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Gatherings of more than six people banned

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The government has announced that social gatherings of more than six people will be illegal, as part of a bid to stem the increase in coronavirus cases.

Boris Johnson has today announced restrictions on the number of people who can meet in groups, whether indoor or out.

It’s the first time since July that the Prime Minister has led a coronavirus conference, where he confirmed that people will be hit with new £100 fines if they meet in groups of more than six people.

However, fines will double up to a maximum of £3,200 for each subsequent offence.

The rules will come into force on Monday 14 September and include gatherings in homes, parks, pubs and restaurants.

The new “Rule of Six” will override previous rules in England and mean anyone meeting socially in groups of more than six will be breaking the law.

Johnson explained that if a single household or support bubble is larger than six, they can still gather.

While venues such as restaurants, bars and gyms can hold more than six people in total, within those settings, no individual groups of more than six can be accommodated. Premises flouting these rules will also face fines.

However, education and work settings are unaffected by the new rules and wedding and funerals with up to 30 people can still go ahead as long as they’re ‘Covid-secure’. Organised sports can also go ahead.

Johnson said: “Since the pandemic began, we asked you to reduce social contact and limit interactions with friends and family. These rules have become confusing and complicated over time.

“By simplifying and strengthening the rules, this will make them easier to understand and for the police to enforce the rules.

“The ‘Rule of Six’ will throw up difficult cases, for example where two whole households can no longer meet if they exceed six people.

“I’m sorry about that and I wish we did not have to take this step but as your Prime Minister, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and save lives.

“It will be kept under constant review and we will keep it in place for as long as necessary.”

The restriction comes as the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, confirmed that coronavirus cases are rapidly increasing.

Confirmed coronavirus cases came right down in April but over the past few days, they’ve been increasing at pace, particularly in the younger generations while rates have remained flat for older people.

In the 20-29, 30-39 and 10-19 age groups, rises have been notable, with Whitty adding that action needs to be taken to limit the spread of the virus.

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