New coronavirus lockdown rules were published this afternoon before coming into force tomorrow.
Here’s what’s detailed in the new laws:
– What has changed?
The latest laws come into force on Saturday, mostly at a minute past midnight, but pubs are not allowed to reopen until 6am.
They apply to England and “territorial waters adjacent to England only”.
Previous versions of this law have been replaced with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020.
– What does this mean?
From Saturday, people can meet in groups of up to 30 people, indoors or outdoors and venues like pubs can open.
Bigger gatherings are banned apart from some exceptions, including those organised by businesses, charities, public or political bodies as long as the organiser has carried out a risk assessment on health and safety and measures have been taken to prevent the risk of transmission of coronavirus.
Gatherings for work or education and training as well as to carry out legal obligations are allowed.
The existing law that only people from two households can meet indoors no longer appears to apply.
But the Government has urged the public to continue to follow accompanying guidance of meetings of up to six people outdoors or two households indoors.
As before, social distancing advice is also not written into law but the Government has strongly urged people to keep following its guidance of keeping two metres apart, or one metre if they can take extra precautionary measures like wearing face masks, sitting side-by-side as opposed to face on, and washing their hands regularly.
– Can I play cricket and football outside with friends or family?
There is nothing written into the new law to ban people playing cricket or football together.
Professor Chris Whitty told the Downing Street press conference on Friday that it may be possible to play the games safely at a distance as long as participants take precautions like keeping distance to avoid contact.
– Which places still have to stay closed?
Nightclubs and any other venue which opens at night, has a dance floor or space for people dancing, plays live or recorded music for dancing, adult entertainment venues, casinos and bowling alleys.
Conference centres and exhibition halls must stay shut for conferences or trade shows.
Also all beauty salons including nail bars, tanning booths, spas, massage and tattoo parlours, body piercing businesses and any others which provide cosmetic or wellness treatments.
But hairdressers and barbers which offer these services in addition can open, just not offering beauty treatments.
Also to remain closed: indoor skating rinks, public swimming pools and water parks, indoor play areas, including soft play areas and any indoor gyms and sports facilities.
But it appears outdoor playgrounds can now open.
Buildings can also be used for blood donations, training elite athletes (including the use of indoor sports and gym equipment and swimming pools, studios used by professional dancers.
– What else does the legislation say?
The Health Secretary can now order the closure of any public outdoor place – like parks or open country – without needing to write it into law if there is a “serious and imminent threat to public health”.
He must consult chief medical officers before doing so.
Although the decision is open to appeal from only owners and occupiers.
Once an outdoor area is designated a restricted area you can only go in it with a reasonable excuse – as set out the law and along similar lines to previous lockdown rules.
Local authorities will be responsible to notify people of the restriction. Officials will have to set out what is the restricted area and for how long it is closed.
These decisions must reviewed every seven days.
– Can I still get fined?
People can still be issued with fines of £100, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, up to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences or be prosecuted.
Officers still have powers to disperse large groups and remove people from an area.
– How long will the rules last?
The Regulations expire after six months unless they are scrapped by the Government earlier.
But the law requires Health Secretary Matt Hancock to terminate any of the restrictions and requirements as soon as they are considered no longer necessary to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
They must be reviewed every 28 days and the first review must take place by July 31.