Coronavirus rule changes: What you can and can't do in England from tomorrow


A swathe of new coronavirus restrictions are coming into force after Boris Johnson warned the country faced a “perilous turning point” in its battle with the virus.

From 10pm closing times for pubs and bars, to stricter rules on masks, the rules are getting tougher again as infections spiral.

The Prime Minister moved to clamp down on daily life once again after the UK’s alert level was escalated from 3 to 4, meaning the virus was spreading rapidly again.

On Thursday, 6,634 coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK – the highest-single day total since the start of the pandemic.

In a sombre TV address on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told the nation to obey the rules or risk stricter lockdown measures.

Boris Johnson set out a string of new rules in Parliament last week

Here are the new rules you need to follow in England.

New restrictions coming into force on Monday, September 28

Fewer guests can attend weddings

Brides and grooms will be restricted to only 15 guests as the maximum number of people at ceremonies was slashed.

Weddings of up to 30 people were allowed again in July after couples were forced to postpone their nuptials in March.

The guidance says ceremonies and receptions with 15 guests must take place in Covid secure venues.

They are banned from happening in a private house or garden – where only up to 6 people are permitted to gather under “rule of six” laws.

Tighter restrictions have been imposed on the numbers of guests at weddings

The 15-person limit includes the couple, witnesses and guests but people working, such as a priest or a celebrant are not included.

Singing, chanting and playing of instruments can be done by performers but not the congregation.

Dancing is not allowed.

Funerals can go ahead with 30 mourners

Funeral are exempt from the new guidance, with 30 guests allowed to attend.

Mourners should follow social distancing guidelines and rules around singing and chanting apply.

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But christenings must be reduced to six people

The new rules limit christenings and baptisms to only six people – including the baby.

The difference between this figure and the larger limit on funerals is understood to be to accommodate certain religious concerns.

People who fail to self isolate face massive fines

People who flout orders to self-isolate face penalties of up to £10,000.

The new legal duty applies if you test positive for coronavirus or are ordered to isolate by test and trace teams due to coming into close contact with an infection person.

Holidaymakers who disobey 14-day quarantine rules will also face £10,000 fines.

Fines will start at £1,000 rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders and the most blatant rule breakers.

Businesses who break Covid rules also face £10,000 fines

These will now also apply to businesses breaking Covid- rules.

Hospitality venues are legally required to collect track and trace data from customers.

If staff do not enforce social distancing rules or allow groups of larger than six then they can also be fined.

Local councils have been handed powers to close venues that are flagrantly breaching the rules.

People who do not obey self-isolation rules face bigger fines

Cinemas and tourism also face curfews

New 10pm closing times for hospitality also apply to leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses such as casinos and bingo halls from Monday.

However theatres and cinemas will be exempt if their performances run past 10pm.

Rules in force since Thursday, September 24

Pubs and restaurants are being forced to close at 10pm

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England are now required to close by 10pm to prevent alcohol-fuelled breaches of social distancing.

The hospitality sector will be restricted to table service by law.

Table bookings of more than six will not be allowed and people cannot mingle. This applies indoors and outdoors – meaning no crowds drinking outside pubs.

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The hospitality industry says it could devastate already struggling pubs and questioned whether people would drink up before 10pm then continue to booze at their friends’ houses.

New curfews have been imposed on pubs and restaurants

It also includes takeaways but only if you are going into a kebab shop or restaurant in person.

Deliveries can continue outside the hours of 10pm-5am.

Retail and pub staff have to wear face coverings

Staff and customers at all indoor hospitality venues – such as pubs and restaurants – have been be ordered to wear masks by law.

Punters can remove their face coverings when they are sat at a table to eat or drink.

Masks are also needed in cabs

Face coverings are also mandatory for passengers in taxis and private hire cars.

Tougher penalties for people flouting mask rules

The fine for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for a first offence.

Police will be able to draw on support from the army

Mr Johnson said he will not hesitate to use the army to help free up police time to enforce Covid-19 rules.

But the PM’s spokesman clarified that the military will only assist the police with guarding duties and office roles, so officers can to be on the streets.

People told to work from home ‘if you can’

The Government has u-turned on its drive to get millions of people back to the workplace.

Office workers who can work from home are now being told to do so.

Key workers should continue to go to work and people in vital public sector roles such as workers processing passport and driving licence applications should continue to go to work in a Covid-secure way.

People who can work from home are being advised to do so

Employees in industries such as construction and retail should continue to come into work.

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Bosses must discuss the move with workers if they are concerned about returning to work.

These new rules are not a change that’s being put into law.

Indoor 5-a-side football banned

The “rule of six” will be extended to apply to all adult indoor team sports, such as 5-a-side football games.

Mr Johnson said the time had come to “tighten up” the rules banning gatherings of more than six people.

That suggests gym exercise classes may still be exempt.

Children’s sport is still allowed and larger groups can play outside if in formal leagues.

Plans to bring back live sport for spectators from October 1 have also been shelved.

Amateur performing arts and choirs will no longer be exempt from the rules, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed.

Five-a-side football is no longer allowed indoors

But you can still meet your parents

You can still meet your family and friends as long as you obey the “rule of six”.

Gatherings of multiple households are allowed indoors and outdoors – as long as there are no more than six people.

Unless, of course, you are one of the 13.7million people living under a local lockdown including in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool – in which case, meeting people from other households is more or less banned.

Household bubbles are exempt from the rules, as are grandparents and childminders who are caring for children under 14.

Young children are counted under the rules in England – despite exemptions in Scotland and Wales for children under 12 and 11 respectively.

How long will the new rules last for?

Boris Johnson has made it clear that further restrictions may be necessary if infections continue to rise

The Prime Minister issued a gloomy message that these measures could be in place for up to six months unless significant progress is made in finding a coronavirus vaccine.

And he hinted at further restrictions if necessary.

“I must emphasise that if all our actions failed to bring the R below one then we reserve the right to deploy greater firepower with significantly greater restrictions,” he warned MPs.

Does this apply to the whole of the UK?

No, these measures specifically apply to England.

Restrictions on hospitality venues exist in each nation, but are not exactly the same. For example, in Wales, supermarkets and off-licences are banned from selling booze after 10pm.

Northern Ireland has also unveiled tougher rules, including a ban on indoor gatherings, with Scotland following suit.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also urged Scots to avoid booking travel over the October half-term.





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