Everything you can and can’t do this Bank Holiday weekend

The rules and guidance surrounding social distancing remain ever changing while the coronavirus pandemic continues.

A national easing of lockdown measures was brought into effect earlier this month as infection rates nationally remain much lower than at the peak of the pandemic in April and May.

But there are still rules to obey.

Recently, the government confirmed tougher fines will be coming into effect for those who break social distancing guidelines over the Bank Holiday weekend.

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A new criminal offence for people organising or facilitating unlawful gatherings will come into force on Friday, August 28 2020 – ahead of any potential Bank Holiday celebrations.

Organisers of illegal gatherings could find themselves slapped with a fine of £10,000.

Fines of £100 can continue to be issued to those who take part in any illegal gatherings while those who have already received a fine will see the amount of doubled on each offence, up to a maximum of £3,200.

The harsher fines are part of efforts to crack down on illegal gatherings while the pandemic continues.

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With the fine coming into effect in a matter of days, here is everything you can and can't do over the Bank Holiday weekend:

You can meet with up to six people

You can meet in groups of up to six people who you do not live with or who are not in your support bubble.

You can also meet people in groups of more than six people if everyone is exclusively from two households – anyone in the same support bubble counts as one household.

You can go to a pub or restaurant with people you don’t live with

Going to the pub over the Bank Holiday is practically a tradition for the majority of the country.

The government guidance states when eating or drinking out with people you do not live with – and who are not in your support bubble – you should still stick to the wider guidance on group sizes.

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This means up to two households can meet indoors, and up to either two households or six people from more than two households can meet outdoors.

Social distancing as much as possible is still advised and your venue of choice should have implemented steps to ensure COVID-19 secure guidelines are adhered to.

You don't need to maintain social distancing with people who are in your support bubble.

You can visit tourist hotspots

Visiting outdoor areas like National Parks or beaches is permitted – though it's wise to check ahead to make sure the venue is open to visitors.

You can also visit most indoor sites and attractions but the government advises you only attend these places in groups of up to two households, with anyone in your support bubble counting as one household.

You can go on a day trip

Similar to above, day trips to outdoor open spaces are allowed but you should practise social distancing from other people outside your household or support bubble.

The government suggests walking or cycling where possible but using public transport or driving is also allowed where necessary.

If you do use public transport, you must wear a face covering or face a fine.

You can stay overnight at someone else's home

Staying overnight at someone else's home is allowed, though you should maintain social distancing with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble.

The government advises taking care to maintain excellent hygiene, like regularly washing hands and surfaces, and avoiding using shared facilities like bathrooms wherever possible.

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You should also only stay overnight in groups of up to two households.

This means if you are staying overnight in someone’s home, you should only do so with members of your own household, in addition to the household of your host.

You can't take part in large gatherings

It's currently against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes, which includes gardens and other outdoor spaces.

Businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host larger groups.

This is also the case for events in public outdoor spaces that are organised by businesses, charitable or political organisations, and public bodies, provided they take reasonable steps to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment.

Any other gathering in an outdoor space or in a private home or garden must not be any larger than 30 people.

The full government guidance can be seen here.

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