Weddings, funerals and team sports will be excluded from new rules banning people from meeting in groups of more than six, the Prime Minister is set to announce.
Work and educational meetings are also allowed, and people with a household or support bubble of more tnan six will still be allowed to congregate.
Under the new rules it will be illegal to gather in groups larger than six anywhere in the country, indoors or outdoors.
The government had previously allowed up to 30 people to socialise together.
Any group larger than six risks being dispersed by police or fined for non-compliance.
People who disobey will face £100 fines, which will double on each subsequent occasion up to £3,200.
At a press conference tomorrow, the PM is expected to say: “We need to act now to stop the virus spreading.
“So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.
“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”
The government, Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor have jointly agreed that urgent action is necessary after seeing the number of daily positive cases rise to almost 3,000 recently.
The new rules follow a Zoom roundtable the Prime Minister had with police forces last week, where officers expressed their desire for rules on social contact to be simplified.
The rules will apply across England, to all ages, to gatherings indoors and outdoors, in private homes, public outdoor spaces and venues such as pubs and restaurants.
The changes will come into effect from Monday and reduce the legal limit on gatherings from 30 at present to six.
The rise in UK cases is following a similar pattern to other European countries. Increasing infection rates are causing rising hospitalisations in Spain and France, and deaths in Spain are now rising too.