Coronavirus: What you can and can't do under new lockdown rules - and which areas of northern England are affected

31 July 2020, 08:38 | Updated: 31 July 2020, 12:32

Sweeping new rules affecting swathes of northern England have been imposed overnight, following a spike in coronavirus cases.

The government says police forces and councils will get powers to enforce the new rules, but that some exemptions will be put in place, including for the vulnerable.

But the late nature of the announcement on Thursday - made only a few hours before the new measures came into effect - left many confused.

Here is what changes, and what doesn't.

Which areas are covered by the new rules?

  • Greater Manchester - City of Manchester, Trafford, Stockport, Oldham, Bury, Wigan, Bolton, Tameside, Rochdale, Salford
  • Lancashire - Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale
  • West Yorkshire - Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees
  • Leicester City, and the Borough of Oadby and Wigston (where similar rules were already in place)

What are you not allowed to do under the new rules if you live in one of the affected areas?

  • Meet people you do not live with inside a home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble. (A support bubble can be formed by an adult who lives by themselves, or is a single parent with dependent children, with one other household of any size to form a close support network - allowing close contact with them as you could if they were members of your own household)
  • Visit someone else's home or garden, even if they live outside the affected areas
  • Host people who live outside the affected areas at your home
  • Socialise with people you do not live with in other indoor public venues - such as pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions. While you can still visit these venues with people in your household or support bubble, you should avoid interaction with others
  • Visit people in care homes, unless there are "exceptional circumstances"

What are you still allowed to do under the new rules if you live in one of the affected areas?

  • Go to work, continuing to travel to and from your workplace
  • Meet indoors with members of your support bubble
  • Go to cafes, restaurants, the gym and other public places with members of your own household
  • Meet in public outdoor spaces in groups of no more than six people, or more if the group only includes members of two households

What are the penalties for breaking the rules?

The government says it will pass new laws to enforce the new coronavirus rules, allowing police to ask people to disperse and issue fixed penalty notices.

These fines will start at £100, but will be halved to £50 if paid in the first 14 days. They will be doubled for subsequent offences.

Are there exceptions to the new rules?

The government says there will be limited exemptions, which will be specified in law.

What if you run an indoor venue?

The government says you "should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance".