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New COVID restrictions: What you can and can’t do – and the penalties for breaking the rules

Written by on 28 September 2020

Boris Johnson announced further restrictions last week in an attempt to curb the growing spread of COVID-19 across the UK amid warnings cases and deaths could increase rapidly.

The prime minister said unless there is evidence of progress, the measures may be in place in England for six months.

These are on top of restrictions already in place, with some areas having stricter rules than others due to local spikes.

PM lists new measures in COVID crackdown

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced new measures for Scotland and said she hoped they would not be in place for six months but could not rule it out.

Sky News lists the new rules, what was already restricted, what you can do and what the punishment is for disobeying the rules.

What are the new restrictions for England?

  • 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants
  • Table service only in hospitality venues
  • Work from home if you can
  • Customers must wear face coverings in taxis, as well as staff in retail
  • Staff and customers in indoor hospitality must now wear face coverings
  • From Monday 28 September, only 15 people can attend a wedding service and reception – 30 people can still attend a funeral
  • A maximum of six people can take part in indoor team sports
  • Large sports events and conferences will not take place from 1 October, as previously planned
  • Businesses will be fined GBP10,000 and could be closed if they breach regulations
  • The fine for people not wearing face coverings in shops, supermarkets, public transport, taxis and in indoor hospitality will double to GBP200 for a first time offence, from GBP100
  • This fine will be the same for those who break the “rule of six”
  • Those who have been shielding do not need to do so except in local lockdown areas.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP

Sturgeon announces ban on household mixing

What are the new restrictions in Scotland?

  • 10pm curfew for pubs, bars and restaurants
  • Visiting other households indoors is banned across Scotland
  • Do not share car journeys with people outside your households
  • Work from home if you can

What was already restricted?

  • Social gatherings of more than six people indoors and outdoors are banned in England
  • In Scotland, only two households are allowed to be part of a group of six outdoors
  • 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
  • Also in Wales, hospitality businesses must offer table service only and close at 10pm, while off-licences and supermarkets must stop selling alcohol at 10pm
  • Venues, including pubs and restaurants, are legally required to request customers’ details for test and trace and keep them for 21 days
  • Face coverings must be worn in shops, supermarkets and on public transport unless they are exempt for medical reasons.

What are you allowed to do?

  • Households or support bubbles of more than six people can still gather indoors in England and only outdoors in Scotland
  • Groups of more than six people are allowed for work or education
  • Places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality settings can still hold more than six people in total
  • Funerals with up to 30 people are allowed in England and Wales and 20 people in Scotland, while it is up to the venue in Northern Ireland
  • Weddings of up to 15 people are allowed in England, 30 in Wales and 20 in Scotland.
  • Organised team sports outside carried out in a “COVID-secure way” can have more than six people in England

People who get flu and coronavirus will be in 'serious trouble', top health expert warns

People who get flu and coronavirus will be in ‘serious trouble’, top health expert warns

What happens if you break the rules?

  • For people who do not wear face coverings, and who are not exempt, in places legally stated there are fines of GBP200 in England, or GBP60 in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales
  • People with coronavirus symptoms who do not self-isolate will face fines of GBP1,000, rising to GBP10,000 for repeat offences
  • If people prevent others from self-isolating – such as bosses threatening redundancy – they can also be fined
  • Businesses who break the mask regulations and “rule of six” in England will be fined GBP10,000 or closed down – Scotland is considering the same
  • Anyone who breaks the rules on social gatherings in England will be fined GBP200 with the penalty doubling on each further repeat offence up to GBP3,200
  • “COVID-secure marshals” will enforce social distancing rules in town and city centres, the prime minister has said
  • Border Force is also stepping up the enforcement of quarantine rules for travellers into the country
  • There will be more police on the streets to ensure rules are adhered to
  • The armed forces could be called in to help police if needed

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