Social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from Monday, September 14, 2020, in response to the recent spike in cases of coronavirus.
The UK prime minister, Boris Johnson is expected to deliver further details at a Downing Street news conference on Wednesday.
Johnson held a conference call with police forces last week at which officers called for the rules to be simplified, Downing Street said.
During the press conference on Wednesday, he will confirm that the legal limit at which police can disperse gatherings of people will be reduced from the current 30 to just six.
The new rules will apply to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.
But there will be exceptions for work meetings, educational settings, weddings, funerals and sports where “COVID-secure” measures are in place.
Exemptions will also apply for those who have formed a “household bubble” of more than six people. A full list of exemptions will be published by the government later.
Current guidelines for England already stipulate that only six people can socialize together, but there are exceptions when the meetings involve just two households and police can only levy fines on those who refuse to disperse when gatherings exceed 30.
From September 14, groups of more than six people who refuse to disperse after a police order will face a £100 fine, which will double after each repeat offense, up to £3,200.
According to a statement given to journalists, the PM said: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.
“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”
The U.K. has seen a swift rise in the daily number of cases since the weekend. There have been 8,396 new cases reported since Sunday – with 2,460 reported on Tuesday alone. Ministers fear it is beginning to slip out of control.
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily had reported that two volunteers have been injected as the United Kingdom starts its first human trials for a coronavirus vaccine in Oxford, Britain.