The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted daily life in the UK as schools close and people are told to stay away from social venues and avoid large gatherings. Talk of a lockdown has increased in recent days as parks across the UK saw an increase in visitors, who weren’t adhering to the Government’s preventative measures.
Can you walk your dog during lockdown?
Current advice from the Government says those who have not exhibited symptoms of coronavirus – a new, continuous cough and/or a high temperature – and who don’t live with other people who have shown symptoms are allowed to take dogs for a walk.
However, they must stay at a safe distance – two metres or six feet – away from others.
If a person has symptoms or lives with someone that does, they can’t walk the dog outside of their house.
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Walking dogs in quiet areas is unlikely to spread the virus.
Robert Dingwall, a professor of sociology at Nottingham Trent University and a government adviser on the social dynamics of infectious disease outbreaks, urged common sense.
Speaking to the Daily Telegraph, he said: “If you have a dog, take it out for walks – but don’t stop to hang out with other dog walkers.
“If you usually walk down to the local convenience store, keep doing that – just pick a quiet time to do it.”
Some groups have offered dog-walking services for those who are self-isolating.
With social distancing advised, people have been able to take advantage of it by walking dogs in parks.
But many have chosen to ignore the safe distance instructions.
The Government has now threatened more severe measures and Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure from his cabinet to put these into place within 24 hours.
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The stricter measure could be a countrywide lockdown, similar to the ones seen in France and Italy.
They have limited the movement of people and asked citizens to stay indoors at all times, save for a few limited reasons to go outside.
France have enforced the lockdown by deploying hundreds of thousands of police officers onto the streets.
To be outside, members of the public need to justify their “essential” reason for being outdoors using a ‘sworn statement’ that has to be presented on request. Failure to do so results in a fine.
Walking the dog is included among these “essential” reasons to be outdoors.
Those who do not have symptoms are allowed to take their dogs out for walks, as long as they stay close to home.
Other “essential” reasons for being out of your house under lockdown in France include going to work for those who are unable to work from home, shopping for food and other necessities and seeking medical assistance if you exhibit severe symptoms.
Helping dependant and needy relatives is also permitted, as is taking children to playgrounds as this is deemed essential to their wellbeing.
Government advice states: “If you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus, however mild, stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started.
“If you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for seven days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.
“The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
“For anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for seven days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.”
When self-isolating, people should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others.
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