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What you can and can't do in Portsmouth

England is now subject to National lockdown: Stay at Home restrictions. This means you must stay at home.

Leaving home

You must not leave, or be outside of your home except where necessary. You may leave your home to:

  • shop for basic necessities, for you or a vulnerable/self-isolating person
  • go to work, or provide voluntary or charitable services, if you cannot reasonably do so from home
  • exercise with your household (or support bubble) or one other person, this should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.
  • meet your support bubble or childcare bubble where necessary, but only if you are legally permitted to form one
  • seek medical assistance (including getting a Covid test) or avoid injury, illness or risk of harm (including domestic abuse)
  • attend education or childcare – for those eligible.
  • attend worship and life events such as funerals though there are restrictions on numbers
  • attend a vets appointment for a pet
  • fulfil legal obligations for example attending court or jury service, buying/selling or renting/letting a property or to vote in certain overseas elections
  • support someone giving birth
  • visit someone dying

If you do leave home for a permitted reason, you should always stay local in the part of the city where you live. You may leave your local area for a legally permitted reason, such as for work. For outdoor exercise this should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within the area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space).

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. If you have tested positive for Covid-19, are awaiting a test or have been identified as a close contact of a positive case and advised to self-isolate you should not be leaving home at all, except for a medical emergency or to avoid injury or risk of harm (including domestic abuse). You should advise anyone helping you e.g. a medical professional, that you or someone in your household has Covid-19 or symptoms so that they can take precautions to keep everyone safe.

The police can take action against you if you leave home for a reason not listed above, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

Meeting others

You cannot leave your home to meet socially with anyone you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with (if you are legally permitted to form one).

You may exercise on your own, with one other person, or with your household or support bubble.

You should not meet other people you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, unless for a permitted reason.

Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household.

When going out

If you’re leaving home for one of the permitted reasons above remember:

‘Hands. Face. Space.’

  • hands – wash your hands regularly and for at least 20 seconds
  • face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space – stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings)

It’s important to follow this guidance as approximately 1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and could be spreading it without realising it.

If you need to travel, walk or cycle where possible, and plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

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 travel guidance.

Travelling abroad

You should not be travelling abroad unless it is permitted, for example for work.

In addition, you should consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting. If you’re a Portsmouth resident currently abroad you do not need to return home immediately. However, you should check with your airline or travel operator on arrangements for returning.

You can find more detailed information on the government website.


Do not leave home if you or someone you live with has any of the following:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough
  • a loss of, or change to, your sense of smell or taste

If you or someone you live with has any of these symptoms it’s important to visit the NHS website to find out what you need to do, including getting tested. You can book a test online at or by calling 119.

Find out more information about how to self-isolate, what you can and can’t do and what local support is available in our protect Portsmouth self-isolation guide.

NHS 111 Mental Health Triage Service

Are you, or someone you know, experiencing a crisis and need urgent mental health support? Call 111 or visit the NHS 111 website and speak to the NHS Mental Health Triage Service. If you are experiencing a life threatening emergency, please call 999.

Wellbeing advice 

We know that many factors can influence our physical and psychological wellbeing. There are many options available to help you keep healthy and happy:

Coronavirus crisis card

We’ve produced a guide which lists services and support that is available right now to help, listen and support you during this crisis. Take a look at the crisis card.

NHS Covid-19 app

The NHS has launched a free app as part of its Test and Trace service. It’s the fastest way to see if you’re at risk of coronavirus.

The app will alert you if you’ve been near other app users who have tested positive for coronavirus. It also allows you to quickly check-in to venues, see if the infection rate is increasing in your local area, check symptoms and book a coronavirus test. If you need to self-isolate it will set a countdown timer.

The app tracks coronavirus and not you. It doesn’t store any personal information about you or track your location. It can’t access your phone contacts and it keeps your privacy and identity secure.

The app is available in different languages and is easy to download for free. Search ‘NHS Covid19’  where you usually get your apps from on your smartphone

For more information including a video explaining the app, visit

NHS Covid-19 test and trace app Pause function

If you’ve downloaded the Covid-19 NHS test and trace app, it should be left on as much as possible, but you’ll need to make sure you know how and when to PAUSE the app to prevent you inadvertently becoming a ‘close contact’ of someone you’ve not been close to, or when you’ve actually been protected. Read more about how and when to pause contact tracing

If you are looking for support for your business, or have questions about coronavirus, visit our coronavirus businesses and employers page.

Residents can now a report a breach of coronavirus measures online.

Misinformation and disinformation

We are all curious to understand our world and stay up to date with the latest news. We do this is by finding out and sharing information. This may be anything from official communications from government and local councils. It may be news articles and messages from vloggers, podcasters and social media influencers. Friends and family also share information with us on social media or messaging apps. But some is fact and some is not.

Disinformation can be dangerous

All news spreads fast like a virus, especially if it’s exciting. The sheer volume of information we see, along with the speed at which it’s shared, is now being called an ‘infodemic’.

But there is a difference between sharing useful information and entertaining stories and sharing misinformation.

Misinformation – even if unintentional –  can still be dangerous.

Disinformation is deliberately misleading and serves a specific agenda – one which you may not even agree with.

Help stop the spread

Just as we can protect against COVID-19 with hand washing, physical distancing and wearing face masks, we can slow down the spread of misinformation and disinformation by practising ‘information hygiene’. Before sharing something, ask yourself these simple questions:

  • How does this make me feel?
  • Why am I sharing this?
  • How do I know if it’s true?
  • Where did it come from?
  • Whose agenda might I be supporting by sharing it?

And if you know something is false, or if it makes you angry, just ignore it and don’t be tempted to share to it to debunk it or make fun of it. This just spreads the misinformation or disinformation further.

‘Play the game’ – learn how to reduce your susceptibility to fake news

A new 5-7 minute game developed by the University of Cambridge, Go Viral!, helps you learn to spot and avoid the basics of online manipulation in the era of coronavirus. It’s a simple guide to common techniques: using emotionally charged language to stoke outrage and fear, deploying fake experts to sow doubt, and mining conspiracies for social media likes.

Where to find reliable information on COVID-19

Remember, though: information will change as we learn more about the virus.

Learn more about how you can report misinformation online.

Council service information

For more information about how the coronavirus outbreak is affecting council services, visit the coronavirus page.