What are the new rules on social gatherings in England?

From Monday, social gatherings will be limited to just six people Credit: PA Media

The number of people that can attend social gatherings will be reduced to six in England following a rise in coronavirus cases across the UK.

What are the new rules?

From Monday, gatherings of more than six people either inside or outside will be illegal.

Currently, the lawful limit on gatherings outside is 30 people.

Why are they being introduced?

Sir Patrick Vallance, Government chief scientific adviser Credit: House of Commons

The chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, and chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, have agreed that the action is needed urgently after the number of positive cases rose steeply.

In a Zoom meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, police forces said they would like rules on social contact to be simplified.

Where will they apply to?

The rules will apply across England to all ages and to indoor and outdoor gatherings.

This will include private homes, parks, pubs and restaurants and they will be applied to all ages.

You will still be allowed to visit restaurants, bars, pubs, cafes or in private homes as a group of six.

Will there be any exemptions?

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

There will be a few scenarios where the restrictions do not apply, such as if your household or support bubble is larger than six people, or if you are gathering in a large group for the sake of work or education.

Weddings, funerals and organised team sports will also be exempt if they are conducted in a Covid-secure way.

What will the punishments be for breaking the rules?

The Government hope the new rules will make it easier for the police to break up large gatherings.

Failure to stick to the new rules could mean a £100 fine, which will double with every subsequent offence up to £3,200.

What does the Prime Minister say?

The Prime Minister will officially announce the new rules at a press conference on Wednesday.

Boris Johnson is expected to then tell the public: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”