Posted on 1st October, 2020

Updated social contact restrictions for the North East

New local restrictions for the North East have been published on the Government website. Here’s what you need to know: 

If you live in the affected local areas, you must not (unless they’re in your support or childcare bubble):

  • host people you do not live with in your home or garden
  • meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas
  • socialise with people who you do not live with in indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas

Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support bubble.

support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis). Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (i.e. unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis – always the same two households.

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.

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days
  • £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400

The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fines of £10,000 to those who break the law.

Gatherings within indoor settings, as well as your home or garden can still take place for specific purposes set out in law:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider and informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents.

People living inside and outside of the affected local areas can continue to travel in and out for work. However, to help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.

Source: gov.co.uk

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