What does stay local mean? This is how far you can travel within the UK

Family getting into the car
(Image credit: Getty Images/Maskot)

From March 29, the 'stay at home' rules is being scrapped and instead, people are being urged to 'stay local' - but what does 'stay local' mean? 

While international travel rules have been made stricter throughout the third lockdown, rules on travelling around the UK have always been tight. In the heat of the restrictions and during the circuit breaker lockdown, there were even exercise rules that limited where and how far you could go for a workout.

The same advice on 'staying local' is now being extended to all situations, as the number of people who can meet outdoors is changing. But with confusion earlier in the year over what this entails in reality, people are once again asking what the advice to 'stay local' actually means.

What does stay local mean?

'Staying local' means remaining within the same village, town or part of a city where you normally live.

The government have never defined what this means in terms of milage or how far you can travel away from home but the Department of Health have said that "people should be sensible".

See more

"If you do leave home, you should stay local in the village, town or part of the city where you live - unless there is a justifiable reason not to do so."

This advice seemed to conflict with that given by ministers in January, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was spotted on a bike ride seven miles away from his home in another part of London. In response, Heath Secretary Matt Hancock was asked to clarify what the advice to 'stay local' meant.

"It is OK," He said, "If you went for a long walk and ended up seven miles from home, that is OK, but you should stay local. It is OK to go for a long walk or a cycle ride or to exercise, but stay local."

Under the government's roadmap out of lockdown, from March 29 people will be allowed to meet up with six others or two households but have been told to 'stay local' where possible for all socialising.

While long-distance travel is no longer illegal, it's not encouraged under this new advice. However, people have been reminded that if there is a justifiable reason for travel, such as for work or education, then it's allowed.

Overnight stays in lockdown are still prohibited as is visiting other people inside their homes. But support bubbles are still allowed to take place and people in the same support bubble don't have to socially distance.

Woman on train wearing mask as people ask what stay local means

Credit: Getty

What does stay local mean in Scotland?

This advice is a little clearer than that issued in England. The Scottish government said that exercise could be had during lockdown if it "starts and finishes at the same place, which can be up to five miles from the boundary of your local authority area."

On Monday April 26, the Scottish government is also aiming to allow travel throughout all of mainland Scotland for their own residents.

What are the rules in Wales?

The 'stay local' rule in Wales replaces the 'stay at home' guidance a little later in Wales than it does in England. From Thursday April 1, the advice to 'stay local' comes into place - but residents can travel anywhere within Wales, rather than just around their home.

Holiday cottages and other self-catered accommodation is also going to open up again for this purpose, but only for those from the same household.

People walking to the beach as they wonder what stay local means

Credit: Getty

What does stay local mean in Northern Ireland?

For the moment, Northern Ireland is still in lockdown. It's thought that some restrictions will be lifted on Monday April 12, with their 'stay local' guidance being issued at the same time.

It's not known for the moment what the advice will mean, but it's thought that it could be similar to that of the other UK nations.

Grace Walsh
Features Writer

Grace Walsh is a health and wellbeing writer, working across the subjects of family, relationships, and LGBT topics, as well as sleep and mental health. A digital journalist with over six years  experience as a writer and editor for UK publications, Grace is currently Health Editor for womanandhome.com and has also worked with Cosmopolitan, Red, The i Paper, GoodtoKnow, and more. After graduating from the University of Warwick, she started her career writing about the complexities of sex and relationships, before combining personal hobbies with professional and writing about fitness.