You Could Be Fined Up To £3,200 For Having Dinner With Friends And Family From Monday
Social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal in England from Monday, enforced through a £100 fine for people failing to comply.
Repeat offenders beware - the fine will double each time a person is caught breaking the new law, up to a maximum of £3,200.
Amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give further details of the changes at a Downing Street news conference later today, however the new rules - which will come into force on 14th September - are expected to apply everywhere except in schools, workplaces or Covid-secure weddings, funerals and organised team sports.
Until now, police have been unable to stop gatherings unless they exceeded 30 people, with current guidance saying two households of any size are allowed to meet indoors or outdoors, or up to six people from different households can get together outside.
However, the new law means that groups of friends and family of six or more will no longer be able to gather in the park, pub or at home, or in the garden without risking a hefty fine.
There are some exceptions to the rules though, with households and support bubbles bigger than six allowed to socialise together - but not with anyone else at the same time.
In his first reversal of the easing of national lockdown, Boris Johnson last night warned a surge in cases must not be allowed to get out of control, saying: "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.
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"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."
Speaking to Sky News, Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: "Abiding by these rules is absolutely vital to protect life. We've seen the increase in the number of cases sadly in the last few days. We've seen that across Europe there's a second wave that many countries have experienced.
"Some of those countries have then got that second wave under control. If you look at what's happened in Belgium they saw an increase and then they've brought it down, whereas in France and Spain that just hasn't happened.
"On the question of the Northern Ireland Protocol the Government has a number of international obligations and the primary amongst those in this context is about protecting the peace process.
"In the case of coronavirus everybody understands how important it is that we together keep this under control, we can't do it individually because of the nature of the disease.
With a second wave potentially imminent, we would say this is pretty sound advice!
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