The UK is slowly getting used to the easing of some lockdown measures, with new rules introduced as of today over the number of people who can meet – and where they can meet.
As of 1 June groups of up to six people can meet in England in an outdoor location, as long as social distancing measures are adhered to.
But just what are the new rules about where you can meet up with people – are gardens now allowed, or can you actually visit somebody inside their home?
Here’s what you need to know…
Is it illegal to have someone in your house?
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Technically, having someone outside of your household in your house is currently against the law – even if you happen to be partners. If you have friends or family members round they have to sit in the garden.
According to the new measures, indoor gatherings of two or more people are currently prohibited unless they are from the same household, with only a few notable exceptions to the rule.
The new regulation reads: ‘No person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place indoors, and consists of two or more persons.’ – with the indoors currently out of bounds due to the increased risk of transmission of the virus.
The Government explains on its website: ‘Close contact with people from other households means a much higher risk of transmission, and according to the scientific advice, we cannot safely allow people to see people they don’t live with indoors without the risk that the virus will spread.’
If you are found to be in somebody else’s property the police cannot force you to leave, although they still have the powers to fine and arrest people.
Can I pass through someone’s house to access their garden?
Yes, you are allowed to enter somebody’s property in order to walk through to gain access to their garden.
However you should avoid touching any surfaces when you do and wipe down any that you may come into contact with.
Can I use the toilet at someone else’s house?
If you are visiting somebody in their garden, you are allowed to enter their house to use the toilet.
However chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty previously explained that if you do this it’s vital you wipe everything down afterwards to minimise the risk of contamination.
Prof Whitty said: ‘It’s worth reinforcing: the two ways you get infections are droplets from someone coughing or speaking around you, and that’s why you need to keep the two metres.
‘And the second is through your hands and that’s why, if someone was to go into the loo because they had to do that, it’s absolutely critical that they wipe everything down, wash their hands all the way through.’
Can you stay overnight at someone’s house?
No, under current regulations you can’t stay the night at someone’s house – and this also applies to staying overnight in second homes or anywhere other than your primary residence.
There are a few notable exceptions to this rule – people can stay overnight elsewhere if they need to for work purposes – for example if they are a critical worker who needs to isolate from their family or who cannot get home after a shift – with some hotels and B&Bs having remained open to accommodate this.