So, what are the key changes?
- Relaxed rules: The previous restrictions on "leaving home" and "being away from home" have gone, replaced with restrictions on "staying overnight somewhere away from home". There are a similar list of exceptions with a few minor changes. This basically means "going outside" is allowed, no need for reasonable excuse now.
- Enhanced rules: The previous restrictions on "gatherings" has been extended to cover private as well as public, and has been better defined. It covers "indoors" of 2 or more people (yes, 2 people is a gathering), and "outside" of more than 6 people. The definition has been cleaned up. Previously private gatherings were not restricted as long as you were away from home with reasonable excuse (including, to everyone's amusement, to "exercise" with one person from another household).
- Changes: The exception for work purposes is now just that - no longer says you should work from home if you can. We also see elite athletes allowed in various exceptions. Several additional types of venues are now allowed to open.
What this means...
- We should have seen the end of random police stops, and road blocks, as being outside is allowed as normal now, unless a gathering of more than 6 (so the Westminster Bridge clap remains illegal).
- You can gather with up to 6 people outside even if all from different households, and social distancing is still not a legal requirement (but please do it!). This means you can gather in someone's garden as that is outside.
- You cannot "gather" in someone else's house, even as just 2 people not from same household, without one of the excuses/exceptions applying.
- Employers may be asking more people to come back to offices and work, as the requirement to work from home where possible no longer exists. They still need to meet normal Health and Safety rules, but how that plays out is not as clear cut. It is quite possible that an employer could make an assessment that means temperature check, masks, and hand sanitisers is all they need, who knows.
- There is no issue with travelling, even to Barnard Castle, as leaving home and being outside is simply allowed now. The only issue is if you travel far enough that you would have to stay overnight in a place other than your home - though simply driving over night is probably allowed.
- This is ENGLAND ONLY which creates odd effects on the border.
It is also worth noting that whilst section 6 has a non-exhaustive list of "reasonable excuse", allowing some wiggle room (e.g. a drive to check your eye sight), section 7 does not. The allowed reasons for a gathering are a complete list, meaning no wiggle room.
Is it sensible? Maybe, from what I have been reading (on the Internet) the risk of transmission is way lower outside, the fresh air, wind, UV light, and more space, all helping reduce transmission risk. So the restrictions being on "inside" does make more sense, so maybe we have more sane rules at last. We'll have to see.Adrian has not explicitly mentioned that, when these regulations come into force, if you do not live with your partner and wish to meet them and have sex, you’ve got to do it outside.— Neil Brown (@neil_neilzone) May 31, 2020
And they can bring some of their housemates too, from a CV Regs perspective. https://t.co/Me3fN4kYpp