'Rule of six' now in force as Swaffham pub says 'not much has changed' for them
The coronavirus “rule of six” has come into force in England today (Monday, September 14), meaning any social gatherings of more than six people will break the law.
People face fines of up to £3,200 if they do not abide by the new measure, which applies to both indoor and outdoor settings and follows a rapid increase in the number of daily positive cases.
Regulations enabling the enforcement of the rule were published late on Sunday night, around 30 minutes before they came into effect.
More than 3,000 Covid-19 cases were recorded in the UK for the third day in a row on Sunday – the first time since May that cases were above 3,000 on three consecutive days.
The new law comes amid concerns about an increase in cases in care homes and growing criticism of the NHS Test and Trace system.
Aside from limited exemptions including work and education, police will be able to disperse gatherings of more than six people and issue fines ranging from £100 to £3,200.
In response to the new rule of six regulations, the White Hart pub in Swaffham released a statement saying 'not much has changed' in reality.
It said: "While it might sound like a lot has changed it has not really.......Tables of up to six persons are permitted, now they can be from any number of households.
"In the case of large households tables can be larger but all persons must be of the same house or bubble.
"If you are planning on joining us with a table larger than six people, you will now need to book in advance please.
"Track and trace will become mandatory, we have this well in place so no change here."
The pub said social distancing remains a "high priority" and the team will continue to keep customers as safe as possible.
Customers will have to sanitise their hands when entering the pub, while regular hand washing will continue to be encouraged.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said the recent rise in cases “makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease”.
The rule applies across England and replaces the existing ban on participating in gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors.
Chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Martin Hewitt has urged the public to “stick to the limits”.
He said: “Preventing the spread of coronavirus is a shared effort and police are playing our part alongside Government, businesses, hospitality owners, local authorities and others.
“Officers are in their communities following our approach to engage, explain and encourage people to follow the rules. We will issue fines when people refuse to comply.
“The demands on the police service are now at similar levels to before the pandemic, which makes it crucially important that we all take personal responsibility, stick to the limits and prevent the spread of this deadly virus.”