A list of instances in which group gathering is permitted under national lockdown regulations in England has been released by the UK government.
The government has confirmed the exemptions in official published legislation.
The legislation comes ahead of the four-week national lockdown in England – announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in a direct address to MPs in the House of Commons last Saturday evening – which is due to be voted on in Parliament today and will take effect from 0.01 GMT on Thursday 5th November.
Under the new restrictions, mixing with people outside of your household / support bubble both indoors and outdoors in private dwellings is not permitted.
However, just like with the first national lockdown, members of the public are still allowed to leave their homes to visit essential services and to partake in exercise, and you can also visit outdoor public places with the people you live with, your support bubble, or one person from another household.
Outside of these circumstances, gatherings are not permitted.
The published legislation defines a gathering as two or more people are present together in the same place and explicitly states that nobody should participate in a gathering indoors and in an outdoor public space – including any outdoor part of a private dwelling – except for under certain circumstances.
But, which circumstances fall under this exemption?
According to the UK government, gatherings are permitted during the four-week national lockdown in/for the following circumstances:
- Same or Linked Households: Where all the people in the gathering are members of the same household, or are members of two households which are linked households in relation to each other.
- Gatherings Necessary for Certain Purposes: These include for work, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services, for education or training, to provide emergency assistance, to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm, to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person, or to facilitate a house move.
- Legal Obligations and Proceedings.
- Criminal Justice Accommodation.
- Support Groups: This is as long as it is a support group that consists of no more than 15 people, takes place at premises other than a private dwelling, and is reasonably necessary for members of the group to be physically present at the gathering
- Respite Care: This applies if the respite care is being provided for a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break being provided in respect of a looked after child.
- Births and Visiting Persons Receiving Treatment: If you are attending a person giving birth at their request, visiting a person receiving treatment in a hospital or staying in a hospice or care home, or accompanying the person to a medical appointment if they are a member of the person’s household, a close family member, or a friend.
- Marriages and Civil Partnerships.
- Visiting a Dying Person.
- Commemorative Event Following a Person’s Death: This includes the scattering of ashes or a stone setting ceremony, but should not include more than 15 people and must take place at premises other than a private dwelling.
- Elite Sports: The person concerned is an elite sportsperson, the coach of an elite sportsperson or (in the case of an elite sportsperson who is a child) the parent of an elite sportsperson, and the gathering is necessary for training or competition.
- Children: For the purposes of arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and a child where the child does not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents, arrangements for contact between siblings where they do not live in the same household and one or more of them is looked after by a local authority, for the purposes of arrangements for prospective adopters, childcare or supervised activities for children and for the purposes of informal childcare, for children aged 13 or under, provided by a member of a household to a member of their linked childcare household.
- Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day: Gatherings in this instance should take place outdoors in a place which is not a private dwelling to commemorate Remembrance Sunday, or in Westminster Abbey on 11th November.
You can read the legislation document in full here.
For the latest information, guidance and support during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in the UK, please do refer to official sources at gov.uk/coronavirus.