LOCKDOWN restrictions have been eased in the UK after Boris Johnson introduced his new roadmap.
The Prime Minister spoke in the House of Commons on February 22 to announce the latest rules in the fight against Covid-19.
What are the new rules on households mixing?
Social gatherings of more than six people indoors and outdoors are banned in England – under the so-called rule of six.
They can be from six different households.
Support bubbles of more than six people can still gather.
In Scotland, it is not allowed to visit someone in their home, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
Those living alone will be able to form extended households, couples not living together, those who need childcare and tradespeople will be exempt from the measures.
In Northern Ireland, no households are allowed to mix indoors and no more than six people from two households can meet outdoors.
In Wales, six people are allowed indoors and 30 people outdoors.
How many households can meet outdoors?
The latest government guidelines say the only rule that people need to remember is to not participate in social gatherings of more than six people in any setting, indoors or outdoors.
The rule is regardless of households, meaning six people from different households can meet – as long as it is limited to just SIX.
Exemptions include cases where a single household or support bubble is larger than six people.
How many households can meet indoors?
Previously, people only faced fines for gathering in groups of more than 30. And they could only legally meet inside with one other household.
But that has now changed so people in England can only meet in groups of up to six people indoors or outside.
Household visits will be banned across Scotland to help bring coronavirus "back under control", the First Minister announced.
In Wales, up to 30 people from different homes can still meet outside.
It is now against the law for gatherings of more than six people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces), or in a public outdoor space, unless planned by an organisation in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance.
Participation in an illegal gathering could be subject to a £200 fine, doubling on each subsequent offence up to £3,200.
Shopping, grabbing takeaway from a restaurant, filling up at a petrol station, playing tennis, and going camping pose low infection risks, according to the list.
Other high-risk activities include attending a large religious service, working out at the gym, eating at a buffet, and attending a concert – which is still banned in the UK.
People in the UK have been advised not to shake hands and instead many people are now bumping elbows as a greeting.
Exempt gatherings are explained here.
Can I share a car with someone who is not from my household?
You are allowed to travel to meet people irrespective of distance.
You may use public transport but alternatives such as cycling, walking or driving should be considered.
This guidance applies to England.
You should take particular care if you are travelling to an area that is experiencing a local coronavirus outbreak and where local lockdown measures have been imposed – you should avoid doing so if possible.
You should not travel with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practice social distancing, for example by cycling.
The advice in Wales is similar to England's but adds the advice "stay as far apart as possible within the car and keep windows open".
In Scotland the advice is slightly different.
Scotland recommends that you should only really travel in a car with members of your own household but it also recognises that this might not always be possible.
It makes a number of recommendations:
- share the transport with the same people each time
- keep to small groups of people at any one time
- maintain good ventilation by keeping the car windows open if possible
- ask everyone to wear face-coverings
- clean your hands before and after your journey
- if the vehicle is your responsibility, clean the door handles and other areas that people touch.
How many people can attend a funeral?
You can meet in larger groups for funerals, religious ceremonies and services, community activities and support groups – which should be limited to no more than 30 people and subject to Covid-19 secure guidelines.
Activities in the moderate-high risk category are hugging or shaking hands with a friend, catching a flight, attending a wedding or funeral, or getting your hair done.
It is otherwise against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes, which includes gardens and other outdoor spaces.
There are a number of guidelines also in place if you are meeting up with a large group of people.
In Scotland, up to 20 people will be able to attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals -a more stringent rule than Wales and England.
The government recommends:
- limit the time you spend interacting with people from outside your household or support bubble to the activity which you are partaking in
- limit the number of different activities which you partake in succession to reduce the potential chain of transmission
- group size should be limited to the minimum which allows the activity to take place
- maintain high standards of hand hygiene
- if organising an activity, you should carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment to identify actions which could minimise the risk of transmission. Employers have a legal responsibility to protect workers and others from risk to their health and safety.
- you are also strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in other enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet
What are the fines if I break the rule of 6?
The penalty for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for a first offence up until £3,200, from Thursday, September 24.
Businesses who break the mask regulations and rule of six will be fined £10,000 or closed down.
Fines of up to £10,000 for those who fail to self-isolate have already been introduced.
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