The number of people allowed to meet socially is being reduced from 30 to six in England, amid a rise in coronavirus cases.
What do the new rules mean and how will they be enforced?
What are the new rules on socialising?
The new limit of six people will apply to social gatherings from Monday.
It will apply both indoors and outdoors, and to all ages.
So, meeting up socially in private homes, venues like pubs and restaurants, and in outdoor spaces like parks will all be affected.
At present, the rules allow up to 30 people from two households, or six from multiple households, to meet outdoors.
Current guidance says you should only socialise indoors with members of up to two households.
Can I be fined for breaking the rules?
The new measures will mean groups larger than six can be broken up by police.
Members of the group can be fined if they fail to follow the rules. This will be £100 for a first offence, doubling on each further offence up to £3,200.
The government says: “Putting the new, lower limit in law will make it easier for the police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings.”
Will any social events of more than six be allowed?
Some gatherings of more than six people will be allowed, for example:
- If your household or support bubble is larger than six
- Where gatherings are for work or education purposes
- Weddings and funerals
- Team sports organised in a way limiting the spread of coronavirus
A full list will be published before the law changes on Monday.
What are the rules and guidance in other parts of the UK?
If you are meeting outside, the number of people who can gather varies:
- In Scotland, up to 15 people from five different households can meet outdoors
- In Wales, up to 30 people are allowed to see each other outdoors
- In Northern Ireland, the maximum number of people who can meet outdoors has been reduced from 30 to 15
There are also different rules for meetings indoors – at your home, or a venue like a pub:
- In Scotland, up to eight people from three different households
- In Northern Ireland, up to six people from two households
- In Wales, up to four households can form an “extended household”
What is the guidance on social distancing?
Each UK nation is advising people to stay 2m (6ft) away from anyone they don’t live with. However, there are some differences:
- In England, if it’s not possible to be 2m away, you can stay “1m plus” apart. The “plus” means doing something else to limit your possible exposure – like wearing a face covering
- In Scotland, there are exemptions to the 2m rule in some places – such as pubs and restaurants. Children aged 11 or under do not need to social distance
- In Wales, the 2m guidance reflects the fact it’s not realistic to stay that far apart somewhere like a hairdresser’s. Primary age children in Wales are also exempt
- Northern Ireland‘s guidance was 1m (3ft) for a time, but is now back at 2m
What about shopping or public transport?
Face coverings are compulsory if you are using public transport across the UK.
Some people are exempt, such as those with certain medical conditions.
Coverings must be worn in shops in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland – but not Wales.
Shop workers are exempt.
What if I get symptoms?
The symptoms are:
- new continuous cough
- high temperature
- loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
If your test is positive, you must complete the remainder of your 10-day self-isolation. Anyone you live with should self isolate for 14 days (from the time you started having symptoms).
Contact tracers will also get in touch with people with positive results.
What are the rules in local lockdown areas?
There are several local hotspots which have seen recent spikes in cases.
Public Health England produces a weekly watchlist of areas of concern.
Do I have to social distance myself from everyone?
The only people you do not have to distance yourself from are those you live with or, if you are in England, Scotland or Northern Ireland, people in your support bubble.
Single adults living alone or single parents with children under 18 can “bubble” with one other household of any size with no social distancing.
In Wales, you do not have to social distance if you are in an “extended household”.