These are the rules about going to the beach - according to government guidelines

Exercise is now allowed on an unlimited basis, but is a day at the beach allowed? (Photo: Shutterstock)

Boris Johnson recently unveiled plans for lockdown restrictions to ease in England over the coming months, as part of phased plans to reopen shops, pubs, restaurants and get kids back to schools.

Exercise is now allowed on an unlimited basis, but is a day at the beach allowed?

Here’s what you need to know.

Can I go to the beach?

In England, driving to outdoor open spaces, beaches or beauty spots with members of the same household is allowed, as is travelling to the countryside.

This rule does not apply in other parts of the UK.

An obstacle with visiting the seaside is needing to go to the toilet while you’re there, if you’re planning a day trip. You will most likely be restricted to public toilets, or those within a local garage or supermarket as cafes are currently close, and touching surfaces in these toilets will pose a contamination risk.

In some areas, public toilets and other amenities remained closed.

It could also be hard to socially distance in densely populated areas around the beach, including the car park or the footpaths which lead to the coast.

Can I swim in the sea?

Members of the public are allowed to swim in the sea or lakes, but the two metre distancing rule has to be observed outside of your family unit.

The government’s guidelines explain, “People may drive to outdoor open spaces irrespective of distance, so long as they respect social distancing guidance while they are there, because this does not involve contact with people outside your household.”

However, swimming in a public pool, either indoors or outdoors, using a playground or an outdoor gym, and exercising in indoor leisure centres or facilities is prohibited.

The guidelines say, “You will still not be able to use areas like playgrounds, outdoor gyms orticketed outdoor leisure venues, where there is a higher risk of close contact and touchingsurfaces.

“You can only exercise with up to one person from outside your household - this meansyou should not play team sports, except with members of your own household.”

There are still regulations in place against going on holiday or staying overnight at a holiday home or second home.

Stay in England

People who live in England have also been warned against travelling to other parts of the UK.

The government’s guidelines state, “When travelling to outdoor spaces, it is important that people respect the rules in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and do not travel to different parts of the UK where it would be inconsistent with guidance or regulations issued by the relevant devolved administration.”

Why can I spend more time outdoors?

The government’s new guidelines regarding how England will ease out of lockdown restrictions, named ‘Our Plan To Rebuild: The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy’, explains why people in England are able to spend more time outside.

The strategy says, “SAGE advise that the risk of infection outside is significantly lower than inside.” The government is therefore updating the rules so that, as well as exercise, people can now also spend time outdoors subject to:

Not meeting up with any more than one person from outside your household

Continued compliance with social distancing guidelines to remain two metres (6ft) away from people outside your household

Good hand hygiene, particularly with respect to shared surfaces

And those responsible for public places being able to put appropriate measures in place to follow the new COVID-19 Secure guidance