Coronavirus: Government clarifies guidance on exercise (9 April 2020)
We are really pleased that the Government has listened to the voices of autistic people and their families and amended national guidance on how often some people can leave their home during the coronavirus outbreak.
The rules originally said that no-one could leave their home for exercise more than once a day, and they had to stay close to home. We told the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) that going outside for exercise is very important to the health and wellbeing of many children and adults on the autism spectrum. Sometimes, autistic people may need to go to quieter places, away from other people, even if these places are further away from their home. They may also need to be accompanied by a carer or support worker who is not someone they live with.
People got in touch to tell us that they were worried about this. Some said they had been stopped by the police for going out with carers, or judged by members of the public for going out too often. We shared these experiences with the Government, along with other charities and campaigners. Lawyers acting for two families with autistic children also challenged the Government on this.
The Government has now published new guidance making clear that, if you’re autistic or have a learning disability, you can leave your home more than once a day and travel beyond your local area if this is important to your health. If you need carers with you, they don’t have to stay the two metres apart from you that is usually required by social distancing. However, it is still important to be careful and only go out when you really need to, to reduce the chance of getting ill or infecting other people.
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