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FAQ on local restrictions - what you can and can't do in Preston

Coronavirus germ

This content was last updated on 05 January 2021.

Government has declared a national lockdown, with a clear instruction to "stay at home." Approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

This page is accurate based on the information and guidance we have received from government. We will update this page with any further information we receive.

For full detailed information on restrictions please visit GOV.UK - coronavirus.

National Lockdown: Stay Home

Under lockdown restrictions you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a 'reasonable excuse'. This includes

  • Work: you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance
  • Volunteering: you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.
  • Essential activities: you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
  • Education and childcare: You can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. Access to education and children's activities for school-aged pupils is restricted.
  • People can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart.
  • Childcare bubbles may continue.
  • Meeting others and care: You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work, and not to enable social contact between adults), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, to attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked-after child.
  • Exercise: You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.
  • Medical reasons: You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.
  • Harm and compassionate visits: you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
  • Animal welfare reasons: you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • Communal worship and life events: You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.
  • Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone's death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.exceptional circumstances.

Please note:

  • If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the village, town, or part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work.
  • If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you should only go out for medical appointments, exercise or if it is essential. You should not attend work
  • Failure to stay at home may result in a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.


You should minimise the time you spend outside your home.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one)
  • in a childcare bubble where providing childcare
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
  • Public outdoor places include:
    • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
    • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
    • the grounds of a heritage site
  • Playgrounds
  • Outdoor sports venues, including tennis courts, golf courses and swimming pools, must close.

Support and childcare bubbles

You have to meet certain eligibility rules to form a support or childcare bubble. Unfortunately this means not everyone will be able to form a bubble.

A support bubble is a support network which links two households. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size only if you meet the eligibility rules.

You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.

For up-to-date information visit the government's website

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes.

More details are available on GOV.UK website - National Lockdown guidance


You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (e.g. for work or education purposes).

If you need to travel you should stay local - meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live - and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.

The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:

  • work, where you cannot reasonably work from home
  • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
  • visiting those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
  • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • buying goods or services that you need, but this should be within your local area wherever possible
  • outdoor exercise. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
  • attending the care and exercise of an animal, or veterinary services

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practice social distancing while you travel.

Avoid car sharing with anyone from outside your household or your support bubble. See the guidance on car sharing.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travelguidance.

What is the advice for those who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

If you have been defined as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus you should work from home. Please stay at home as much as possible, except for exercise outdoors or medical treatment.

If you cannot work from home there may be support such as Statutory Sick Pay (SS) or Employment Support Allowance (ESA).

For further advice please see GOV.UK - Clinically Extremely Vulnerable

I need help and support

If you are isolated by COVID-19 and need help please get in touch with Preston Together Community Hub on 01772 906777 or email 

Lancashire Volunteer Partnership  offer services, if you need someone to speak to. 

Emergency Assistance Grant

The Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant is to help support residents of the Preston area who do not have enough resources to meet the immediate short-term needs and urgently require assistance with food and essentials items.

You must be experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of Covid-19 and awards will be made where there is no alternative means of meeting the need.

Where can I get tested?

For the latest information on coronavirus testing in Preston, please visit our Coronavirus testing page, using the button below.

View our Coronavirus testing page

I've been asked to self-isolate, how do I get the support payment?

You may be asked to self-isolate for a number of reasons including a positive test for you, someone in your household, if you've been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service or whether you are experiencing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

For more information on the importance of self-isolating as well as accessing the Test and Trace Support Payment for people on low income who are required to self-isolate, please visit our self-isolating page.

View information on self-isolating due to coronavirus

Can I go to work?

Everyone who can work effectively from home must do so. Where this is not possible (such as critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing) they should continue to travel to work and attend their workplace.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work.

All work places must closely follow Covid-secure guidelines, and extra consideration should be given to those at higher risk.

How can I report a Coronavirus concern?

If you are concerned about the implementation of COVID secure measures in a business, workplace or other public building please report this by using our Coronavirus report form.

Report a coronavirus concern

Where can I get tested?

For the latest information on coronavirus testing in Preston, please visit our Coronavirus testing page, using the button below.

Coronavirus testing

Information on self-isolating due to coronavirus and the Test and Trace Support Payment

You may be asked to self-isolate for a number of reasons including a positive test for you, someone in your household, if you've been contacted by the NHS Test and Trace service or whether you are experiencing coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.

For more information on the importance of self-isolating as well as accessing the Test and Trace Support Payment for people on low income who are required to self-isolate, please visit our self-isolating page.

View information on self-isolating due to coronavirus

COVID-19 symptoms

For a comprehensive list of COVID-19 symptoms visit NHS - COVID-19.

If you are displaying these symptoms or feel unwell please get tested as soon as possible. Where practical please avoid the use of taxis or public transport to attend a testing site.

Can I still access help?

Help for vulnerable people is still available via Preston Together 

Face coverings

What is the latest guidance on face coverings?

For the latest guidance and exemptions visit GOV.UK - Face coverings - when to wear one and how to make your own.

Can I be fined for not wearing a face covering?

The new legislation means it's a legal requirement to wear a face covering in shops and supermarkets.

Police can issue fines of £200 for non-compliance and have the powers to enforce the requirement to wear face coverings in certain premises and on public transport. 

You can report any non-compliance Covid-19 issues to the Police using their Covid-19 online report form.

What if I refuse?

On public transport, for example, those who obstruct or ignore orders from police "without reasonable excuse" commit an offence and can be prosecuted.

What about pubs, cafes and restaurants?

From Thursday 24 September you must wear a face covering in pubs, cafes and restaurants except when seated at a table to eat or drink. This means you must wear a face covering when being shown to a table, when leaving the venue and when going to and from toilet facilities.

Places where you need to wear a face covering

There are different rules for customers and employees regarding the wearing of a face covering.

Exemptions do still apply and employees who are unsure should contact their employer for further guidance.

Members of the public

You must wear a face covering, unless exempt:

  • on public transport and in transport hubs
  • while in a taxi or other private hire vehicle
  • while in a hospitality venue (pub, restaurant, cafe etc.) except when seated at a table to eat or drink (from 24 September)
  • in shops, supermarkets and shopping centres - even your local corner shop and includes indoor markets
  • Post Office, bank, solicitor's office etc
  • hair salon, barber and nail bars - including close contact services
  • vets
  • visitor attractions - museums and galleries, cinemas and bingo halls
  • libraries
  • places of worship
  • funeral homes and crematorium


GOV.UK provides guidance on the use of face coverings at work.

Employers must make sure that the risk assessment for their business addresses the risks of COVID-19 using BEIS guidance to inform decisions and control measures including close proximity working.

From 24 September:

  • Staff in hospitality and retail sectors will now be required to wear a face covering unless exempt
  • Staff performing close contact services (such as beauty treatments) must now wear a face covering and visor
  • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.

If you are unsure of how this applies to you, please contact your employer

Face covering exemptions

Some people are exempt from face covering, including:

  • children under 11
  • people with a medical exemption
  • employees in indoors settings
  • Police and emergency workers
  • speaking with someone who relies on lip reading
An image relating to Residencies affected by area of intervention measures
Following the announcement from Government that Preston is an area of intervention, new restrictions apply to residents within the area administrated by Preston City Council.

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