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Gatherings of over six people to be banned in England from Monday

Published on 09/09/20 at 12:23pm
Photo by EU2017EE Estonian Presidency

England is set to increase lockdown restrictions across the country after a surge in coronavirus cases. 

Currently, most outdoor gatherings are limited to six people from different households, or groups that comprise no more than two households or household bubbles. The law also allows for 30 people to gather for a community event or a wedding, but police have had no powers to stop general gatherings of up to 30 and they believe the rules have frequently been abused. 

From Monday, this will change to reduce the maximum to six people both inside and outside. This covers pubs, parks and restaurants, but there will be certain exemptions for organised team sports, weddings, funerals or meeting in groups for work or school. 

This change comes following 8,500 positive coronavirus cases being recorded in England in the last three days. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to give an official press conference later today, but in comments released to the press in advance, he 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.”

These new national restrictions follow harsher regional lockdowns. Bolton is facing one of the harshest, with people being told they cannot mix with other households in any setting and to only use public transport when essential, and restaurants can only offer take-out options. The rate of coronavirus infections in Bolton went up from 15 cases per 100,000 to over 120 in just two weeks. 

The rise in Bolton is due to people in their 20s and 30s socialising in homes and in pubs according to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Ministers are worried that young people are driving the infection rate due to ignoring social distancing rules.

Conor Kavanagh

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