Couples From Different Households Can Now See Each Other Without Social Distancing
Couples living in different households can now see each other without having to socially distance, the government has announced in new rules.
Since the beginning of lockdown, many people have been kept apart from their loved ones in an attempt to help stop the spread of coronavirus.
Over the past few months, restrictions have gradually eased to allow more freedom - for instance, allowing people to socialise indoors or to stay overnight in someone else's home.
However, a huge question mark has always remained looming over those in a relationship, who are no doubt keen to, ahem, spend some quality time with their other half.
Now the government has said anyone in an 'established relationship' will be able to see their partner from another household without having to socially distance, with the change coming into effect today (14 September).
The government published the new set of guidelines on Wednesday 9 September, addressing the issue in a section on social distancing.
The guidance stated: "You do not need to socially distance from anyone in your household, meaning the people you live with.
"You also do not need to socially distance from someone you're in an established relationship with, or anyone in your legally-permitted support bubble if you are in one."
An FAQ section on the government website gave more detail on the topic, responding to a question that said: "Can I see my partner/boyfriend/girlfriend if I do not live with them? Do we have to socially distance?"
The answer explained that couples no longer need to socially distance, but stressed that change was for those in an 'established' relationship.
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"People in an established relationship do not need to socially distance," it said.
"If in the early stages of a relationship, you should take particular care to follow the guidance on social distancing.
"If you intend to have close contact with someone, you should discuss how you can help to prevent risks of transmission as a couple, for example, by ensuring you are both avoiding close contact with people you do not live with."
The change is part of new rules that came into force today, which also include a ban on groups of more than six people meeting, with some exceptions such as weddings and funerals.
Anyone taking part in such prohibited gatherings could face a fixed penalty notice fine of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
Those who organise a gathering of more than 30, such as a rave or house party, could face a fine of £10,000.
The guidance applies to England only, as people in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland should follow the specific rules in place for their respective country.
If you live in an area that is experiencing a local coronavirus outbreak, where local restrictions may have been imposed, different guidance and legislation will also apply.
Find out more via the government website here.
Featured Image Credit: PA