Baffling new Northern lockdown rules mean couples who don’t live together can have sex in a hotel but not in their homes


BAFFLING new Northern lockdown rules mean couples who do not live together can have sex in a hotel, campsite or B&B but not in their homes, gardens, sheds or houseboats.

Emergency coronavirus restrictions imposed on the region last week were signed into law yesterday — banning 4.5 million people from going to each other’s homes.

A sign highlighting the dangers of coronavirus in Manchester, where new lockdown rules have been imposed

New rules mean couples who do not live together can have sex in a hotel, campsite or B&B but not in their homes

All amateur football matches have been banned after new restrictions were signed into law yesterday

Pubs, like this one in Manchester, can remain open but more than one household cannot meet for a drink

They also mean all amateur football matches, five-a-sides and even training sessions are banned.

The confusing new rules have been greeted with disbelief.

Harry Price, 32, a customer service worker from Altrincham, Greater Manchester, said: “This is yet more madness.

“I’m not allowed to have my girlfriend stay over but I can book in with her in a hotel where I’ll bump into dozens of strangers.

“It will be good business for the hotels but it is completely baffling.

“I can go to the pub but I can’t go to a friend’s house.

“These rules don’t make any sense, I don’t know how they expect us to follow them.

A man passes an illustration of a virus outside a regional science centre in Oldham, where new restrictions have been imposed

“Technically I can still jet off on holiday but I’ll be fined £100 if I set foot in my mum’s garden.”

Ministers say the new restrictions could be applied to any part of England where the virus soars.

Yesterday’s official figures showed the average daily number of infections has topped 800 for the first time in a month.

From midnight last night, anyone found flouting the new rules in the restricted areas could be fined £100 and up to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences.

Police have been given the legal right to use force to break up gatherings.

The only exemptions to the ban is for any two households who have linked to form a “support bubble”.

New rules applicable to Manchester, pictured, state that people must not meet anyone from another household in their house

On Saturday pub football sides along with kids’ and five-a-side teams played their first games in four months after the Football Association gave the go-ahead.

But last night several councils in Lancashire and Greater Manchester wrote to amateur clubs banning “all football activity” on council-owned land. It is understood to include kickabouts in the park.

The rules announced by Health Secretary Matt Hancock are called The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions on Gatherings) (North of England) Regulations.

They state people must not meet:

  • ANYONE from another household in their house or private garden;
  • ANYWHERE in public in groups of more than 30;
  • ANYONE from a different household outside of the lockdown zone.

The regulations say: “No person may participate in a gathering in the protected area which consists of two or more persons and takes place in a private dwelling, including a houseboat.”

It adds: “There is a ‘gathering’ when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction, or to undertake any other activity with each other.”



Human rights barrister Adam Wagner said it was a “crazy time” when “criminal law is this intrusive on private rights”.

The restrictions will be in place until at least August 19 when there will be a review. Similar restrictions also apply to Leicester which saw the first local lockdown on June 29.

Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders said: “All we have asked for from Government is clear and consistent messaging but what we get is confusion, inconsistency and mixed messages.”

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