UK Politics

New restrictions on socialising from today: What you need to know


New rules banning social gatherings of more than six people have been introduced across England, Scotland and Wales in a bid to curb the rise in coronavirus cases.

Downing Street sources say putting the new, lower limit on social gatherings in law will make it easier for the police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings.

People face fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the "rule of six".

But what are the new restrictions, what happens if you break them and how do they differ across the nations?

Sky News answers the key questions.


PM lays out the new restrictions

What are the rules on social gatherings?

• From Monday 14 September, gatherings of more than six people are illegal, unless it meets one of a limited list of exemptions

• This applies to gatherings both indoors and outdoors in England and Scotland, and indoors in Wales

• It applies to all ages in England and everyone except children under the age of 11 in Wales and under 12 in Scotland

• In Northern Ireland, six people from two different households can meet indoors and groups of up to 15 people outdoors – but localised restrictions have been introduced in Belfast and Ballymena

• Social premises and venues, including pubs and restaurants, are now legally required to request test and trace information from customers and keep the details for 21 days

Who's exempt?

• Households or support bubbles of more than six people can still gather

• Groups of more than six people are allowed for work or education

• Places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality settings can still hold more than six people in total

• Weddings and funerals are also exempt, with up to 30 people allowed to attend them in England and Wales and 20 people in Scotland

• Organised team sports carried out in a "COVID-secure way" can have more than six people

What happens if you break the rules?

Anyone who breaks the rules on social gatherings will be fined £100, with the penalty doubling on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.

"COVID-secure marshals" will enforce social distancing rules in town and city centres, the prime minister has said.

Border Force are also stepping up the enforcement of quarantine rules for travellers into the country, Boris Johnson added.

The Police Federation has urged the government to "play its part", saying: "With so many changes in legislation, an effective public information campaign must be a priority as there's been so much confusion for the public and many people don't know exactly what the law says.

"We would urge the public to do the right thing and comply with the new rules, to help protect each other and prevent the further spread of this deadly virus."

Health Secretary Matt Hancock on #KayBurley
'Abiding by the rules is absolutely vital'

Why are the new rules being introduced?

According to cabinet ministers, England's chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty and chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance have jointly agreed that urgent action is necessary after seeing the number of daily positive cases rise significantly.

They UK figure hit a near four-month high of 3,539 on 11 September.

England's deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, has warned of a "bumpy ride over the next few months" unless the virus is taken "incredibly seriously".

The new rules follow a Zoom roundtable the prime minister hadRead More – Source