Boris Johnson has announced tougher penalties for those who “brazenly defy” restrictions as part of his new measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
Delivering a speech in the House of Commons on Tuesday, the prime minister said the fine for anyone failing to wear masks where required or breaching the “rule of six” will double from £100 to £200 for a first offence, and that businesses flouting the rules could be fined £10,000 or even shut down.
“We will provide the police and local authorities with the extra funding they need, a greater police presence on our streets, and the option to draw on military support where required to free up the police,” he said.
With that in mind, here’s a list of the acts can you be fined for.
Ignoring instructions to self-isolate
People in England who ignore orders to self-isolate could face fines of up to £10,00 from next week.
Fines will initially start at £1,000 and increase for repeat offenders and for “the most egregious breaches” including stopping others from self-isolating, like an employer who asks a staff member to come into work in violation of an order.
The penalties are in line with those for people who fail to quarantine for 14 days after returning to the UK from a country not on the list of low-risk nations.
The new regulations will come into force in England on September 28, although ministers are discussing with the devolved administrations for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland about extending them across the UK.
The “rule of six”
From Monday September 14, new laws came into force banning groups of more than six in England, whether gathering inside or outside.
Find yourself in a group of more than a half-dozen without a work or education exemption, and you could be on the wrong end of a penalty which doubles on each repeat offence up to a maximum number, which depends on the country you are in (see below).
In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has announced that from Wednesday people will be banned from visiting other households.
Gatherings outdoors of up to 30 people are still allowed in Wales and Northern Ireland, though new measures are expected to be announced.
In Northern Ireland, the rule of six currently applies only in Ballymena, Co Antrim, and the Belfast city council area.
Fines for not wearing face coverings where it is mandated such as public transport, shops and supermarkets were announced by the Home Office in August, with the bare-faced liable to be fined.
Scotland already had rules on face masks in shops introduced in July, Northern Ireland in August, and they were made mandatory in Wales in September.
On Tuesday Johnson also announced that in England, face coverings will now be required for retail staff, taxi passengers and hospitality customers, except where seated.
Last month, it was announced organisers of large gatherings of more than 30 people – like unlicensed music events and raves – can be subject to fines of up to £10,000 in England and Wales.
There is no similar provision in Scotland or Northern Ireland yet.
Businesses flouting rules
Covid-secure guidelines will now become legal obligations for retail, leisure and tourism firms, Johnson announced on Tuesday. Any businesses not following them can be hit with a £10,000 fine or even shut down.
What are the differences in fines across each UK country?
As announced by the prime minister on Tuesday, those aged 18 and over in England can now be fined £200 for the first offence – halved if paid within 14 days – doubling on each repeat offence up to a maximum of £3,200.
In Scotland, people aged 16 and over can be fined £60 for the first breach – lowered to £30 if paid within 28 days – doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £960.
In Wales, those aged 18 and over can be fined £60 for the first offence – lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days – doubling for each repeat offence up to a £960 maximum, and it is the same in Northern Ireland.