Where in the UK is it illegal to meet up with friends or family indoors?

It’s no secret that the lockdown restrictions in the UK are rather confusing – even Prime Minister Boris Johnson had trouble explaining regional restrictions for the North East, mistakenly suggesting the ‘rule of six’ did not apply to gatherings outside.

Sometimes you just want to let off some steam and meet up with your mates at the pub, but you don’t want to accidentally break the rules.

With fines for breaking social gathering rules on the rise, you don’t want your pint costing you more than it’s worth – even a £200 Guinness is a bit steep for Manchester.

Here is all you need to know about mixing households indoors.

Where in the UK is it illegal to meet indoors?

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Each country in the UK has its own rules around socially gathering inside private homes and public venues.

In the map below, blue indicates an area where meeting other households inside private homes is banned.

The areas in red are those where meeting other households inside private homes and public hospitality venues (for example, pubs, bars, and restaurants) are banned.

The unshaded areas are where citizens can meet with other households anywhere, subject to local restrictions.

The information is correct as of October 3.

Measures are under constant review – check gov.uk for the latest UK lockdown rule changes.

England

In England, the current guidance states that you may mix with other households inside private homes and public venues, so long as the ‘rule of six’, the 10pm hospitality curfew, and social distancing rules are observed.

The following areas are not allowed to meet with other households inside public hospitality venues or private homes:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council
  • Blackpool Council
  • Bolton Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Burnley Borough Council
  • Bury Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Chorley Borough Council
  • City of Wolverhampton Council
  • Durham County Council
  • Fylde Borough Council
  • Gateshead Council
  • Halton Borough Council
  • Hartlepool Borough Council
  • Hyndburn Borough Council
  • Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Lancaster City Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Leicester City Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Manchester City Council
  • Middlesbrough Borough Council
  • Newcastle City Council
  • North Tyneside Council
  • Northumberland County Council
  • Oadby and Wigston Borough Council
  • Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Pendle Borough Council
  • Preston City Council
  • Ribble Valley Borough Council
  • Rochdale Borough Council
  • Rossendale Borough Council
  • Salford City Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sefton Borough Council
  • Solihull  Metropolitan Borough Council
  • South Ribble Borough Council
  • South Tyneside Council
  • St Helens Borough Council
  • Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Sunderland City Council
  • Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • West Lancashire Borough Council
  • Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Wirral Metropolitan District Council
  • Wyre Borough Council
  • Wolverhampton City Council

The following areas can meet with other households inside public hospitality venues, but not inside private homes:

  • Birmingham City Council
  • Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Wolverhampton City Council
  • Leeds City Council
  • Bradford Metropolitan District Council
  • Kirklees Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

Scotland

There is currently a blanket ban across Scotland on household mixing inside private homes, outside of your ‘extended household.’

You may mix with only one other household when visiting a public hospitality venue like a pub or restaurant.

Wales

There is now a blanket ban across Wales on households mixing in private homes, outside of their ‘extended household’.

You may continue to meet up at public hospitality venues with people both in and outside your extended household, so long as the ‘rule of six’, the 10pm hospitality curfew, and social distancing rules are observed.

On top of this rule, the following areas may not mix with other households, including their ‘extended household’, indoors:

  • Conwy
  • Denbighshire
  • Flintshire
  • Wrexham
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Torfaen
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Llanelli
  • Cardiff
  • Swansea
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Bridgend
  • Blaenau Gwen
  • Newport
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Caerphilly

Northern Ireland

The social gathering rules are the same across the whole of Northern Ireland.

The entire population have been told they must avoid mixing indoors with people from another household.

No more than six people from two households to meet in private gardens.

The exemptions to the social gathering regulations include if you all live in the same household or ‘bubble’ – either a support bubble, or for childcare.

Other exemptions include:

  • Attending a birth at the mother’s request
  • Visiting a close family member or friend you reasonably believe is dying
  • Fulfilling a legal obligation
  • For work, education, training or childcare
  • Giving emergency assistance, avoiding injury or illness or escaping a risk of harm
  • Facilitating a house move
  • Giving care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • Allowing children of separated parents to split time between both their houses.

What can you be fined for breaking social gathering rules?

The fines for each country vary in amount and minimum age.

England

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days
  • £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400

Wales

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £60 for the first offence, which may be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • £120 for the second offence and for each further offence

Scotland

People aged 16 or over can be fined:

  • £60 for the first offence, lowered to £30 if paid within 28 days
  • £120 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £960

Northern Ireland

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

  • £60 for the first offence, lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • £120 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £960

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