Lockdown restrictions in north-east England are to be tightened in a bid to halt the rise in Covid-19 instances.
The harder measures will have an effect on about two million folks and have been introduced by Well being Secretary Matt Hancock.
He mentioned mixing between households in any indoor setting, similar to pubs and eating places, can be in opposition to the regulation from Wednesday.
Households within the area had already been suggested to keep away from mixing however the brand new ban can be enforced with fines.
Most £6,400 high-quality
Anybody discovered to be breaking the foundations and collaborating in an unlawful gathering could possibly be dispersed by police, the Division for Well being and Social Care mentioned.
These over 18 could be fined and will face a £200 cost for his or her first offence, which might be halved if paid inside 14 days.
Second offences would incur a £400 high-quality, which might then double for every subsequent offence as much as a most of £6,400.
Mr Hancock advised the Home of Commons that instances within the area had “risen sharply” and the speed of infections was now greater than 100 instances per 100,000.
Beneath the rules that got here into drive on 18 September, folks in Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and County Durham have been banned from socialising with different folks outdoors of their very own households or assist bubbles in personal properties and gardens.
They have been additionally suggested to not socialise with folks outdoors of their family in any public venue, however that was solely steering and never banned underneath regulation.
Pubs, eating places and different hospitality venues stay restricted to desk service solely and have a 22:00 curfew.
Mr Hancock mentioned: “Sadly the variety of instances continues to rise sharply.
“We all know that a lot of these infections are going down in indoor settings outdoors the house. And so, on the request of the native councils with whom we now have been working intently, we are going to introduce authorized restrictions on indoor mixing between households in any setting.”
Mr Hancock didn’t say whether or not visits to different households for casual childcare – similar to grandparents taking care of kids – would nonetheless be permitted underneath the revised guidelines.
Newcastle Metropolis Council chief Nick Forbes criticised the Well being Secretary for the way wherein the announcement was made.
“Whereas we now have been in discussions with the Authorities on potential additional restrictions, the Secretary of State has as soon as once more stood up and introduced adjustments with out telling us he was about to take action,” he mentioned.
“We wish to work constructively with the Authorities however the way in which these measures are being communicated in headlines and with out element does nothing for public confidence.
“We have now demanded readability on the brand new restrictions, testing and assist for these companies most affected.”