars, motorcycles and light vans, dictate that motorists who have an MOT due from Monday 30 March will automatically receive a six-month extension.

However, vehicles must still be kept in a roadworthy condition, with garages remaining open for essential repair works, and prosecutions for unsafe vehicles still possible.

“We must ensure those on the frontline of helping the nation combat Covid-19 are able to do so,” said Grant Shapps, transport secretary.

“Allowing this temporary exemption from vehicle testing will enable vital services such as deliveries to continue, frontline workers to get to work, and people get essential food and medicine.

“Safety is key, which is why garages will remain open for essential repair work.”

Vehicle approval tests are suspended for a three-month period, it states on the government’s website.

If it is necessary that a vehicle is used throughout the coronavirus pandemic, then vehicle approval tests can be conducted.

Can you go to the vet?

In the government’s guidance on shops and businesses that must close during the national lockdown, it states that pet shops can remain open.

Following the release of Mr Johnson’s televised announcement, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) released a statement saying that the organisation, along with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, is currently “seeking clarification” from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how the measure will affect veterinary practises.

“Current advice is that veterinary practices must reduce face-to-face contact immediately, switching to providing emergency care only, fulfilment of urgent prescriptions and maintaining the food supply chain,” the statement read.

On the BVA’s website, it said that vets and veterinary teams who have been “deemed essential” to deliver emergency care can travel to and from work.

“Other members of the team should work from home if possible (for example handling calls and triaging cases)”, or not work at all, the organisation said.

“When carrying out essential work vets and veterinary teams must practise social distancing.”

Can you move house?

Following Johnson’s announcement, property organisation Propertymark stated that it had spoken to a senior civil servant at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Propertymark covers Arla Propertymark, the UK’s largest professional body and regulatory body for letting agents, and Naea Propertymark, the UK’s leading professional body for estate agents.

The civil servant confirmed that estate agents are not deemed “essential businesses” and so must stop trading in accordance with the lockdown guidelines.

As such, house viewings and moves are also not allowed.

Propertymark added that the British Association of Removers has released a statement outlining that moves should only be completed if they are already in the process, while any new moves should not take place.

Can you go for a drive?

The lockdown being enforced in the UK states that there are only a specific set of reasons why a person should leave their home.

These reasons include one form of exercise a day; shopping for essentials; travelling to and from work and for medical needs.

Therefore, as long as you are adhering to these rules, you can drive.

It was recently reported that Transport for London had suspended all road user charges for an indefinite period of time.

The suspension has been implemented so that critical workers, including those who work for the NHS, can travel as easily as possible during the coronavirus pandemic.

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