The Government has produced more detailed guidance to accompany the announcement by the Prime Minister on further restrictions yesterday.  One area where there is uncertainty is whether groups of 30 can still be guided and whether meetings can be held for up to 30 people. These do not appear in the exceptions and the Working Safety During Coronavirus guidance for Hotels and Guest Accommodation and the Visitor Economy has yet to be updated in line with yesterday’s announcement.

New Rules on Wearing Face Masks

  • Customers in private hire vehicles and taxis must wear face coverings (from 23 September).
  • Customers in hospitality venues must wear face coverings, except when seated at a table to eat or drink. Staff in hospitality and retail will now also be required to wear face coverings (from 24 September).
  • People who are already exempt from the existing face covering obligations, such as because of an underlying health condition, will continue to be exempt from these new obligations.
  • Guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law (from 24 September).
  • Staff working on public transport and taxi drivers will continue to be advised to wear face coverings.

New Rules and Restrictions on Businesses

  • Businesses selling food or drink (including cafes, bars, pubs and restaurants), social clubs, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement arcades (and other indoor leisure centres or facilities), funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls, must be closed between 10pm and 5am. This will include takeaways but delivery services can continue after 10pm (from 24 September).
  • Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open after 10pm, only if the performance started before 10pm. They should not serve food or drink after this time.
  • In licensed premises, food and drink must be ordered from, and served at, a table.
  • Customers must eat and drink at a table in any premises selling food and drink to consume indoors, on site (from 24 September).
  • Businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally (from 24 September).
  • Businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises COVID Secure (from 28 September):
  • A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the COVID-19 Secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.
  • Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to self-isolate to come to work.
  • Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Restrictions on Groups

  • Support groups must be limited to a maximum of 15 people (from 24 September). Support groups are formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
  • Indoor organised sport for over 18s will no longer be exempt from the rule of six. There is an exemption for indoor organised team sports for disabled people (from 24 September).There will be a new exemption in those areas of local intervention where household mixing is not allowed to permit friends and family to provide informal childcare for children under 14 (from 24 September).
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions will be restricted to a maximum of 15 people (down from 30). Other significant standalone life events will be subject to the ‘rule of six’ limits, except funerals (from 28 September).

Exemptions to the Rules of Six

New guidance has been produced stating the exceptions to the Rule of Six. These are now:

  • for work, or the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • registered childcare, education or training
  • supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • providing support to a vulnerable person
  • providing emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents
  • fulfilling a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • elite sporting competition and training
  • wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions – up to 15 people
  • funerals – up to 30 people. This does not include wakes, other than for religious ceremonial purposes
  • exercise classes, organised outdoor sport or licensed outdoor physical activity, and supervised sporting activity (indoors or outdoors) for under-18s
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support. This includes support to victims of crime, recovering addicts, new parents, people with long-term illnesses, those facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, and those who have suffered bereavement.
  • protests – if organised in compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance. All individuals must be socially distanced.

Updated FAQ

The comprehensive FAQ on what can and can’t be done has been updated in accordance with the changes in guidance.

Guidance for Transport Operators

The guidance for transport operators has been updated to incorporate the new legislation on social contact and the requirement for passengers to wear face coverings in taxis and private hire vehicles.