The legal limit for gatherings will be reduced from 30 in the prime minister’s biggest coronavirus crackdown since lockdown rules were eased
A ban on gatherings of groups of over six people within homes, parks, pubs and restaurants throughout England is being imposed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the biggest COVID-19 crackdown since the nation-wide lockdown rules were eased.
First offenders will get a fine of £100, which would double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200, Boris Johnson will announce in a bid to stem an alarming surge in coronavirus cases in the UK.
This comes after people who live in Bolton will not be permitted to socialise with those from other households after lockdown restrictions have been tightened in the town, The health secretary stated that the rise in coronavirus cases in Bolton is “partly due to socialising by people in their 20s and 30s”.
“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading,” Mr Johnson will declare at a Downing Street news conference, coinciding with a new government advertising campaign entitled “Hands. Face. Space.”.
“So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact, making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce,” the PM will announce.
“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.”
- From next Monday, any gathering of more than six people in England will be illegal, unless it meets one of a limited list of exemptions
- This applies to gatherings both indoors and outdoors
- The new rule does not apply to households or bubbles of more than six, or gatherings for work or education
- Weddings, funerals, and organised team sports carried out in a COVID-secure way are also exempt
- People will at first be fined £100, but this will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200
This comes after people across the UK have been unable to get tests for COVID-19 because laboratories have reached a “critical pinch-point” in processing them. The director of COVID-19 testing at NHS Test and Trace, Sarah-Jane Marsh, has apologised for the unavailability of tests.
Pubs, restaurants and other businesses in the hospitality sector will also be required to collect the details of their customers in order to aid with contact tracing, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said, instead of this just being a voluntary precaution.
This new crackdown comes after the government has been warned by medical chiefs that the public, particularly young people, are now too relaxed about COVID-19, with the result that coronavirus rates in the country are now above 20 cases per 100,000 people.
The Prime Minister’s announcement follows Matt Hancock, the UK’s Health Secretary, imposing a ban on socialising with anyone from other households in Bolton, with restaurants in the town limiting the serving of takeaway meals and the town imposing a 10pm-5am curfew on all dining establishments.
Ahead of the Health Secretary’s announcement over the local lockdown in Bolton, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer, warned of a potentially “bumpy ride over the next few months” unless the coronavirus was taken “incredibly seriously”.