Coronavirus: Can my car still get an MOT? And other questions

Coronavirus: Can my car still get an MOT? And other questions

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The UK government has introduced strict new measures to try to slow the spread of coronavirus. But what are you still allowed to do?

Here are the answers to some of the most common readers’ questions.

My car is due its MOT. Are garages still open and doing this service? – Stewart Oxley, Coulby Newham

The government has granted a temporary six-month MOT extension to all cars, motorcycles and light vans which have an MOT due from 30 March. However, it says that all vehicles need to be kept in a roadworthy condition, and taken to a garage if they need repairs (garages are allowed to remain open under the new restrictions).

Vehicles due for an MOT before 30 March should still be taken in for testing, unless their owner is self-isolating.

MOTs have been suspended for lorries, buses and trailers for up to three months.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has also suspended driving and motorcycle tests in England, Scotland and Wales for up to three months from 21 March, except for critical workers.

All practical driving tests are also currently suspended in Northern Ireland until 22 June.

Can divorced parents keep seeing their kids even if they live in different houses? – Safia Finlay, Lymington

Yes. The government guidance on staying at home says: “Where parents do not live in the same household, children under 18 can be moved between their parents’ homes.”

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has also tweeted a message in answer to claims that advice had not been clear enough.

He said that while children should not normally be moving between households, it may be necessary in these circumstances.

I’m a single mum of a one-year-old and an intensive care nurse for the NHS. I usually use family for childcare, now I can’t. How do I continue? – Kelly, 35, Bristol

Nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings are among the places that are staying open to look after the children of key workers such as nurses. They won’t all be able to stay open if they have staff shortages caused by the virus, but in those cases, neighbouring areas might be able to help.

Local authorities are working with the government to make sure children are cared for and will help by providing transport to childcare settings if it’s needed – so contacting them would be a good first step.

Gingerbread, the charity supporting single parents, also has a helpline for those wanting advice at this time.

We’re due to move house this Friday. Can we? – James Stone, Bristol

The government is yet to issue official advice for those who have already exchanged contracts and are waiting to move house.

The campaign group Homeowners Alliance says it would suggest going through with the move if you can, although it says you may struggle with getting your belongings moved.

It also advises you to speak to all of those involved in the process as soon as possible – your solicitor, your buyer and/or seller and your removals company.

Will deliveries from non-essential shops still go ahead? – Jake, Earley

You should expect deliveries of existing orders to go ahead.

Government guidelines say that online shopping sites are still open (and encouraged) and postal and delivery services will run as usual.

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Postal workers will no longer ask customers to sign for deliveries, but will log the recipient’s name instead. If items can’t fit through letterboxes, they will leave them at the door and step aside to a safe distance to allow people to retrieve their goods.

Retailer John Lewis says it’s still offering home deliveries for large items such as furniture or home appliances, but not home installation or assembly.

Currys and AO are also continuing to deliver appliances, but if anyone in the household is self-isolating, items will be delivered to the doorstep.

What if I need to take my pet to a vet? – Tania Barr, Langford

Vets across the UK remain open, but the latest government advice is that practices should only provide emergency care and must reduce face-to-face contact as much as possible.

Until more detailed advice is published, people should only go to the vet if they are seeking non-routine, urgent care (or essential food) for their animals.

Can tradespeople still work at my house? – David, Merstham

Tradespeople are not currently on the list of non-essential businesses and premises that the government says must shut (the list is here).

That said, the government has banned public gatherings of any more than two people. An exception is made where the gathering is essential for work purposes, “but workers should be trying to minimise all meetings and other gatherings in the workplace”.

If tradespeople need to be called out to your home, keep 2m apart and wipe down surfaces before and after their visit.

I sell online and post my goods. Can I still go the Post Office? – Kathryn Lowe, Ibstock

Post offices are among the shops and outlets which the government has said will remain open.

However, if you visit a post office, make sure you follow the government guidelines on social distancing. This includes staying 2m away from staff and other customers, and not gathering in large groups.

Shops and post offices are also required to practise queue control – outside their premises if necessary.

My partner lives away from me. Can we visit each other? – Trevor Sumnerson, Sheffield

No, this would go against the new government measures. In his statement, Boris Johnson said: “If your friends ask you to meet, you should say no. You should not be meeting family members who do not live in your home.”

An exception for this would be if you provided essential care for your partner or vice versa.

People have also been told not to make any unnecessary journeys.

Can you tend your allotment during the lockdown? – Roy Nicholson, Weybridge

Speaking after the announcement of the new government restrictions, Michael Gove said he thought it was “perfectly sensible for people to go to an allotment”.

Rules on social distancing would apply for tending an allotment – as with all other activities outside the house – but Mr Gove said that it was “in the very nature of allotments that there’s a safe distance between people who are working on individual allotments”.

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