Coronavirus rules: Can I go to the pub with people I don’t live with?

THE number of people that can attend social gatherings in England is now six. This came after a steep rise in coronavirus cases across the UK.

Amid the confusion of ever-changing restrictions, we have delved into the new rules and what they mean in terms of socialising.

How many people can meet indoors?

Since 14 September people in England are only able to meet with up to six people, that is both indoors and outdoors.

There some exceptions to the ‘rule of six’, including if you are meeting with your support bubble.

You should continue to maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or outside your bubble.

Does that mean I can still go to the pub?

Yes, you can still go to the pub and eat out, as long as your group is no more than six people.

Pubs, bars and restaurants now have a 10pm curfew, which will be implemented from Thursday (September 24).

As well as the curfew, the hospitality sector will be restricted by law to table service only.

Venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host more than six people in total, but no one should visit in a group of greater than six.

If you live in a household with more than six people, you can continue to go out together. This same applies for your support bubbles.

What is the recommended advice for social gatherings?

When meeting people indoors, such as in a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship you should:

  • Keep your group to less than six people if they don’t live with you.
  • Avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know.
  • Wash your hards regularly for more than 20 seconds or use hand sanitiser.
  • Provide your contact details to the organiser so that you can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme

What are venues doing to keep people safe?

Businesses will have to ensure social distancing is taking place. An example would be adopting a one-way where possible, keeping tables at a safe distance from one another and offer hand sanitiser or washing facilities. They should thoroughly be cleaning surfaces.

Venues will only offer table service. They also need to keep music to low levels to deter people from shouting, which increases the risk of transmission. 

Venues where people meet socially, such as pubs and restaurants, will be legally required to request contact details of every member of a party and retain the information for 21 days.

Pubs, bars and restaurants now have a 10pm curfew, which will be implemented from Thursday (September 24).

Fines of £1,000 could be levied against hospitality venues if they fail to comply.

What is Test and Trace?

When people visit a venue, they are required to provide their contact details to the organiser so that they can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme.

Only one person in the group needs to give their contact details, such as name and phone number

Information will be kept for 21 days

Businesses should take note of time of arrival and how long the party stays.

If NHS Test and Trace contacts you to tell you that you have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus, they will ask you to self-isolate.

Do I have to wear a mask? 

Masks are not required when visiting places to dine such as restaurants.

However, masks are currently still mandatory on public transport, and in shops, supermarkets, indoor shopping centres, banks, building societies, post offices, and indoor transport hubs. 

Hospitality workers will be required to wear face coverings from Monday September 28. 

Is the Eat Out To Help Out scheme still going?

Not officially. The Eat Out To Help Out scheme ended in August.

However, many businesses have chosen to still offer discounts to encourage people to visit their venues.

What happens if I don’t follow the new rules?

Police may break the gathering and ask you disperse. They could also give you a £100 fine, which the government hopes will deter people from breaking the rules.

Fines will double with every subsequent offence, going up to £3,200. In some cases, the police may arrest you. 

Slough Observer | News