As of today, the 'rule of six' is now in effect across the UK. No more than six people can gather at any one time indoors or outdoors in the UK.
In Scotland, children under the age of 12 are exempt from the ‘rule of six’. In Wales, children under the age of 11 are exempt, and the ‘rule of six’ only applies to indoor gatherings. The rule applies both indoors and outdoors in England.
The ‘rule of six’ has been brought into place due to an increase in COVID-19’s R number. The rate of infection has increased from below 1 to between 1 and 1.2. The rise in infection rates means that restrictions need to be put into place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Sunday saw another 3,330 new positive cases, and five more deaths, recorded. The UK government coronavirus dashboard reports the total number of deaths across the UK is now sitting at 41,628.
Kit Malthouse, Minister for Crime & Policing, told the BBC if people see others gathering in groups of more than six, they should use the non-emergency contact number to report them to the police. He commented, "If they are concerned and they do see that kind of thing then absolutely they should," adding people should report neighbours who are breaching the rules.
Mr Malthouse added that so-called "COVID marshals" had proved useful across the country during lockdown. He told the BBC, "The intention is that we roll those out across the country," with funding to be decided shortly by the Treasury. There are, however, still many questions surrounding who will fund these marshals and how they will do so.
Martin Hewlitt, National Police Chiefs' Council chairman, told the BBC officers would continue in the first instance to explain the rules to people. Hewlitt said, "We will carry on enforcing these in the same way we have been doing this for what's now nearly six months."
However, the West Yorkshire Police Federation has expressed concerns staff are already spread thin and relying solely on the police to enforce the new law is unrealistic.
Hewitt says that preventing the spread of coronavirus is "a shared effort" and that people also need to take personal responsibility and stick to the limits set out by the government.
Groups of more than six who gather can be broken up by the police. Members of the offending group can face fines of £100 for their first offence which will double on each further offence. Fines of up to £3,200 can be issued.
Home Secretary Priti Patel has also urged the public not to break the rules, saying, "The recent rise in cases makes it clear that more needs to be done to stop the spread of this disease".
There are some circumstances and also specific groups that are exempt from the 'rule of six'. The rule does not apply to schools and workplaces. Weddings, funerals and organised team sports are also exempt from the rule. The UK Government has published a full list of exemptions for those living in England.