Coronavirus: People with autism or learning disabilities allowed to go out more than once a day, says government

New advice states those with specific health conditions can also travel beyond their local area

Helen Coffey
Thursday 16 April 2020 10:28 BST
Coronavirus in numbers

People with specific health conditions will be allowed out more than once a day during the coronavirus lockdown, according to updated advice from the UK government.

The new rules state that those who need to leave the house to maintain their health, such as individuals with learning disabilities or autism who “require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day”, are permitted to do so.

The new advice also states that it is still permissible even if it “involves travel beyond your local area”.

This outdoor exercise should ideally be in line with a care plan agreed by a medical professional.

However, the guidance says: “Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times.”

The change to the rules was made after two families with children on the autistic spectrum approached law firms for help, reports The Guardian.

Bindmans LLP and 39 Essex Chambers argued that the policy was “inflexible” and negatively impacted on those with certain health conditions that required them to spend more time outside for their mental wellbeing.

They claimed the rule was therefore “unlawful and discriminatory”.

Following the amendment to the policy, one of the families said they were “delighted” by the outcome.

The current advice states that everyone else should only leave the house for “very limited purposes”: to shop for basic necessities, such as food and medicine, as infrequently as possible; one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle, alone or with members of your household; any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Those caught breaking the rules could be fined £60 for a first offence.

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