From Monday 14 September, new measures will be put in place to help suppress the spread of coronavirus.
These new measures mean that people in England can only meet in groups of no more than six, indoors and outdoors.
Those that choose to congregate in larger groups will be dispersed and could be fined or even arrested.
This guidance that applies to England only. If you live in an area where local restrictions are in place you should also consult the local restrictions guidance, for information about what you can and can’t do to manage the outbreak.
It is critical that everybody observes the following key behaviours:
To reduce the risk of catching or spreading coronavirus, try to keep at least 2 metres away from people you do not live with. Social distancing is essential to stop the spread of the virus, as it is more likely to spread when people are close together. An infected person can pass on the virus even if they do not have any symptoms, through talking, breathing, coughing or sneezing.
When with people you do not live with, you should also avoid: physical contact; being close and face-to-face; and shouting or singing close to them. You should also avoid crowded areas with lots of people; and touching things that other people have touched.
Where you cannot stay 2 metres apart you should stay more than 1 metre apart, as well as taking extra steps to stay safe. For example:
You do not need to socially distance from anyone in your household, meaning the people you live with. You also do not need to socially distance from someone you’re in an established relationship with, or anyone in your legally-permitted support bubble if you are in one.
It may not always be possible or practicable to maintain social distancing when providing care to a young child, or person with a disability or health condition. You should still limit close contact as much as possible when providing these types of care, and take other precautions such as washing hands and opening windows for ventilation.
When seeing friends and family you do not live with you should:
Limits on the number of people you can see socially have changed. From Monday 14 September, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. This is against the law and the police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notices) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
There are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people. These include:
Where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means – for example – a tradesperson can go into a household of six without breaching the limit, if they are there for work.
More information can be found on our Frequently Asked Questions page.
As well as the exemptions above, venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to continue to host more people in total – such as religious services in places of worship – but no one should mix in a group of greater than 6. This includes places like a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship. When you visit one of these places you should:
The Oakwood Centre will be introducing a QR code to help with the NHS Track and Trace programme. Please look out for details at the Centre in the coming days.
Thames Valley Police have released a statement that officers will continue to work with our communities and will follow our approach to engage with, explain and encourage people to follow the new regulations.
Assistant Chief Constable Christian Bunt said: “Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a shared effort and we at Thames Valley Police will play our part.
“The new rules coming into place on Monday are very clear and we hope that all members of the public follow them.
“Our officers will be in the community engaging, explaining and encouraging people to follow the regulations. We will disperse groups of more than six people and will issue fines to those who refuse to comply.
“However, there are a range of enforcement options at our disposal, and this does not always involve fines being issued.
“Members of the public can expect to see officers out on patrol but we ask that everyone takes personal responsibility so police involvement is a last resort.”