Cooped-up Brits head to The Range to buy games, BBQs, paint & DIY supplies to make lockdown more bearable – The Sun

COOPED-UP Brits were spotted stocking up on barbecues, games, paint and DIY supplies today as they tried to make the coronavirus lockdown more bearable.

Shoppers at The Range in Southampton, Hampshire were seen loading up with supplies – some which could be deemed "non-essential" – to help keep them occupied while they stay at home.

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Some shoppers were seen bringing trolley loads of gardening materials, plants and compost back to their cars as Britain basks in warm weather.

DIY tools, blower vacuums to clean away leaves, paint and other non-essential items were also snapped up by fed-up Brits as the country tries to keep busy under the government's stay-at-home rules.

Strict social distancing measures introduced last month to help tackle the spread of the deadly bug say Brits should only leave home to shop for "basic necessities" like food or medicine.

But there is confusion at guidance on what is a "reasonable excuse" to leave your home during the UK's Covid-19 shutdown.


On March 23, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered all "non-essential" shops to shut while urging Brits to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus.

The government is now under pressure to explain to Brits how and when the coronavirus lockdown will end.

Under the rules, people can only leave home for a limited number of reasons:

  • Shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible.
  • One form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household.
  • Any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person.
  • Travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

The Cabinet is now said to be split into “doves and hawks” over how and when to end the UK-wide shutdown, which is ravaging the country's economy.

Some ministers are said to be against ending the lockdown too early to avoid a second wave, while others want to lift it to avoid a bigger economic crisis.

And guidance from senior police leaders issued last week on what is permitted has confused many.

The National Police Chief's Council (NPCC) and College of Policing's three-page document laid out "reasonable" excuses to leave home.


They advised that "buying paint and brushes, simply to redecorate a kitchen" was "not likely to be reasonable".

But the advice, which is to help police officers interpret the lockdown rules, says buying "tools and supplies  to repair a fence panel" is "likely to be reasonable".

To make things more complicated, the guidance says "there is no need for a person's shopping to be basic food supplies".

It also states "a person has a reasonable right to visit the shops that remain open to customers under the Regulations".


The guidance was quietly introduced last week after a woman was arrested for sitting on a park bench, claiming she was "exercising mentally".

It ruled out sitting on park benches for any extended periods of time.

Some parks have already taped them up to stop people from sitting in the park and relaxing.

Brits are allowed to sit down for a moment to catch their breath or eat their lunch, but only if they are on a long walk.

"A short walk to a park bench, when the person remains seated for a much longer period" is not considered reasonable, the rules say.


The new guidance come after accusations of over-zealous policing of Brits. 

Downing Street slapped down policing tactics, saying stores are “free to sell what they stock” after officers from Cambridge Police patrolled “non-essential aisles” for shoppers.

A police force had to apologise after one of its officers told a family they couldn't use their own front garden.

Northamptonshire Police Chief Constable Nick Adderley was forced to backtrack after saying cops could "start" to "marshal supermarkets and check the items in baskets."

He said the public had enjoyed a "three-week grace period" and said his force would slap fines and arrest those caught outside for non-essential reasons.

He said: "We will not, at this stage, be setting up road blocks.

"We will not, at this stage, start to marshal supermarkets and check the items in baskets and trolleys to see whether it's a necessary item.

"But be under no illusion, if people do not heed the warnings and the pleas I'm making today, we will start to do that."

Home Secretary Priti Patel has repeatedly refused to give in to police chiefs' demands for even more power, saying earlier this week they already had enough measures for enforcement.

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