The National Police Chief’s Council and the College of Policing have reproduced guidance from the CPS as to what constitutes a reasonable excuse to leave the place where you live. It is available here. 



The guidance states that some earlier statements on the legal test were wrong.   The test is “reasonable excuse”.

“Some public statements made soon after the adoption of the Regulations suggested that members of the public could only leave their homes if ‘essential’ to do so. However, this is not the test set out in the Regulations and there is no legal basis for a requirement in those terms to be imposed. The applicable threshold is that of ‘reasonable excuse’.


The guidance also clarifies the provisions in relation to shopping.

“There is no need for all a person’s shopping to be basic food supplies; the purchase of  Snacks and luxuries is still permitted. 
In general terms, a person has a reasonable excuse to visit the shops which remain
open to customers under the regulations.
If a person is already out of the address with good reason, then it would not be
proportionate to prevent the person from buying nonessential items.

Food could include hot food from takeaways.
‘Obtain’ includes purchasing, but could include collecting or sharing items, provided this is genuine.”


There is also important clarification on travelling to work and volunteering.

“There is no requirement to be a key worker or essential
worker in order to travel to work. Anyone can travel to
work if it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
A request from an employer to attend the work place
should be sufficient. But there is no requirement for the
person to have any written proof of a need to go to work
or volunteering. Police should not ask for ID documents or
any other kind of document.

There is no requirement for volunteers to work for
a registered organisation or charity. There is no
requirement for the volunteering to be related to

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