Social gatherings of more than six people are set to banned in England from Monday, including in pubs, restaurants and other hospitality settings.
The government is due to set out details of the change to regulations in a press conference later today, with prime minister Boris Johnson set to argue rules need to be simplified to make them easier to enforce in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.
It is understood that people will be banned from meeting socially in groups of more than six indoors or outdoors, with some exemptions. Exceptions will be made for support bubbles of more than six people and the change in rules will not apply to workplaces, schools or Covid-secure weddings and funerals.
Enforcement is expected to be through a £100 fine, which will be doubled on each offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
Speaking ahead of today's press conference the prime minister said: "We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact, making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce."
The news came just hours after health secretary Matt Hancock announced that a spike in cases in Bolton would see hospitality businesses in the Greater Manchester borough restricted to serving takeaways only with immediate effect.
Announcing the change the health secretary had said the rise of cases in the area was "partly due to people socialising in their 20s and 30s".
The Caterer will bring you the latest from the prime minister's press conference through the day.