On 23 March 2020 the Prime Minister announced that all citizens were only allowed to leave where they were living for exercise once a day, which was repeated in guidance that the government published on 29 March 2020. This raised immediate concerns for supporters of people with medical conditions, mental health problems, learning difficulties and autism where more frequent exercise was required to maintain their health and wellbeing
As a result, two families of children with autism began judicial review proceedings on the grounds that adults and children with some health and developmental delay conditions were disproportionally impacted by this inflexible policy which only allowed them to leave their home once a day.
Following this legal challenge, the guidance was changed on 8 April 2020 and section 15 now states:
“15. Can I exercise more than once a day if I need to due to a significant health condition?
You can leave your home for medical need. If you (or a person in your care) have a specific health condition that requires you to leave the home to maintain your health – including if that involves travel beyond your local area – then you can do so. This could, for example, include where individuals with learning disabilities or autism require specific exercise in an open space two or three times each day – ideally in line with a care plan agreed with a medical professional.
Even in such cases, in order to reduce the spread of infection and protect those exercising, travel outside of the home should be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and you should remain at least 2 metres apart from anyone who is not a member of your household or a carer at all times. (Added emphasis.)”