Having sex with someone you don’t live with is illegal from today under coronavirus lockdown laws

Brits have been banned from having sex with anyone outside of their own household under new coronavirus lockdown legislation rolled out by the Government.

Officials on Monday introduced new measures that ban people in England from socialising indoors with anyone not already in their household bubble.

Up until Monday, the person visiting another’s house would have been the one in breach of lockdown rules.

But now both people could be prosecuted under the new amendment to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 bill.

Previous rules simply stated people should “stay at home” and avoid all but essential travel, forgoing wording about meeting in private places.

But the amendment to the bill now makes clear only those with “reasonable excuses” will be allowed to meet indoors, with sex not featuring on the list of exemptions.

“No person may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living,” it says.

Those who may be deemed to have a reason for meeting others indoors are sports professionals, people attending funerals, vulnerable persons fleeing a risk of violence, carers and those with unavoidable work commitments.

For people attending a funeral of a loved one, the new rules also permit an overnight stay at a location other than their own home in line with attendance at a funeral as a member of the deceased person’s household or a close family member of the deceased person.

Meanwhile, athletes are allowed to stay in a different location to their own residence if they are training for a competition – a rule that applies to an elite athlete, a coach and a parent.

Others who will be exempt from the new rule are those moving houses and people who need to obtain medical help.

In line with the amendment, police in England will be able to tell people to leave someone’s home if they are caught breaching new lockdown rules.

Guidance issued to officers by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and College of Policing said: “You may only direct a person to return home.

“There are no powers in the Regulations to remove someone or use force.

“Fixed-penalty notices (FPNs) and arrest still apply, where appropriate.”

The document also points out the laws put in place “provide no power of entry” and last week Downing Street said police did not have the power to enter gardens to check numbers.

Officers still have existing powers at their disposal to gain entry to a property where they suspect illegal activity to be taking place, however.

In public places “direction, removal and/or use of force can still be used”, the guidance said, adding: “If you are lawfully in a private place you can only direct a prohibited gathering to disperse, or any person in the gathering to return home.

“Fixed Penalty Notices and arrest still apply, where appropriate.”

Monday’s revisions, which ushered in the latest relaxation in lockdown rules, also permit people in England to meet up with up to six people from separate households outdoors, provided they continue to follow social distancing rules.

Meanwhile, more than two million clinically vulnerable people who have been shielding from the virus for the past 10 weeks will be allowed to go outside with members of their household or one person from another household, again, as long as they maintain a safe distance.

Pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 will all be permitted to return to primary schools, while car showrooms and outdoor markets will also start to resume activity.

The move to ease the lockdown has, however, been met with concern by health experts, with the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) warning they were “increasingly concerned” that ministers are making the wrong judgment by relaxing restrictions too quickly.

ADPH president Dr Jeanelle de Gruchy said public health directors were concerned that the public was “not keeping to social distancing as it was”, with pictures emerging of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weekend.

With UK deaths linked to Covid-19 rising above 48,000, she said the Government’s new test and trace programme “is currently far from being the robust operation that is now urgently required as a safeguard to easing restrictions”.

And Dr de Gruchy added: “Directors of public health are increasingly concerned that the Government is misjudging this balancing act and lifting too many restrictions, too quickly.”

(c) Evening Standard

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