UK: Coming into force Monday 14 September, social gatherings of more than six people in England are now banned by law following anxiety over the sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
As of next week, a £100 fine can be issued by the police to those groups which exceed the limit, which can reach a maximum fine of £3,200 for repeat offenders.
The rules apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors within private homes and public spaces, including pubs and restaurants. Some exemptions such as households bigger than six can socialise together, though they cannot mix with anyone else at the same time.
The new law will not apply to schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce further details of the changes later today.
The legislation marks a change to the current lockdown guidance in the UK, where at present two households of any size are allowed to meet indoors or outdoors, or up to six people from different households outdoors.
It was against the law for group sizes of more than 30 people to gather in private homes and public spaces, until now.
It is noted that pubs and restaurants would still be allowed to have more than six customers inside, although groups of six would need to remain socially distant from one another.
Further limitations to the lockdown measures could spell disaster for those hospitality businesses already badly affected. Earlier this week, venues in Bolton, Greater Manchester, were forced to close except for take-outs with immediate effect due to a “significant rise” in the number of confirmed positive Covid cases.
It is now a legal requirement for pubs, restaurants, and other hospitality venues in England to record customers’ details and store them for 21 days as part of the NHS test and trace scheme.