Boris Johnson’s ‘Rule of Six’ officially comes into force today (14 September) – meaning members of the public are only permitted to socialise in groups of half-a-dozen max.
The curbs on mass gatherings have been introduced as part of the government’s recent efforts to arrest the rise of coronavirus cases in the UK – with the country now recording over 3,000 positive tests per day.
The Rule of Six is set to be enforceable by law; applying in any setting, whether that’s “indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub.”
Those who do not follow the rules could face a “criminal record“.
Police have powers to issue fixed penalty notices of £100 for breaches, doubling for further breaches up to £3,200.
Those found guilty of organising mass gatherings of 30 people or more are liable for fines of up to £10,000.
Socialising restrictions remain even tighter in the ‘high-risk’ area of Greater Manchester.
Anyone living in one of the local boroughs (except for Stockport and Wigan) should avoid mixing with other households in any setting.
In Bolton – which has more coronavirus cases than any other part of the country – businesses and venues must close from 10pm to 5am each day, whilst the hospitality sector can only operate takeout services.
Casinos, skating rinks and bowling alleys – which opened last month in other parts of Greater Manchester – remain closed.
The government has also listed a number of exceptions to the Rule of Six.
- Where everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
- Work, and voluntary or charitable services
- Education, training, or registered childcare
- Fulfilling legal obligations such as attending court or jury service
- Providing emergency assistance, or providing support to a vulnerable person
- For you or someone else to avoid illness, injury or harm
- Participate in children’s playgroups
- Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, or for other religious life-cycle ceremonies – where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- Funerals – where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- Organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes (see the list of recreational team sports, outdoor sport and exercise allowed under the gyms and leisure centre guidance
- Youth groups or activities
- Elite sporting competition or training
- Protests and political activities organised in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments.
Holidaying is still permitted, provided you go with the people in your household/bubble and the group is no larger than six.
Restaurants and pubs not currently under local lockdown rules can continue to welcome patrons; but those who attend should not do so in groups of more than six.
For a full list of exemptions, visit the government website.