SOCIAL gatherings of more than six people are to be banned from Monday in the latest coronavirus clampdown.
Boris Johnson is expected to announce the latest round of restrictions in his first No10 press conference since July.
The number of Covid-19 cases in the UK has soared in recent weeks as the pandemic lockdown was eased.
Alarming figures revealed there were almost 2,500 new cases in the UK yesterday — following two straight days of 3,000 new infections.
People who break the rules – which apply to gatherings inside and outside – can be fined £100, which will double for each repeat offence up to £3,200.
It comes after police demanded greater powers to fine young Covid flouters — and ahead of tens of thousands returning to university next week.
A rise in the number of illegal raves taking place is also a cause for concern, as nightclubs remain closed to help stop the spread of the virus.
The Prime Minister is expected to say that the changes will make it simpler for the public to understand.
It’s believed the government will release more details of exactly how the restrictions will work later today.
For now, we take you through what we know so far.
Will I be able to go to the pub with more than six friends?
The ban on gatherings of more than six people indoors and outdoors is likely to apply at home and in public.
There are no plans to close pubs and restaurants again so you will still be able to tuck into a meal out.
But establishments will be restricting the number of people sat around the same table to the six-person cap.
If you want to go to the pub with more than six pals, the group will be split and treated separately.
They will be seated at different tables, which will need to be at least two metres apart, or one metre with extra precautions.
Many pubs and restaurants have already put in place their own rules, such as limiting the size of groups, even though it’s not a legal requirement.
Business owners have the right to refuse to serve customers who break their rules but it is not something all pubs have to enforce.
This morning, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that it will be compulsory for pubs and restaurants to take punters’ details for track and trace.
At the moment, recording punters’ contact details is a voluntary measure but there are fears that some aren’t bothering at all.
“We are going to be tightening the rules,” Mr Hancock said.
What happens if I break the rules?
People caught flouting the rules will be slapped with a £100 fine each, which can be doubled for each recurring offence, up to £3,200.
For example, if you’re found to be breaking the regulations for a second time the fine will be £200.
If police catch you out a third time, the fine could be up to £400.
Organisers of illegal raves face a £10,000 fine, which was brought into force in mid-August.
Will there be any exemptions?
Large families and support bubbles will be exempt from the new regulations, as will gatherings of more than six for work or education purposes.
Weddings, funerals and organised sports teams will still be able to go ahead from Monday, as long as they are Covid-secure.
Social distancing must be observed and they will continue to be limited to 30 attendees.
For weddings, this includes officials and staff, while small receptions of the same size can be held at a Covid-secure venue.
Funeral services must be held outdoors if 30 people are to attend, otherwise it’s restricted to two households for indoor ceremonies.
Organised team sport is expected to also be given the green light but it’s not clear what rules participants will be expected to follow.
We’ll let you know when further details are released.
What are the current rules on groups meeting?
Current coronavirus guidelines mean that people should not meet with more than one other household inside.
This isn’t strictly enforced though and isn’t the law.
Instead the law states that that no more than 30 people should gather in one place – and people can only be fined if they exceed that.
Families can meet in larger groups if they have formed a support bubble.
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