People with autism and learning disabilities may now go out for exercise up to three times a day. The government has changed the outdoor exercise rules after being threatened with court action over claims that the one-trip-out-a-day limit disproportionately affected adults and children with disabilities.

Autistic people often need to go to quieter places, away from other people, even if these are further from home. Revised guidelines explain that travel should still be limited, as close to your local area as possible, and that individuals should remain at least two metres from others who are not members of their household or carers.

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “All officers receive diversity training as a matter of course to ensure they are able to recognise, interact and support those who may have learning difficulties or mental ill health. Officers have been briefed on the government guidance and exceptions. They will adopt the same approach as they would regardless of Covid-19, using their training to engage with individuals and seek to understand their individual circumstances.”

“Probably best to take PIP (personal independence payment) paperwork with you,” advised a post on an online forum. A HIP writer whose son is on the autism spectrum added: “He’s effectively been training for social isolation over many years: lockdown is his default mode. Easily socially overwhelmed, he needs to walk in remote parts of the countryside.”

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