New North East lockdown rules explained
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The new rules - which are in addition to the first local lockdown measures brought in on Friday, September 18, – have banned friends and family members, who are not in the same support bubble, from meeting at any indoor public venue.
The rules – which were originally brought in for seven local authorities including Sunderland, South Tyneside, County Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle, Gateshead and Northumberland - have now been extended to include Hartlepool and Teesside.
So what are the rules?
Hospitality venues must be closed between 10pm and 5am and customers must be served through table service only. Further details on the restrictions, published by the Department of Health and Social Care, confirms six people from different households can meet at an outdoor public venue like a pub beer garden or park – although this is against advice. Customers at public venues, whether indoors or outdoors, are not allowed to mix with other groups. In line with the previous restrictions, imposed earlier in the month, residents must not meet people in homes or gardens, unless they’re in a support or childcare bubble.
The Government has provided a list of exemptions to this rule including, but not limited to, work purposes, to visit someone who is dying and to help facilitate a house move.
What about for important life events?
In the North East local authorities affected by the restrictions, only 15 people are allowed to attend weddings and civil partnerships.
Up to 30 people are allowed to attend a funeral and all other religious or belief-based standalone life cycle ceremonies or celebrations, such as Christenings, are limited to six people.
What happens if you break the rules?
The police will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.
Anyone over the age of 18 could be fined £200, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days, if they break the rules. This will increase to £400 for a second offence then double for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400.