Confusion reigns over 'rule of six' as No 10 says first offenders SHOULDN’T be fined and 'mingling' also banned

THE new coronavirus "rule of six" has caused even MORE confusion after No10 said first offenders shouldn't be fined and "mingling" will be banned.

MPs have mocked the new rules, asking whether "ambling" will be outlawed as well after the PM came under heavy criticism for the new rule.

Police will be able to issue £100 fines to anyone who breaks the rule and meets with people in groups bigger than six.

And that will skyrocket up to £3,200 for people who continue to ignore the restrictions.

But No10 added further confusion by suggesting police officers would not fine people in the first few days of restrictions.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "What you would expect to happen is for the police to be out today encouraging people to follow the new rules but in the coming days, if we see people continuing to flout the new rules, it is right that people could face a fine.

"The regulations are in place to help to stop the spread of the virus, to protect the NHS and to ultimately save lives."

The new legislation tells Brits they can only meet in groups of up to six people but in certain circumstances are allowed to meet in larger "gatherings" as long as they don't "mingle" with other people who are not a member of their original group of six.

It means a family of six could go to church – as long as they don't mingle with any other families or groups.

It comes as:

  • The new rule of six comes into force today making breaking limits on social gatherings illegal
  • Brits who break the rules can be fined £100 or more
  • Priti Patel warns people who break the new rule of six will be given criminal records
  • Pubs face 10pm curfews as partying young people forget coronavirus rule

Barrister Adam Wagner, who has been analysing the new rules, mocked the wording of the regulation.

"Is saying hello to someone at a gathering 'mingling'? What about holding the door open for them?"

And Tory MP Simon Hoare told the MailOnline: "Could you loiter? Are you allowed to amble? Could you potter? That is a very strange word to use"

"Wasn't she a character out of Neighbours? Or was that Mrs Mangle."

What are the new rules?

The new clampdown measures are being introduced across England to lower the number of people meeting in groups indoors and out.

Under the former rules, no more than 30 people can meet inside with up to one other household, but this has been slashed to just six.

The new rules also stipulate that the six people can be from different households, in an attempt to bring rules in line with outdoor gatherings.

Anyone in your support bubble counts as one household.

The rule of six also extends to gatherings organised outside.

Despite making fun of the legislation, Mr Hoare said public health concerns had to take priority.

He said: "It's better to be safe than sorry. If the guidance is telling government to dictate something we should follow."

"There are the sort of people who would probably say at the height of the Black Death, it is perfectly reasonable to keep wild rats as pets."

"There is a time we just have to defer to expert knowledge and the pre-supposition that the government prefers most of its citizens to stay alive rather than die."


It was also revealed today that hunting and shooting groups will be able to hold gatherings of up to 30 people because of an exemption hat allows licensed "outdoor activity".

They also have an exemption for when "a gathering takes place outdoors (whether or not in a public outdoor space)" for the purpose of a "physical activity which is carried on outdoors" and the organiser holds a licence, permit or certificate.

Guidance published by Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs today said "shooting (including hunting and paintball that requires a shotgun or firearms certificate licence" counts as a "sport or organised outdoor activity".

It comes after Home Secretary Priti Patel said people who break the rules anddon't heed the fines will be handed criminal records.

Writing in The Sun, Ms Patel, said: “These new rules are easier to understand and easier for the police to enforce.

The Sun Says


WE fear for the Britain created by Boris Johnson’s new “rule of six”.

We understand his motive, of course. A second national lockdown would be utter madness given how low deaths and hospitalisations still are. But his scientists, stung by past failures, insist he must act radically to halt the rise in cases, mainly among the young.

It would be a brave PM to ignore them entirely. So here is his solution: A blunt tool which for months will penalise not just the age groups responsible for the new uptick, but everyone.

Which will wreck big family Christmas gatherings millions have always enjoyed. Is that really justified, PM?

Plenty will disobey. But they will be dobbed in by nosy neighbours, fined by a sinister busybody army of council “Covid marshals” and raided by police enforcing the new rule with far more zeal than they ever apply to illegal street protests.

It is not just a battering for our national confidence. It is a recipe for disharmony and ­disorder with no end in sight.

Until, that is, the vaccine we were once promised by October is ever released. Which it may never be. Or unless Boris’s apparent fantasy, of rolling out millions of near-instant daily tests within months, somehow becomes reality.

We seriously doubt that too, given the problems with the Government’s ­current “world-class” testing regime.

Maybe the PM is right. But it looks to us like a sledgehammer to crack a nut.

“I know that, as part of our national effort, the law-abiding majority will stick to these new rules. But there will be a small minority who do not, and the police have the necessary powers to take action against them.

“This disease is deadly and that is why it is right that the police enforce where people break the rules.”

And Police Minister Kit Malthouse said Brits should start snitching on their neighbours if they spy them breaking the rules.

He told BBC Radio 4: "What we're hoping we'll see for the rule of six is what we saw for the whole of lockdown which is extremely high compliance.

"In the end we all have to recognise that we have an individual duty towards our collective health and we hope that view will prevail.

"There is the non-emergency number that people can ring and report issues if they wish to."

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