Boris Johnson has announced new restrictions on people meeting socially in England, with groups of more than six banned as of Monday 14 September.
The prime minister said the new rules were being introduced to combat the rising number of coronavirus cases and prevent another “wholesale national lockdown”.
“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading,” Mr Johnson said during a press briefing on Wednesday.
“So, we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.”
Under the new legislation, it is now illegal for people to gather in groups of more than six, with flouters facing fines of £100, which will double each time up to £3,200 for repeat offenders.
However, the prime minister said there are “some limited exemptions” to the new restrictions.
So, who doesn’t the “rule of six” apply to? Here is everything you need to know.
Large families and support bubbles
Households and support bubbles of more than six people are exempt from the new rules.
“Where everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents,” the updated guidelines state.
A support bubble is a small circle of people with whom you can socialise exclusively. The concept allows adults who live alone and single parents with children under 18 to join up with one other household so they can visit each other’s homes, stay the night and travel together in vehicles.
The government has clarified that weddings will still be permitted to go ahead, with ceremonies and receptions of up to 30 people.
However, Mr Johnson has made clear that any weddings must be conducted in a Covid-secure way and that guests form different households will have to adhere to social distancing rules.
You can read more about the latest rules on weddings here.
Funerals with up to 30 people in attendance are still allowed to take place.
The government said that the guidance has been developed to ensure that “bereaved people are treated with sensitivity, dignity and respect” and so that “mourners and workers involved in the management of funerals are protected from avoidable risk of infection.”
In March, the government faced criticism after it updated its coronavirus guidelines to limit the number of people allowed to attend funerals to groups of between 5 and 10.
We are simplifying the rules in England to control the virus - making them easier for you to understand and for the police to enforce.— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 9, 2020
From Monday 14th September, you cannot have social gatherings of more than 6 people. pic.twitter.com/hBLaZeAtUC
Schools and workplaces
Schools and workplaces will continue to operate under existing Covid-secure guidelines.
The guidelines state that exemptions include work, voluntary and charitable services, registered childcare and education or training.
During the press briefing, Mr Johnson added that plans for universities to reopen later this month remained unchanged.
Pubs and restaurants
While pubs and restaurants are allowed to stay open, groups will be limited to six. So although there will be more than six people in the pub in total, you can only visit with a group of six, including yourself.
Customers will also now be legally required to supply venues with their Test and Trace information.
Places of worship
Places of worship, including churches, synagogues, mosques and temples will stay open, but congregations will be required to adhere to social distancing rules.
The government states that places of worship play “an important role in providing spiritual leadership for many individuals, and in bringing communities and generations together”. However, it also recognises that their communal nature makes them places that are “particularly vulnerable to the spread of coronavirus”.
Mr Johnson has confirmed that organised indoor and outdoor sport, including physical activity and exercise classes will still be allowed to take place under the new rules.
However, he added that plans to open stadiums in October would be reviewed.
“At the present time, I’m afraid we must also revise plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month and review our intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from the 1st of October,” he said.
“That doesn’t mean we’re going to scrap the programme entirely, we just have to review it and abridge it.”