Another COVID Sex Ban Triggered for 99 Per Cent of England

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Non-cohabiting couples under Tiers 2 and 3, covering 99 per cent of England’s residents, are not allowed to stay over each other’s houses after the end of lockdown.

The lockdown is due to end at midnight on Wednesday, with the tiered system to simultaneously come into force. With just three regions of the country in Tier 1, the rest of England will see households mixing indoors banned. Those living in Tier 2 may socialise outside in groups of no more than six, while in Tier 3 mixing is also banned in most outdoor settings.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed, according to the Daily Mail, that that meant couples who live in separate houses can not visit unless one person lives on their own and is in a “support bubble” with their partner’s household.

During a Downing Street press conference on Monday with questions invited from members of the public, “Ella from Southampton” asked about the rules of social distancing for those in an “establishment relationship” but who live in separate households.

Asking of her and her boyfriend under such circumstances, Ella said: “Can we see each other indoors? Are we only permitted to see each other outdoors, despite being in an established relationship?”

Mr Hancock responded: “The rules about exactly what is permitted in each of the tiers are on the Gov.uk website and we’re also making sure that it’s widely available through advertising.

“I start my answer with that because for everybody watching, if you’re in a specific situation, then the best thing to do is to go and look precisely at the rules.

“Now, of course, I understand the impact on people who are in a long-term relationship, and we have made specific provision.

“But the general rule for those who are in Tier 2 is that the rule of six applies outdoors, including for instance in a private garden, but indoors you should only be mixing with people who are in your own household.”

This is not the first time the British government imposed a de facto ban on non-cohabiting couples having sex, first quietly introducing such a rule in June. Considered a “gathering”, the government’s documents had said that “no person may, without reasonable excuse, stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living”.

The ban was lifted in September for those in “committed relationships”, with casual sex still prohibited, but that rule was again tightened after a reported rise in numbers of confirmed cases of coronavirus.

A governmental chief advisor for coronavirus measures, Professor Neil Ferguson, made headlines in May when he was forced to resign his advisory post after it was revealed he had twice invited his married lover to his home — in contravention of the coronavirus lockdown rules that were informed by his pandemic modelling.

Prof Ferguson appears to be still attached to the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), being listed as a “participant”. Last month, Ferguson had predicted a third lockdown after Christmas, claiming the month before that “people will die” if families spend the holiday season together.

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