Coronavirus: Support for Individuals and Communities

Updated 27th April 2020, 13:59. For the latest medical advice, visit

Here we share advice and information needed for individuals who need support from others. We also answer a some frequently asked questions below:

If you feel you are vulnerable and need emergency help, Devon County Council can be contacted on their hotline: 0345 155 1011

In response to concerns regarding the welfare of care workers, Selaine said:

I want to first express my gratitude to care workers for the incredible way in which they are doing a very difficult job. We all owe keyworkers a debt of gratitude and I agree that we must recognise their efforts appropriately.

Once we have beaten Coronavirus, we will all have to reassess the way we do things and ensure that the social care sector is put on a stable footing for the foreseeable future. The Government is committed to cross-party talks on the future of social care, and these talks will be wide-ranging and include issues such as pay.

In the meantime, I have been working to ensure that care homes have the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) they need. The distribution of PPE is a challenge of huge proportions and any care home having difficulties can contact me and I will do my best to resolve them. The Government is doing everything it can and I am in constant contact with Ministers to ensure that PPE gets where it needs to be. Devon has sufficient supplies of PPE and I am working to make sure it stays that way. There is a new national PPE helpline available to those who need PPE here: 0191 283 6543 or email Anyone having difficulties can also use this facility set up by a local company, Applegate:

If you know of somewhere still struggling to get PPE, please do email me and I will escalate it and ensure that this is delivered as soon as possible. The Government is doing everything it can to get supplies to the right places but it is an enormous challenge.


When am I allowed to leave the house?

You should only leave the house for very limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Can I go to the dentist, my GP or another medical appointment?

You can leave home for medical appointments.

GP practices may postpone non-urgent health checks or routine appointments. You should go to the doctor if there is an essential medical need.

Can I see my friends or elderly relatives?

We must all stay away from each other to stop spreading the virus, and that means you should not be meeting friends unless you live in the same household.

Instead, you could keep in touch with your friends/relatives using phone or video calls.

Can I go out to help a vulnerable person?

You can only provide support to vulnerable people if you fulfil all of the conditions below:

  • you are well and have no symptoms like a cough or high temperature and nobody in your household does
  • you are under 70
  • you are not pregnant
  • you do not have any long-term health conditions that make you vulnerable to coronavirus

If the answer is yes to everything above, you may leave your house to provide care or to help a vulnerable person, following the advice set out here.

When outside the home, you should stay at least two metres away from others wherever possible.

We have seen an incredible effort across the country already, and we’re hugely grateful to those who support the vulnerable in their communities by volunteering day-to-day.

Can I see my friends?

We must all stay away from each other to stop spreading the virus, and that means you should not be meeting friends unless you live in the same household.

Instead, you could keep in touch with your friends using phone or video calls.

Can I drive to a national park or other green space to walk?

We advise you to stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily.

You can still go to the park for outdoor exercise once a day but only by yourself or within your household, not in groups. The government asks you to keep 2 metres apart from others outside your household at all times when outdoors.

Can I walk my dog?

Yes – provided it is alone or with members of your household.

You must stay at home as much as possible to reduce the spread of the virus. But you can also still go outside once a day for a walk, run, cycle. When doing this you must minimise the time you are out of your home and stay at least two metres away from anyone else that isn’t from your household.

Which shops are allowed to stay open?

Click here to see the latest guidance from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. 

When can non-essential shops re-open?

These measures will be reviewed three weeks after 23rd March 2020. This review will consider their necessity and effectiveness in light of changing circumstances.

What about takeaways? 

Takeaways and delivery facilities should remain open. This means you can continue to enter premises to access takeaway services, including delivery drivers. Businesses are encouraged to take orders online or by telephone, and businesses should not provide seating areas, indoors and outdoors, for customers to consume food and drink on. Ordering in advance is strongly encouraged to avoid waiting in, as per Public Health England guidelines.

Planning regulation has been changed to enable restaurants, cafés and pubs which do not currently offer delivery and hot food takeaway to do so. The legislation can be accessed online.

What will happen to me if I break the rules?

We appreciate all the effort people are putting into containing the spread of coronavirus which will help protect our NHS and save lives.

However, if you leave your home or gather in public for any reason other than those specified, the police may:

  • instruct you to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
  • take you home – or arrest you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary
  • issue a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days.
  • issue a fine (fixed penalty notice) of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Individuals who do not pay their fine could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines.