Coronavirus ‘Sex Ban’ Will End For Some Couples From This Weekend

Boris Johnson's announcement also means people living alone can stay overnight with partner, friends or relatives.

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England’s coronavirus “sex ban” is set to end for some couples from this weekend, under new rules announced by Boris Johnson.

From just after midnight on Saturday, people who live alone will be able to stay overnight with their partner for the first time since the lockdown began more than 11 weeks ago.

The new system of “support bubbles” will also allow single parents and isolated grandparents to visit and stay with family members as if they are in the same household, without any two-metre social distancing.

The rules – aimed at ending social isolation for all age groups – mean that, as well as couples or friends separated by the virus being able to freely visit each other, some children and grandchildren will be able to hug their parents and grandparents for the first time in weeks.

“Single adult households,” defined as either people living alone or lone parents living with children under 18, will be able to freely visit one other household under the revised rules.

The rules – which will kick in at one minute past midnight on Saturday morning – won’t however apply to couples who each live in shared households, or to children who want to visit parents who live in a couple.

If any member of the new “support bubble” shows symptoms of coronavirus, everyone in both households will have to self-isolate for 14 days.

And to avoid new chains of transmission of the virus, support bubbles have to be exclusive, and cannot be switched with different or multiple households.

Speaking at the daily No.10 press conference, Johnson said: “On social contact, I know how difficult the past months have been for people cut off from their friends and family.

“I’m making this change to help those who are particularly lonely as a result of lockdown measures. It’s a targeted intevention to limit the most harmful effects of the current social restrictions.

“It is emphatically not designed for people who don’t qualify to start meeting inside other people’s homes because that remains against the law.”

Some 11 million people live alone in England, with 8 million individuals living alone and 3 million single parents.

Government sources said the plan was aimed at helping the many lonely or isolated people who have had to endure the pandemic on their own, with only outdoor socially distanced contact allowed in recent weeks.

Asked explicitly whether the new rules meant the “sex ban” was over, a No.10 source said: “It is a fact that if you form a bubble with another household you won’t have to follow the two-metre rule.”

Lawyers and campaigners had urged the government to change the rules after new regulations introduced on June 1 made it illegal for couples who live in different homes to have sex indoors and stay overnight.

The Health Protection Regulations had previously banned people from leaving home without “reasonable excuse”, but were replaced with strict new legal curbs on where people could sleep and gather together.

Police can arrest or fine people for breaking the law, with a default penalty of £100 in England, although they do not have the power to check for violations inside properties.

Laws on public decency and indecent exposure already mean people who have sex outside can be punished.

The rules only apply to those living alone and will not mean a lifting of restrictions for multi-member households.

Government insiders accept that the “targeted intervention” will leave some others unable to benefit from the change, but stressed that gradual reforms were needed to avoid throwing away the progress made in getting the pandemic under control.


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