The only legal reasons you can meet with anyone outside of your household under new lockdown rules

Prime Minister Boris Johnson implemented a third national lockdown for England on Monday, January 4 – these are the rules are meeting family and friends.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation at 8pm on Monday, January 4, and placed England into another lockdown in an effort to halt the spread of the new variant of coronavirus.

The lockdown means that people need to stay at home, “minimise time spent outside”, and schools will be closed until at least the February half-term holiday.

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Here’s what you need to know about whether you can meet up with friends and family and what it means for support bubbles, where a household with one adult joins with another household.

Strict rules prohibit meeting with people to socialise under lockdown. Photo: PA.Strict rules prohibit meeting with people to socialise under lockdown. Photo: PA.
Strict rules prohibit meeting with people to socialise under lockdown. Photo: PA.

*It is against the law to meet socially with friends and family unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

*Households in a support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

*If you live in a household with anyone aged under 14, you can form a childcare bubble. This allows friends or family from one other household to provide informal childcare.

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*You must not meet socially with your childcare bubble, and must avoid seeing members of your childcare and support bubbles at the same time.

*You can exercise in a public outdoor place either by yourself, with the people you live with, with your support bubble (if you are legally permitted to form one), in a childcare bubble where providing childcare, or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household.

*You can only leave your home for essential reasons or for exercise and should be limited to once a day.

*People are not allowed to leave their homes for the purpose of recreation or leisure, such as a picnic or social meeting.

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*There are exceptions where people from different households can gather in larger groups outside of their households, including for education or training, to see someone who is dying and to provide care, with a full list found here.

*A maximum of six people can attend a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances.

*Up to 30 people can attend a funeral, while wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to six people.

*Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support - but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.

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*Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are generally not counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit if they are there for work.

How much are fines for breaching these rules

*Anyone caught breaking the rules on meeting people could face a fine of £200 for the first offence and then doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

*If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

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