Self-isolating because of coronavirus
You might have to stay at home and self-isolate if:
- you have symptoms of coronavirus – you can check the symptoms of coronavirus on the NHS website
- you test positive for coronavirus
- you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus
If you’re entering the UK from abroad
You might have to self-isolate – this is sometimes called ‘quarantine’.
The rules are different if you have to quarantine. You can check if you have to quarantine and what you have to do.
If you don’t self-isolate when you should
You’re breaking the law if you don’t self-isolate when you test positive for coronavirus.
You’re also breaking the law if you don’t self-isolate when NHS Test and Trace says you have to - for example if they call you or send a text message. This doesn’t include getting a message or ‘ping’ from the NHS COVID-19 app.
If you break the law, the police could fine you £1,000. If you’ve been fined for not self-isolating before they can fine you up to £10,000.
If you need to leave your home
The law says you can leave your home in some specific situations. For example, you can leave your home to:
- get basic things like food, medicine and pet supplies – if you can’t get them delivered
- get help from a medical professional or a vet – contact them by phone first, if you can
- use public services like the job centre or social services – contact them by phone first, if you can
- go to the funeral of a close family member
- avoid harm – for example if you’re at risk of domestic violence
- do something the law says you have to – for example jury service
- move to a new address if you can’t stay in your home
If you can’t work because you have to self-isolate
You can’t leave home to go work if the law says you have to self-isolate - for example if you test positive for coronavirus.
You must tell your employer if you have to self-isolate. If you’re an agency worker, tell your agency. It’s worth telling them in writing so you can prove it later.
The police can give you a £50 fine if you don’t tell your employer or agency. If you already work from home, you don’t have to tell them.
If your employer or agency knows you have to self-isolate but asks you to go to work anyway, tell them it’s against the law for them to ask you. The police can fine them £1,000 – or up to £10,000 if they’ve been fined for breaking the rules before.
If you’ve been pinged by the NHS app
You won’t break the law if you don’t self-isolate when pinged, but you risk spreading coronavirus to other people.
Check if your employer or agency has a policy that says you should tell them if you get pinged. You won’t break the law if you don’t tell them, but they might take disciplinary action against you.
Even if your employer or agency doesn’t have a policy, it’s a good idea to tell them and self-isolate so you don’t spread coronavirus to the people you work around.
If you only have to self-isolate because you’ve been pinged by the NHS app, your employer or agency won’t be fined for asking you to go to work. They still shouldn’t make you go to work if it’s not safe. If your employer tries to make you go to work, get help from an adviser.
If you’re worried about money because you can’t work
You might be able to get:
- a self-isolation payment from your local council
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer
- Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) from the government