From 10pm closing times for pubs and bars, to fewer guests at weddings, the rules are getting tougher again

Get our daily coronavirus email newsletter with all the news you need to know direct to your inbox

A swathe of new coronavirus restrictions are coming into force after Boris Johnson warned the country faced a “perilous turning point” in its battle with the virus.

From 10pm closing times for pubs and bars, to stricter rules on masks, the rules are getting tougher again as infections spiral.

The Prime Minister moved to clamp down on daily life once again after the UK’s alert level was escalated from 3 to 4, meaning the virus was spreading rapidly again.

On Thursday, 6,634 coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK – the highest-single day total since the start of the pandemic.

In a sombre TV address on Tuesday, Mr Johnson told the nation to obey the rules or risk stricter lockdown measures.

Brides and grooms will be restricted to only 15 guests as the maximum number of people at ceremonies was slashed.

Weddings of up to 30 people were allowed again in July after couples were forced to postpone their nuptials in March.

The guidance says ceremonies and receptions with 15 guests must take place in Covid secure venues.

They are banned from happening in a private house or garden – where only up to 6 people are permitted to gather under “rule of six” laws.

The 15-person limit includes the couple, witnesses and guests but people working, such as a priest or a celebrant are not included.

The difference between this figure and the larger limit on funerals is understood to be to accommodate certain religious concerns.

The new legal duty applies if you test positive for coronavirus or are ordered to isolate by test and trace teams due to coming into close contact with an infection person.

Fines will start at £1,000 rising to £10,000 for repeat offenders and the most blatant rule breakers.

If staff do not enforce social distancing rules or allow groups of larger than six then they can also be fined.

New 10pm closing times for hospitality also apply to leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses such as casinos and bingo halls from Monday.

Pubs, bars and restaurants in England are now required to close by 10pm to prevent alcohol-fuelled breaches of social distancing.

Table bookings of more than six will not be allowed and people cannot mingle. This applies indoors and outdoors – meaning no crowds drinking outside pubs.

The hospitality industry says it could devastate already struggling pubs and questioned whether people would drink up before 10pm then continue to booze at their friends’ houses.

It also includes takeaways but only if you are going into a kebab shop or restaurant in person.

Staff and customers at all indoor hospitality venues – such as pubs and restaurants – have been be ordered to wear masks by law.

Punters can remove their face coverings when they are sat at a table to eat or drink.

The fine for failing to wear a mask or breaking the rule of six will double to £200 for a first offence.

Mr Johnson said he will not hesitate to use the army to help free up police time to enforce Covid-19 rules.

But the PM’s spokesman clarified that the military will only assist the police with guarding duties and office roles, so officers can to be on the streets.

The Government has u-turned on its drive to get millions of people back to the workplace.

Key workers should continue to go to work and people in vital public sector roles such as workers processing passport and driving licence applications should continue to go to work in a Covid-secure way.

The “rule of six” will be extended to apply to all adult indoor team sports, such as 5-a-side football games.

Mr Johnson said the time had come to “tighten up” the rules banning gatherings of more than six people.

Amateur performing arts and choirs will no longer be exempt from the rules, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden confirmed.

You can still meet your family and friends as long as you obey the “rule of six”.

Gatherings of multiple households are allowed indoors and outdoors – as long as there are no more than six people.

Unless, of course, you are one of the 13.7million people living under a local lockdown including in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Liverpool – in which case, meeting people from other households is more or less banned.

Household bubbles are exempt from the rules, as are grandparents and childminders who are caring for children under 14.

Young children are counted under the rules in England – despite exemptions in Scotland and Wales for children under 12 and 11 respectively.

The Prime Minister issued a gloomy message that these measures could be in place for up to six months unless significant progress is made in finding a coronavirus vaccine.

“I must emphasise that if all our actions failed to bring the R below one then we reserve the right to deploy greater firepower with significantly greater restrictions,” he warned MPs.

Restrictions on hospitality venues exist in each nation, but are not exactly the same. For example, in Wales, supermarkets and off-licences are banned from selling booze after 10pm.

Northern Ireland has also unveiled tougher rules, including a ban on indoor gatherings, with Scotland following suit.


News – Coronavirus rule changes – what you can and can’t do in England from today