New ‘rule of six' restrictions come into force today, forbidding the gathering of seven or more people, indoors or outdoors – including in hospitality venues – across England and Scotland.
In Wales the ‘rule of six' will only apply in indoor environments.
Hospitality venues will still be able to hold more than six people, but people must not be gathered in groups of more than six and separate groups must not mix socially.
In England all ages are covered by the ‘rule of six' guidance, while in Scotland those under 12 are exempt, and in Wales those under 11 will not be counted.
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.
The new rules will replace guidance preventing gatherings of more than 30 people or the meeting of more than two households indoors.
Last week prime minister Boris Johnson also announced a raft of measures to allow stronger enforcement of the rules applying to hospitality venues, including making it illegal for venues not to gather guest details for track and trace.
Police have been given powers to issue fines to individuals breaching the rules, starting at £100 and doubling with each violation to a value of £3,200.
Local authorities will be given the ability to levy fines on businesses that are not Covid secure and receive additional support in closing those that fail to meet requirements. Marshals will also be introduced in town and city centres to enforce social distancing.
In Birmingham a total ban on households mixing in private homes will be introduced from tomorrow (Tuesday 15 September) due to a localised spike in coronavirus cases. Hospitality businesses have already reported an increase in cancellations, despite the restrictions not overriding the rule of six in hospitality venues.