UK extends lockdown by 3 weeks, have the rules changed for walking your dog?

The UK government announced yesterday that it would extend its current nationwide lockdown measures by at least another three weeks.

In a statement Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said the advice from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) is that relaxing any of the measures currently in place would risk damage to both public health and the economy.

So have the rules changed from the previous Covid-19 lockdown measures?

According to the UK government guidelines on social distancing it appears that the rules have not changed. In fact, since the rules were first published, the UK government released even further guidance for pet parents which included the rule that they are not allowed to drive anywhere to walk their dogs.

However, dog walks are still allowed.

According to government guidelines you should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  1. Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  2. One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household. This does include dogs.
  3. Any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  4. Traveling to and from work, but only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.

“Stay local and use open spaces near to your home where possible – do not travel unnecessarily,” the guidance states. “If you have a garden, make use of the space for exercise and fresh air.”

On its guidance for dogs, the guidelines states that if you are walking your dog in areas used by other people, you should walk your dog on a lead to ensure you can safely keep 2 meters away from others. You can find further guidance for pet owners here.

If your dog cannot exercise at home, you should ask someone outside of your household to walk your dog for you. Furthermore, all non-essential trips to vets should be avoided. If your pet needs urgent treatment, you must phone the vet to arrange the best approach to meet your pets’ needs.

Advice if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus

According to the guidelines, you may leave your house to exercise once a day and you should combine this with walking your dog. In doing so, it is important that you minimize the time spent outside of the home and remain 2 meters away from anyone outside of your household.

In terms of exercising, you can:

– Go for a run or cycle, practice yoga, go for a walk in the countryside or in cities, and attend to an allotment

– Drive to the countryside and go for a walk (where far more time is spent walking than driving)

– Stopping to rest or eat lunch while undertaking a long walk

What you’re not allowed to do is drive for a prolonged period of time for only a brief amount of exercise, or take a short walk to something like a park bench where you sit for a long period.

Given current circumstances, you probably should not be driving to a separate location to exercise or walk your dog, but in some cases it is permitted.

Dog walking time at the beach



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