The Prime Minister has confirmed that places of worship in England, including mosques, will be allowed to keep their doors open despite groups of six people not being allowed to gather from Monday onwards.
The new rules have been brought in amid a rise in new coronavirus cases and concerns that a second wave of the pandemic will hit the UK in the coming months.
The UK has reported another 2,659 coronavirus cases today, the fourth day running of over 2,000 reported cases.
Speaking in Downing St, Boris Johnson said the new rules were necessary to prevent a second lockdown.
He said: “So in England, from Monday, we are introducing the rule of six. You must not meet socially in groups of more than six – and if you do, you will be breaking the law. This will apply in any setting, indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub. The ban will be set out in law and it will be enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested.
“This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors. Now you only need to remember the rule of six.
“There will be some limited exemptions. For example, if a single household or support bubble is larger than six, they can still gather. COVID Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than six people in total. Within those venues however, there must not be individual groups larger than six, and groups must not mix socially or form larger groups.
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“Education and work settings are unaffected, COVID Secure weddings and funerals can go ahead, up to a limit of 30 people, and organised sport will still be able to proceed.”
The new “rule of six” means:
- Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be allowed in law from September 14.
- The new rule applies to people in private homes, indoors and outdoors, and places such as pubs, restaurants, cafes and public outdoor spaces.
- It applies to all ages.
- The rule does not apply to schools and workplaces, or weddings, funerals and organised team sport.
- A full list of exemptions is due to be published before the law changes.
- People who ignore police could be fined £100 – doubling with each offence to a maximum of £3,200.
Mosques across England began to reopen their doors in July after months of lockdown, but they have only done so with strict social distancing measures in place.