Ban on gatherings of more than six people due to come into force on Monday


A government announcement has confirmed gatherings of more than six people in homes, parks, pubs and restaurants will be banned from Monday (September 14).

The move has been prompted by a rise in cases over recent days of almost 3,000 new positive tests on Sunday. At the height of the pandemic there were around 6,000 new cases each day. In July this dropped to below 1,000. However there has also been a hike in testing with mobile testing sites and home kits. The rise in positive tests is not mirrored by a rise in people needing hospital admission or a rise in covid-attributed deaths.

The guidance in England currently says two households can meet indoors. Outdoors up to six people from different households can meet – or up to 30 people from two households.

But the new rules mean the maximum number of people gathering will be six although exemptions apply for work, education, weddings, funerals, and organised team sports as well as households or bubbles that have more than six people.

COVID Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than 6 people in total. Within those venues however, there must not be individual groups larger than 6, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.

A £100 fine will be imposed for a first ‘offence’ which will double on each repeat offence up to £3,200,

Until now the police have had no powers to stop gatherings unless they exceeded 30. The new law, coming into force on Monday (September 14), is aimed at tightening the rules.

A “Hands, face, space,” campaign will also launch.

The government says the rise in Covid-19 rates is especially prevalent among people aged 17- 29.

The briefing is expected to be made at around 5pm today.

New rules

From next Monday, any gathering of more than six people in England will be illegal, unless it meets one of the exemptions

The rule is for groups both indoors and outdoors

People will at first be fined £100, but this will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200

The list of exemptions will be announced before the law changes on Monday.

Premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required.

Local authorities will be supported to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.

Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.

The enforcement capacity of local authorities will be boosted by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.

The Passenger Locator Form needed for travelling to the UK will be simplified, and take measures to ensure these are completed and checked before departure.

Border Force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure arrivals are complying with the quarantine rules.

The government will also restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in some local areas.