STRICT new measures will come into force for St Helens on Tuesday in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The tighter restrictions follow an alarming surge in confirmed Covid-19 cases across the borough and neighbouring areas over the past two weeks.

An initial announcement was made on Friday afternoon about the rules but today the Government has released its official in-depth guidance.

The rest of Merseyside, along with Warrington, Halton and parts of Lancashire are among the areas facing additional restrictions from Tuesday.

Here’s what you can and can’t do after midnight based on the information listed on

Social contact

If you live in one of the affected areas, you must not:

• host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble

• meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected area, unless they’re in your support bubble

What is a support bubble?

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis). Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

When can someone come into my home?

People can still come inside your home or garden for specific purposes, set out in law:

• where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble

• to attend a birth at the mother’s request

• to visit a person who is dying

• to fulfil a legal obligation

• for work purposes, or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes)

• for the purposes of education or training

• for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider

• to provide emergency assistance

• to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm

• to facilitate a house move

• to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person

• to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents

If the rules are breached what action can police take?

The police are able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

St Helens Star:

People aged 18 or over can be fined:

• £100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days

• £200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200

The government has also introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fixed penalty notices of £10,000 to those who break the law.

Rule of six

As of Monday, September 14, when meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6.

If you live in the affected local areas, you must not meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble.

Additional advice

In addition to these restrictions, people are ADVISED they should not:

• socialise with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble, in any public venue. This applies to inside and outside of the affected areas. Examples of public venues include pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops, places of worship, community centres, leisure and entertainment venues, or visitor attractions

• Visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances

  • Businesses or event organisers within the affected are asked to take steps to ensure people do not socialise with people they do not live with, in line with Covid-19 secure guidance.

Business and venue restrictions - table service and curfews

Nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques must remain closed nationally, including in the affected areas.

And from September 22 in all areas affected, hospitality venues must only sell food and drink for consumption on the premises if it is served to customers sitting at a table. They may also sell food and drink for consumption off the premises.

Hospitality venues include:

• restaurants, including hotel dining rooms and members’ clubs

• cafes (not including cafes or canteens at workplaces where there is no practical alternative for staff at that workplace, cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, schools, prisons and establishments intended for use for naval, military or air force purposes, or services and for providing food or drink to the homeless)

• bars including bars in hotels or members’ clubs

• pubs

• social clubs

• casinos

From 22 September and for all areas affected, the following businesses and venues must close from 10pm to 5am each day

• the hospitality businesses and venues listed above

• amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities

• funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks and adventure parks and activities

• bingo halls

• concert halls

From September 22 and for all areas affected, businesses and venues can still sell food and drinks for consumption off the premises between the hours of 10pm and 5am but only for delivery service in response to orders received:

• through a website, or otherwise by online communication

• by telephone, including orders by text message

• by post

Travel restrictions

People should follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the affected areas.

People must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England (as well as other indoor premises). They will be breaking the law if they fail to do so and could be fined. Some people do not have to wear a face covering including for age, health, or disability reasons.

Car sharing

People should try not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble. If you need to, try to:

• share the car with the same people each time

• keep to small groups of people at any one time

• open windows for ventilation

• travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow

• consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle

• clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch

• ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering

Public transport

In the affected local areas, people are advised they should only use public transport for essential reasons. People are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and to plan your journey in advance, avoiding busy times and routes if possible.

Examples of essential reasons include:

• to get to and from work

• to get essential food or medical supplies including click and collect services

• to support someone who is vulnerable, if no-one else can do so

• to travel to and from the homes of others in your support bubble

• to attend an early years setting, school or college, or to accompany a child who is attending an early years setting, school or college, where necessary

• to fulfil legal obligations

• to seek medical care, or avoid illness, injury or harm

You can travel outside your area. However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they’re in your support bubble. You can still go on holiday outside of the affected areas, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

There is separate guidance on what to do if you have booked holiday accommodation in an area with local restrictions.

Team sport and physical activity

People can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6. This can be in any public place – indoors or outdoors – but not in a private outdoor space such as a garden or inside a private home.

These activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity, and/or involve someone who has received an official licence to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance.

People should only be playing team sports where the relevant governing body has published guidance on how to do so safely. See a list of team sports governing bodies which have developed guidance. For all other sports, guidance is available from your governing body and details on how to safely undertake this activity within an organised environment.

Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you should limit your social interaction with other participants. The relevant indoor sport facilities guidance or outdoor guidance must be followed for these activities. Organised sport and physical activity events are allowed provided they follow guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.

From 22 September and for all areas affected, it is ADVISED that people should not attend amateur or professional sporting events as a spectator in the areas affected. If you do attend, you must remain socially distanced and groups of no more than 6.

Weddings and funerals

A maximum of 30 people should attend these events. Anyone working at these ceremonies or events are not included as part of the person limit.

These events should comply with the Covid-19 secure guidance and venue capacity. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.

Religious ceremonies and places of worship

People may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but should socially distance from people outside of their household. This means maintaining a distance of two metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).

If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.

Going to work

People living inside and outside of the affected areas can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces should implement COVID-19 secure guidance.