Sex ban for couples living apart in Tier 2 areas WILL continue, confirms Matt Hancock at Downing Street briefing
- Health Secretary confirms sex with people in different households is still banned
- Matt Hancock said couples living apart in Tier 2 or 3 areas could meet outside
- UK recorded 12,330 Covid new cases in lowest Monday toll since September
The Health Secretary told today’s Downing Street press conference that any couples living apart in Tier 2 areas could only meet up outside.
Households are allowed to mix in Tier 1 areas, whereas people in Tier 3 can only meet other households in outdoor public spaces.
Ella, from Southampton, raised the question of rules for established relationships in a video message to Mr Hancock.
The Health Secretary told today’s Downing Street press conference that any couples living apart in Tier 2 areas could only meet up outside
‘My boyfriend and I are in a long term relationship but live in separate households, so are unsure what rules apply to us,’ she said.
‘Are we allowed to see each other indoors and only outdoors despite being in an established relationship?’
Mr Hancock replied by saying the rules detailing what is ‘permitted’ could be found on the gov.uk website, but added he understood the impact the restrictions were having on couples living apart.
‘For everybody watching if you’re in a specific situation, then the best thing to do is to go and look precisely at the rules,’ he said.
Ella, from Southampton, raised the question of rules for established relationships in a video message to Mr Hancock
‘Of course I understand the impact on people who are in a long-term relationship and we have made specific provision.
‘But the general rule for those who are in Tier 2 is that the rule of six applies outdoors, including for instance in a private garden, but indoors you should only be mixing with people who are in your own household.’
In Parliament last week Boris Johnson outlined new coronavirus rules which are set to come into force in England from December 2.
The new guidance all but rules out casual hook-ups for people who live in different households and don’t have a prior relationship.
The Prime Minister confirmed that people could still meet up under the so-called ‘Rule of Six’ if their area is still under Tier 1 rules.
Tiers could cost £900m a day
The economic case for the new tier system will be set out by ministers today – after experts predicted it could cost the country £900million a day.
Amid threats of rebellion from Tory MPs, Downing Street will publish impact assessments to reveal how they decided what restrictions each area of the country will face when the tier system comes into force on Wednesday. More than 34million people are facing tougher restrictions than before the national lockdown.
The Centre for Economics & Business Research estimates the restrictions will cost the economy in England £900million a day, with high street shops and the hospitality industry bearing the brunt of the losses, caused by controls on trading.
However, people will still have to wear masks and observe social distancing when they gather in groups both indoors and outdoors making sex a rather tricky proposition.
Under Tier 2, all indoor recreation gatherings will be outlawed – although, technically, people will still be able to meet up in their back garden.
And Tier 3 restrictions will prevent people from meeting everywhere except in public places such as parks.
During the press conference today, Mr Hancock added that ‘we’ve got this virus back under control’.
It comes as Britain today recorded just 12,330 Covid-19 infections in the lowest Monday toll since September, with 205 deaths also recorded.
Department of Health figures show today’s recorded coronavirus cases are 20 per cent lower than this time last week. And the rolling seven-day average has dropped 41 per cent in a fortnight, after peaking at around 25,000 on November 16.
It is believed England’s R rate could be as low as 0.71 but is thought to stand at 0.88 – meaning the outbreak is shrinking and is below the crucial level of one across the country.
But despite this the outbreak is still only halving in size every 37 days, prompting Matt Hancock to say ‘we cannot afford to take our foot off the pedal just yet’.