Gatherings of more than six are to be banned in an attempt to halt a second wave of coronavirus. From Monday 14th September it will be illegal to assemble in groups of seven or more anywhere in England, whether indoors or out.
Police will be told to break up larger groups and issue £100 fines, which will then double on each repeat offence up to £3,200.
This ‘rule of six’ is a dramatic reduction on the limit of 30 put in place on 4th July. This regulation will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors – including private homes, as well as parks, pubs and restaurants.
Gatherings of more than six people will be allowed where the household or support bubble is larger than six, or where the gathering is for work or education purposes.
Exemptions will also apply for weddings, funerals and organised team sports in a Covid-secure way.
Announcing the new restrictions, Mr Johnson said: ‘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.’
- These restrictions will alarm many who are urging the Government to press ahead with the reopening of society to avoid economic meltdown. Andrew Lloyd Webber warned the arts were financially at a ‘point of no return’ But a Government source last night insisted the rule of six was needed to head off the danger of a wider lockdown.
The Prime Minister will announce these strict measures at a press conference this afternoon, when he will be joined by Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
A new all-media public information campaign ‘Hands, Face, Space’ will follow the announcement, highlighting how everyone can help stop the spread of the virus by remembering to wash their hands, cover their face and make space.
And looking ahead, it has been suggested in some papers this morning that Britain could be subjected to a nationwide curfew with businesses forced to shut from 10 p.m. – similar to restrictions imposed in Belgium.