Coastal trips still “not reasonable” – warning after new guidance issued

Police chiefs have said that going travelling to the Lincolnshire coast for exercise is still not “reasonable” after new guidance was issued to forces nationally.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council has published guidance on what counts as a “reasonable excuse” to leave the place you live, including allowing driving to the countryside and walking where “far more time is spent walking than driving”.

The guidance has sparked concerns that remote or open spaces could see an influx of people taking advantage of the new rules.

However, deputy chief constable of Lincolnshire Police and chairman of the Lincolnshire Resilience Forum Jason Harwin has called for “common sense” to be used.

“The majority of the public of Lincolnshire have complied with the advice for the right reasons.

Lincolnshire Police Deputy Chief Constable Jason Harwin.

“If you don’t need to travel in your car to go for a walk, because you can walk from your house, then actually don’t do that, because you’re creating a journey there that’s not needed, and potentially creating a greater risk to that community that you’re travelling into.”

He said police would still be enforcing the lockdown and taking into account individual circumstances.

“Lincolnshire context is really, really important, because there is opportunity for the majority of our communities in the county to go from their home address or very close to their home address without the need to travel half an hour, 20-25 minutes to the coast, that’s not reasonable, in our view.”

Here are some of the things the national guidance says are “likely to be reasonable”.


  • Buying several days’ worth of food, including luxury items and alcohol
  • Buying a small amount of a staple item of necessity (newspaper, pet food, bread and milk)
  • Collecting surplus basic food items from a friend
  • Buying tools and supplies to repair a fence panel damaged in bad weather

Not reasonable, it says, is buying paint and brushes “simply to redecorate a kitchen”. The regulations say maintenance and upkeep and do not extend to renovation and improvements.


  • Going for a run, cycle or yoga; walking in the countryside or in cities; attending an allotment
  • Driving to countryside and walking (where far more time is spent walking than driving)
  • Stopping to rest or to eat lunch while on a long walk
  • Exercising more than once per day – the only relevant consideration is whether repeated exercise on the same day can be considered a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home.

Not reasonable are driving lengthy journeys for only brief exercise and short walks to park benches where the person “remains seated for a much longer period”. The guidance says exercise “must involve some form of movement” but says stopping for a break is acceptable. However, it adds that long periods of inactivity “may mean that the person is not engaged in ‘exercise’ but in fact something else”.


  • A key worker or other essential worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
  • A non-key worker or non-essential key worker travelling to work where it is not reasonably possible to work from home.
  • A person delivering food packages to vulnerable people.

It does not include people working in local parks or those knocking on doors offering to do cash-in-hand work.


  • Taking an animal for treatment (however, visiting a surgery to renew a prescription is not when it could be done over the phone).
  • Moving to a friend’s address for several days to allow a ‘cooling-off’ following arguments at home (moving houses is allowed, however moves should be measured in days, not hours says the guidance)
  • Providing support to vulnerable people (but not visiting a friend in their address or in public to socialise)

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