Members of the public are being urged to follow the new ‘Rule of Six’ coronavirus guidance.
The new rules set out by the Government stipulate that gatherings must be limited to six people both indoors and outside, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.
Superintendent Elliot Foskett, said: “The threat of Coronavirus has never gone away and it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions put in place to prevent its spread.
“We will continue to take a proportionate approach to enforcing the law, engaging with groups to explain the importance of stopping the virus spreading and encourage compliance, before moving to enforcement, should they continue to flout the law. At this point a Fixed Penalty Notice with £100 fine will be issued. This will double on each further repeat offence up to £3,200.”
Supt Foskett added: “We are appealing for the public’s support in following the new guidance. The Government has introduced these regulations in a bid to prevent us returning to a full lockdown, something we all want to avoid.
“If you are concerned that someone isn’t following the guidance we ask that you report it to us via our website northants.police.uk. Crime and incident numbers are at pre-Covid levels and it is vital that we are able to answer emergency calls from the public who require urgent assistance.”
Under the new rules, people may not participate in social gatherings, in any place, in groups of more than 6 both indoors and outside, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.
Legal exemptions to the six person rule apply and permit certain gatherings in any number, for example where your household or support bubble is larger than six, where gatherings are for work or education purposes, or where parenting is being shared across multiple households.
Further exemptions also apply, such as for weddings and funerals which are limited to 30 persons, and organised team sports and events conducted in a Covid Secure way with agreed risk assessments in place. The full list of exemptions and criteria are available to view here.
Anyone contravening these requirements commits an offence, punishable by a fixed penalty notice (FPN). Where someone is reasonably believed to have committed an offence under these regulations and is 18 or over, police can issue them with an FPN in the case where:
A person contravenes the requirements restricting:
participation in gatherings or
entering or remaining in a restricted area
The amount is £100 payable within 28 days, but this is reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days. Court proceedings may be brought in cases of non-payment. The fixed penalty notice amounts double for each subsequent offence, up to £3,200 for the sixth and subsequent offences. This will take into account FPNs issued under other Restrictions Regulations.
A person contravenes the requirements relating to organisation or facilitation of a restricted gathering (either section 63 type or other relevant gathering)
A section 63 type gathering is a gathering which:
consists of more than 30 people
takes place indoors, and
would be of a kind mentioned in section 63(1) of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 if it took place in the open air, such as an unlicensed music event
A ‘relevant’ gathering is a gathering which consists of more than 30 persons and takes place:
in a private dwelling
on a vessel, other than a vessel used for public transport
on public outdoor land (except where it is operated by a business, a charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institution or a public body or is part of premises used for such); and
is not an ‘excepted’ gathering
The amount is £10,000 payable within 28 days. Court proceedings may be brought in case of non-payment