British Government advice to tackle the coronavirus outbreak has been clarified to urge people to “stay local” when exercising ahead of the first weekend in lockdown.

After British police warned of “confusion” over where people can visit, ministers updated guidance to urge the public to only use “open spaces” near their homes where possible.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson this week ordered the public to stay home other than for essential travel and for a once-daily exercise to help ease the strain on the NHS in the fight against Covid-19.

Ahead of a major test for social distancing on Saturday, the Environment Department updated its guidance on how to stay safe when exercising.

The public should “stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible”, it said, adding: “Do not travel unnecessarily.”

And people should keep at least two metres from anyone they do not live with when out exercising.

Earlier Staffordshire Police acknowledged there had been “some confusion” as to where they are allowed to visit – as a neighbouring force defended its use of drones to deter people visiting the Peak District.

Derbyshire Police attracted criticism from some quarters after posting footage shot by its drone, drawing attention to what it said were clearly unnecessary journeys.

Meanwhile, Avon and Somerset Police said such non-essential travel included “driving to local beauty spots to do exercise”.

Elsewhere, Cumbria Police warned drivers would face fines as they “closed” the Lake District, with North Yorkshire Police also telling people to stay away from beauty spots.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for charging and out of court disposals, Deputy Chief Constable Sara Glen, also urged people to “be sensible”.

Police stop motorists as they travel on Park Street, Bristol to check on essential travel

She said: “There isn’t anything definitive in the legislation that talks about ‘can you get in a car to drive to a place to go and do your exercise’.

“It just gives the guidance that we’re giving, that can we all be really sensible about this.”


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