As Covid-19 case levels continue to rise across the country, the government is tackling the apparent second wave of infection with local lockdowns, and a more targeted approach to the coronavirus pandemic.
Large areas of the North of England are now under local lockdown, with more added following the announcement of the government’s long proposed three tier system.
That could, in theory, pose a problem for people who make regular journeys through such areas, whether to get to work or visit family.
So can you drive through a lockdown area, if you’re looking to get to the other side?
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Here is everything you need to know.
Can I drive through a lockdown area?
Driving through a lockdown area - without stopping - is permitted if you are not a resident there. However, there are things you should bear in mind to make sure your journey is as Covid-secure as possible, even if you’re driving your own, private vehicle.
You should check that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy if you haven’t used it for several weeks, and it’s advised that you plan your route, including any breaks, before setting out.
Routes may be altered as local areas make changes to enable social distancing, particularly in busier areas, like city centres.
Expect more pedestrians and cyclists in these areas, too, especially at peak times of day. Where possible, allow other road users to maintain social distancing - for example, give cyclists space at traffic lights.
At garages, petrol stations and motorway services, try to keep your distance from other people and pay by contactless, if you can.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, or sanitise your hands often, and always when exiting or re-entering your vehicle, and again when finishing your journey.
Can I travel through a lockdown area with multiple passengers?
If you live within a lockdown area, you should not meet or socialise with other households inside or outside. This would extend to sharing car journeys.
However, if you are travelling through such an area to get to somewhere else not under stricter restrictions, while you should try not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble, if you need to, you should take the following precautions:
Share the car with the same people each timeKeep to small groups of people at any one timeOpen windows for ventilationTravel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allowFace away from each otherConsider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicleClean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touchAsk the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
People from a household or support bubble are still able to travel together in a vehicle.
What about in Wales?
In Wales, the situation is different. Many of the local lockdowns in place there instruct residents to not leave or enter an area without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education.
However, travel through such an affected area is allowed, according to the Welsh Government, although stopping is not.
A spokesperson told Wales Online, "If you have to travel along a road that passes through the area and you have no other reasonable option to travel to your destination, then this is allowed."
The Welsh Government also said drivers are allowed to stop in the affected areas to get petrol if they are close to running out, but it is advised that travellers plan to make sure they have everything they need for their journey before setting off.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Post