The legal limit for social gatherings in the UK will be reduced down to six from Monday in the biggest coronavirus crackdown since lockdown rules were eased.
A BAN on groups of more than six people gathering in homes, parks, pubs and restaurants in England will be introduced on Monday by Boris Johnson in the biggest coronavirus crackdown since lockdown rules were eased. The new rules are aimed at stopping a second coronavirus wave.
Birthday parties, dinner guests, and other large social gatherings at home are again off the agenda – although the government is still encouraging people to go out and spend money in shops and restaurants. Boris Johnson will unveil the regulations on Wednesday following news that new cases are now rising at a rate of nearly 3,000 a day, up from about 1,000 a day for most of August.
Exemptions include schools, workplaces, Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports. The rules will come into effect on Monday, September 14. Police will be given increased powers to enforce the rules. Anyone caught breaking the new restrictions from Monday will be fined €120 (£100), which will then double on each further repeat offence up to €3,580 (£3,200). The Prime Minister is set to officially announce the new restrictions at a Downing Street news conference.
This new drastic move comes after alarming figures revealed there were almost 2,500 new cases in the UK yesterday – following two straight days of 3,000 new infections. The numbers were the highest since May and took the overall total of confirmed coronavirus cases in the UK to 350,000-plus. The number of Covid-related deaths in the UK also hit 32 yesterday – the highest for weeks.
John Edmunds, a member of the government’s SAGE advisory board, warned action must be immediately, he said: “The epidemic continues to increase and then we have Christmas. And that is very difficult. What is Christmas? Well, it’s meeting with your family very close. Restaurants and pubs and stuff like that. It’s all high risk. And it’s all indoors.”
He said the R rate was above one and the UK was in a “risky period.”