Parts of the country including Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire and East Lancashire have been subjected to restrictions on gatherings between households in a bid to limit local outbreaks.
The move came into effect at midnight today (Friday 31 July) after Health Secretary Matt Hancock said banning households from meeting up indoors would help to reduce transmission of coronavirus in areas with high numbers of infection.
People from different households are not allowed to meet up in private homes or gardens and must only visit pubs with members of their household.
Guidance on the Government’s website states: “You should not 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. You may attend these venues with people you live with (or are in a support bubble with), but should avoid interaction with others."
For hospitality venues the guidance states: “If you run such a business, you should take steps to ensure people do not interact with people they do not live with, in line with Covid-19 Secure guidance.”
The areas affected by changes are:
- The Greater Manchester area
- Pendle, Lancashire
- Hyndburn, Lancashire
- Burnley, Lancashire
- Rossendale, Lancashire
- Blackburn with Darwen, Lancashire
- Bradford, West Yorkshire
- Calderdale, West Yorkshire
- Kirklees, West Yorkshire
- Leicester city
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “We’re constantly looking at the latest data on the spread of coronavirus, and unfortunately we’ve seen an increasing rate of transmission in parts of Northern England.”
“The spread is largely due to households meeting and not abiding to social distancing. So from midnight tonight, people from different households will not be allowed to meet each other indoors in these areas.”
Pubs in Leicester will be allowed to reopen from Monday 3 August after a local lockdown in the area prevented them from opening alongside others this month. However, members of different households should not visit pubs together.
The Department of Health and Social Care has been asked whether the ban applies to outside spaces at pubs and restaurants and this article will be updated with more information. It was also asked whether any further guidance for businesses would be issued.
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said: “Our sector is following all the safety guidelines to ensure customers and staff are safe in pubs. Pubs remain open and we’ve made it very clear that pub goers must respect all the measures put in place by their local pub. For those in the North West that includes following these latest regional measures preventing people from different households meeting together.”