COVID-19 update

Helping you to get outside safely

Our latest update on COVID-19. Can I still get outside?

Latest government advice


Here at Ordnance Survey we love the outdoors. In fact, it's in our DNA. So not getting outside as freely as we are used to is going to be a bit of a challenge, and we're sure it will be for you too. But at this difficult time we must strive to help and protect each other and do our bit for our communities.

After the Prime Minister's announcement last night, we must now only leave our homes for one of four essential reasons. For getting outside, that is stated as one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household.

social distancing graphic

Remember that's just once a day. Even when doing these activities, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are 2 metres apart from anyone outside of your household.

Using your 'one form of exercise' allocation safely

When getting outside for your one form of exercise a day, please still remember the following. You MUST only go outside alone or with the other members of your household. With travel for essential purposes only, you should stay local and consider only low risk activities. And you should not be going out if you are showing any of the COVID-19 symptoms.

Parks and commons may be busy at this time with others using their daily exercise allocation, so if possible try and find a footpath, bridleway or less popular greenspace near your house. Our Greenspace map may help you find alternatives.

Bringing the outdoors in

We'll be bringing you a whole range of exciting content over the next few weeks to keep you entertained and connected with the outdoors. From brushing up on your navigation skills to activities that kids can do in the garden, we'll be bringing the outdoors in.

So please stay safe, be responsible and use your outdoor time considerately, so that we can all hold onto this privilege.


The government announced the closure of pubs, restaurants, cafes, gyms and leisure centres on Friday, alongside tightening travel restrictions and public health advice.

We ask you that if you choose to get some fresh air outside, to please stay local, stick to familiar pathways and comply with government social distancing guidance. Do not take any unnecessary risks. If you are going to go out, you should walk, climb and cycle well within your capabilities so you are more likely to stay safe.

Further to our update below, National Trust has now closed parks and gardens, in addition to their houses, shops and cafes.


We’ve been thinking about you a lot lately – our customers, our people and our wider communities. Whilst we are striving to continue our business as normal, your health and wellbeing remain our top priority and at the heart of everything we do.

As a government organisation, we are closely following guidance and best practice to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19. But we are also fully aware that things aren’t normal right now, and as we enter this period of unknown, it is an unsettling time for us all. We continue to work closely with our warehouse to ensure the safe delivery of your orders so that wherever possible you can continue to get outside safely.

One question at the forefront of a lot of people’s mind: Is it still safe to get outside? The simple answer is – yes, but not necessarily as you are used to.

On 18 March, Prof Whitty, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer said “it is very important that children and adults take exercise, and being outside in the park is a very good thing to do” Read more here.

Social distancing measures will help reduce our social interaction between people, but please note the current advice that if you can, and do, go for a walk outdoors, then stay more than two metres from others.

So possibly one of the best ways to look after yourself during this worrying time, is to seek safe opportunities to get outside and to be active, whilst avoiding unnecessary social contact. And providing you are free of symptoms; advice is that being in the outdoors is as good a place as any.

For those of you living in more densely populated areas, practising social distancing might seem more of a challenge. But in Great Britain, we must remember that we are in the fortunate position, that no one is ever far from greenspace.

Find your nearest greenspace here

As with everything, advice and communications are coming thick and fast, and changing on a daily basis. As of Tues 17 March, The National Trust released a statement hoping to open as many of their gardens and parks for FREE.

Find your nearest National Trust land here

And whilst we hope you can continue to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, we also urge you to stick to familiar and safe areas, and not go too far off the beaten track.

For over a century we have been safely guiding the nation outside and we don’t ever underestimate the importance of this role. In these exceptional times, we will do everything we can to keep you updated, informed and safe to help you, the wider community, and in particular our most vulnerable members.

For all the latest government information on Coronavirus follow the link for the Department for Health and Social Care’s website: Department for Health and Social Care.

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