Tougher lockdown restrictions are being introduced across the UK, after the Prime Minister warned that the country has reached a “perilous turning point” in its fight against coronavirus.
The number of UK coronavirus cases has now surpassed 400,000, with almost 5,000 additional lab cases confirmed on Tuesday 22 September, and a further 37 deaths.
Measures are to be made stricter across all four nations this week in response to the rising infection rates, including new penalties for breaking the rules.
Here’s everything you need to know about the changes.
What are the fines for breaking the rules?
Boris Johnson has doubled the fines for failing to wear a mask, or for breaking the recently introduced ‘rule of six’, which prevents more than six people meeting in a group, both indoors and outdoors.
The penalty will increase from £100 to £200 for the first offence, with businesses now facing a hefty £10,000 fine for breaching self-isolation rules. Fines of up to £10,000 for people who fail to self-isolate have already been announced.
The Prime Minister also pledged additional funding for the police to help ensure rules are enforced, with the option of military support to reduce the burden.
In a national address on Tuesday 22 September, Mr Johnson said there had been “too many” breaches of the rules, prompting the need for harsher penalties.
He said, “We need to suppress the virus now, and as for that minority who may continue to flout the rules, we will enforce those rules with tougher penalties and fines of up to £10,000.
“We will put more police out on the streets and use the army to backfill if necessary.
“I am deeply, spiritually reluctant to make any of these impositions, or infringe anyone’s freedom, but unless we take action the risk is that we will have to go for tougher measures later, when the deaths have already mounted and we have a huge caseload of infection such as we had in the spring.”
What are the new rules?
People in England are being advised once again to work from home where possible. Those who cannot, such as those working in construction or retail, should continue to go to their workplaces.
From Thursday 24 September, pubs, bars and restaurants must offer table service only, while hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses will all have to close between 10pm and 5am.
Face coverings will also be required to be worn by retail workers, when travelling in taxis and private hire vehicles, and by both staff and customers in indoor hospitality venues, except while seated at a table to eat or drink.
From Monday 28 September, a maximum of 15 people will be allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, but the limit of 30 will remain for funerals.
The rule of six will also extend to all adult indoor team sports.
Large sporting events, business conferences and exhibitions will not resume for the public as had been planned from 1 October.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, The Yorkshire Post.