SCHOOLS, workplaces, weddings and funerals will all be exempt from the new laws banning people from meeting in groups of more than six.
The rules – which will change from Monday – mean people could be slapped with a £100 fine if they’re seen in a large group.
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The rules will apply both inside and outside, and across the whole of England.
However, there will be some exceptions to the rules, meaning that many activities involving bigger numbers will still be able to take place.
This will include:
- Gathering as a household where you are more than six – for example where seven people live under the same roof
- Meeting up as a support bubble – for example if you are a single person and have bubbled up with a family of six people
- Where the gatherings are for work
- Schools and other education purposes
- Weddings – as long as they are Covid-safe
- Funerals – as long as they are Covid-safe
- Organised sports games
- Other religious services
Matt Hancock said today that the reason work and education were exempt was because “we need to get through this coronavirus with the minimal impact”.
He added: “But it does mean that when it comes to socialising, we are unfortunately having to put in place these rules because our contact tracing system – which is now excellent – shows that the majority of the transmission of this disease is in social circumstances.”
The Government has not explained the full details of the rules yet.
But the Archbishop of Canterbury said today he expects the rules on places of worship to remain the same and thus would not be affected.
He tweeted: “After contact with Government we hear that there is no change to guidance on places of worship.
“Worship is the work of God – not a social gathering – and gives the strength to love and serve.”
A full list of the exemptions and where they apply is expected to be published on gov.uk before Monday.
The PM is expected to say today as he announces the new laws: “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.”
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Earlier Mr Hancock gave hope that the UK could “turn it around” before Christmas – but he could make no promises.
He said the new laws would be in place “for the foreseeable future”.
And the police would pursue people breaking them too, after reports of people openly flouting rules by attending parties and illegal raves.