Social gatherings reduced to six as new COVID rules are announced
Main article content
Today the Prime Minister has announced that social gatherings of more than six people will be unlawful.
There is a limited list of exemptions such as in the workplace and in schools but the aim is to control the spread of the virus.
The new lower limit of six, which comes into effect on Monday, will enable police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings.
Failure to comply with an officer’s efforts to engage, explain and encourage will result in the enforcement of a £100 fine. This will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.
The Chief Constable spoke with the Prime Minister last week, in a zoom meeting with other forces, about how the rules could be clarified.
The rules will apply across England, to all ages, to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.
Chief Constable Simon Cole said: "All across the Force area we have seen people from all communities pulling together to combat this dreadful illness.
"We will continue to work with our local communities and our partners but we will enforce if people are not engaging with us and dispersing. Leicester City, the county and Rutland have done so well recently to bring the numbers of infection down but we must all do everything we can to make sure they do not rise again.”
Legal exemptions still apply to certain gatherings, for example where a household or support bubble is larger than six, where gatherings are for work or education purposes, or where parenting is being shared across multiple households.
Further exemptions will also apply, such as for weddings, funerals, and organised team sports in a Covid Secure way. The full list of exemptions will be published on gov.uk before the law changes.
The Government is also releasing a new public information campaign tomorrow to highlight how everyone can help stop the spread of the virus by remembering to wash their hands, cover their face and make space.
‘Hands. Face. Space’ will run across TV, radio, print, out of home, social and digital display advertising, with a new video being released to show exactly how coronavirus spreads indoors.
With people expected to spend more time inside during the winter, the film – produced with the help of scientific experts – encourages the public to follow simple steps to reduce the risk of infection.