Friends can go for a walk with coffee, Matt Hancock suggests amid lockdown confusion
Mr Hancock also said you could go seven miles for exercise (Image: PA)
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You can go for a walk and get a takeaway coffee under the current lockdown rules, Matt Hancock has suggested.
His clarification came after a day of confusion on if the simple act fell within the rules.
Asked directly at this evening's Downing Street press conference about if it does fall within the rules, Mr Hancock still didn't clearly answer yes – but he was much clearer than anyone else has managed.
Mr Hancock said you can go to a park and exercise with one other person, and you should remain two metres apart.
The government has stressed that coffee shops remain open for takeway.
So it looks like it means you can go with a friend to park to walk – so long as your purpose is to take exercise – and pick up a coffee.
But – they key point according to the Health Secretary is that you should be exercising, not socialising.
Mr Hancock warned that a crackdown could follow if people kept "flexing" the rules.
He says people keep meeting in larger groups, and: "if too many people keep breaking this rule, then we are going to have to look at it".
People can buy coffee on a walk, so long as the walk is for exercise
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Earlier, Mr Johnson called for people to be aware of their surroundings when outside the home and hinted that rules could be tightened if people didn't follow them.
Mr Hancock did warn though that stronger enforcement of coronavirus rules is “necessary”, Matt Hancock said, as he praised police for stepping up their efforts.
The Health Secretary added: “It isn’t just about the Government and the rules we set, or the police and the work that they do – it’s about how everybody behaves.
“I applaud the action Morrisons has taken today, the supermarket, they have said that they will not let people in without a mask unless they clearly have a medical reason.
“That’s the right approach and I want to see all parts of society playing their part in this.”
Mr Johnson said: “In supermarkets people need to be keeping their distance, making sure that they’re wearing masks, doing the right thing.
“We need to enforce the rules in supermarkets.
“When people are getting takeaway drinks, in cafes, then they need to avoid spreading the disease there, avoid mingling too much.”
Mr Johnson stressed that “now is the moment for maximum vigilance” amid increasing calls for tougher lockdown restrictions.
The confusion arose after police appeared to step up action against people they considered to be flouting Covid restrictions.
This morning Downing Street was unable to say whether sitting on a park bench is against the rules.
Boris Johnson also warned of tighter lockdown if people didn't follow the rules
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
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The confusion camePrime Minister Boris Johnson signalled that tougher lockdown measures could be on the way.
However, Downing Street seemed unsure over what the current restrictions cover.
Asked if it is within coronavirus rules for a single person to sit on a park bench, a No 10 spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “Let me take that one away and come back to you, on the … park bench question.”
Pressed over confusion on Covid rules regarding whether people can consume takeaway teas or coffees in public, the spokesman said: “Takeaways are allowed, or restaurants, or cafes are allowed to provide takeaways.
“People are allowed to leave their homes if it’s for exercise, not socialising.”
Asked if someone can sit on a park bench and have a coffee under current coronavirus regulations, the spokesman said: “We have set out clearly the rules.
“We have been clear in the exemption for the stay-at-home rule: we are permitting one person to meet another person for exercise.”
Asked if walking outside with a takeaway tea is against the rules, the spokesman said: “Going for a walk, obviously, does count as exercise.”