The government has put new public health regulations into place to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19).

What you can and cannot do

The rules are different depending on which country you are in:

Shops selling food, drink, medicines and other supplies are allowed to stay open. Places like cafes, restaurants and pubs are only allowed to open for takeaway.

More information on business closures

What we are doing

We are patrolling and talking to people if we think they are doing something that is against the guidelines.

If there is a problem we want to resolve it by communicating clearly and encouraging people to behave responsibly.

We're following 'the 4 Es': Engage. Explain. Encourage. Enforce. First we will try to engage with someone, explain how we think they are breaking the rules, and encourage them to change their behaviour to reduce the risk to public safety and health.

If people still do not follow the rules the police can:

  • tell them to disperse
  • tell parents to stop their children breaking the rules
  • fine them

If someone continues to ignore the instructions, the police can arrest them if they think it is proportionate and necessary.

Fines

Fines differ depending on which country you are in. People who do not pay a fine could be taken to court, where they could be fined an unlimited amount.

England

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 £3200

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

Reporting a social distancing violation

You can tell us about a serious breach of the coronavirus rules online.

Please make sure you understand what is and is not allowed before you get in touch with us.

We particularly want you to tell us if you see things like:

  • a large gathering of people from different households, in the park or on the streets
  • a house party with people who don’t live at the house
  • people drinking together at a pub, bar, cafe or restaurant
  • a crowded shop where people are refusing to keep their distance from each other

The Health Protection Regulations

The Health Protection Regulations include the main stay-at-home and social distancing rules that this page is based on. The regulations are slightly different in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Coronavirus Act

Under the Coronavirus Act and under exceptional circumstances the police can help healthcare professionals make sure people get tested for coronavirus and follow other medical instructions.