The law and government guidance relating to what you can and cannot do as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) is constantly changing as we continue to respond to the pandemic.
Make sure you are up to date with the latest guidance at gov.uk/coronavirus. The guidance will be different depending on which part of the UK you are visiting.
There remains a personal responsibility for everyone to reduce the spread of Coronavirus by adhering to the government legislation, following the public health guidance around social distancing and hygiene, as well as getting tested if you have symptoms and self-isolating when alerted.
What you can and cannot do
As of 14 September 2020, in England it is now unlawful to gather in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors without a reasonable excuse or an exemption. This is known as the ‘rule of six’.
A full list of exemptions can be found on the government’s website.
Areas with high numbers of coronavirus cases may be subject to local lockdowns with increased restrictions. Find out what restrictions are in place in your area.
To help control the spread of the virus it is now the law to wear a face covering on public transport and in most public indoor settings. A full list of when and where to wear to wear a face covering can be found on Gov.uk. There are some exemptions to wearing a face covering, for example, for children under 11 or for people with certain disabilities. A list of exemptions can be found on the Government website.
The police can take measures if members of the public do not comply with this law without a valid exemption and transport operators can deny access to their public transport services if a passenger is not wearing a face covering, or direct them to wear one or leave a service.
If necessary, we can use enforcement powers including issuing a fine of at least £200. More information on fines and the enforcement of face coverings can be found on the Government website.
Most businesses are now allowed to open but there are some which must remain closed.
More information about business closures can be found on the government’s website.
Local authority environmental health and trading standards officers are usually responsible for enforcing regulations around the closure of businesses.
Please only contact us about a business if you think there is a serious breach of the rules.
Guidance for people who work in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, and business events and consumer shows can be found on the Government website.
Entering the UK
If you arrive in the UK from a country which there is no travel corridor arrangement with, you must self-isolate for 14 days.
The police and authorities like Public Health England are working together to make sure people follow the quarantine rules. There is no need for you to report a breach.
What we are doing
We are patrolling and talking to people if we think they are doing something which is against the guidelines.
If there is a problem we want to resolve it by communicating clearly and encouraging everyone to behave responsibly.
As a last resort we can enforce the coronavirus law. We have the power to:
- disperse gatherings of seven or more people who aren’t from the same household
- remove a person from a gathering to their home
- close any premises which are required to be closed under the legislation
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £200 (over 18s only)
- issue a fixed penalty notice of £400 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence up to £6,400 (over 18s only)
- issue a fixed penalty of £10,000 for holding or being involved in the holding of an unlawful gathering
- issue a fixed penalty of £1000 for failing to isolate after a positive test result, or after being informed to isolate by NHS track and trace following close contact with a positive individual
- If someone does not pay their fixed penalty notice, they could go to court, where magistrates can impose an unlimited fine.
Reporting a breach of the rules
Please make sure you've read and understood what you can and cannot do before you get in touch with us.
If you wish to report a suspected Coronavirus breach to us, please report online. Please only call 101 to tell us about Coronavirus breaches if you are unable to report online. If the threat is immediate or a crime is ongoing please call 999.
Please be mindful that this is an extremely busy time. We ask you to trust that we will target the most problematic behaviour.
Further information, support and advice about Coronavirus
- NHS advice - How to avoid catching or spreading germs and when to seek medical help
- GOV.UK - Daily updates on the outbreak, information and advice
- PHE England - Daily updates, signs and symptoms, current risk level
- Mind - Mental health support and advice
- Victims First – free support and advise for victims of crime
- Action Fraud – report cyber-crime, fraud and scams