The UK Government has tightened restrictions on gatherings after a rise in COVID cases prompted concerns of another wave of the coronavirus. It has now become illegal for the people living in England to gather in a group of more than six. This is the first time that the Prime Minister has imposed a lockdown measure nationwide since the restrictions began to be lifted in May. Boris Johnson himself admitted at a press briefing that the rules over time “have become quite complicated and confusing”.
After announcing this new “rule of six”, the PM said: “We are responding, and we are simplifying and strengthening the rules, making them easier for everyone to understand.” Anyone found socializing in groups of more than six people will have to pay £100 fine which will get doubled on repeat offences up to £3,200.
The PM said: “In England from Monday we are introducing the rule of six”. “You must not meet socially in groups of more than six. And, if you do, you will be breaking the law.”
There will be limited exemptions to the rule of six. Mr. Boris Johnson said: “There will be some limited exemptions; for example, if a single household or support bubble is larger than six, then obviously they can still gather”.
Prof Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer for England, said that the number of COVID cases had been increasing very rapidly. According to him, the date suggested that without timely action, UK would be on a similar path to France where the number of cases had continued to rise. “This is a clear indication that if you act rapidly and decisively there is a good chance of bringing rates back down under control,” he said.
The Health Secretary has also said that social distancing must be “the first line of defense” to fight COVID-19 and expressed his concern about the spike in the coronavirus cases which are driven largely by the young people.
Local lockdowns in areas across the North of England were defined on 9th September. The cities included Manchester, West Yorkshire, and Lancashire. Also, Bolton becomes the latest region to have tighter restrictions implemented.
What are the new restrictions?
The plan to ease existing restrictions in the country were cancelled last week after witnessing a spike in coronavirus cases. Following this, some regulations were reintroduced, which included putting a restriction on nightlife and only allowing takeaways.
Restrictions are also put on the night-time operating hours of all dine-in restaurants. This means that they will be required to close from 10 P.M to 5 A.M. All the hospitality for foods and drinks, including pubs and bars, are now restricted only to takeaways. It will also not be allowed for people to socialize with people outside their household in any setting. Schools, however, will remain open.
During the first lockdown, people began stockpiling due to shortage of supplies. However, this time there won’t be any need to do so as the suppliers and supermarkets will remain fully functional. Learning from the first lockdown the food industries supply chain is completely ready with counter measures for the second lockdown.
Moreover, it has been said that: “Covid-secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants, hospitality venues can still hold more than six in total. Within those venues, however, there must not be individual groups larger than six and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.
“Education and work settings are unaffected. Covid-secure weddings and funerals can go ahead up to a limit of 30 people and organised sport will still be able to proceed.”
These precautionary measures would hopefully bring down the number of COVID cases in the UK. However, to ensure this the public must act responsibly and follow the new SOPs implemented by the government.