From Monday the number of people allowed to meet socially in England will be reduced from 30 to six.
The new measure has been introduced as coronavirus cases across the UK continue to rise, with more than 2,000 positive cases of Covid-19 recorded on Tuesday.
Police have been issued with greater freedom to break up groups and issue fines to offenders not complying.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new rules.
How does the new rule work?
Social gatherings will be limited to six people from Monday (September 14). All six people will be allowed to be from different households.
This will apply to indoor and outdoor settings including public settings such as pubs, cafes and parks, as well as private homes.
How does this differ from current rules?
Currently, up to 30 people from two households, or six from several households are allowed to gather outdoors.
Indoor gatherings have been limited to two households and six persons.
Are there any exemptions?
If your household is larger than six you will be able to gather in one larger group. This also applies to support bubbles.
Weddings and funerals are unaffected by the rules, as are team sports.
Gatherings for work and education purposes are also permitted.
What if I don’t follow the rules?
Police have been handed powers to break up gatherings of more than six people.
Non-compliance will be met with a fine starting at £100 and doubling on further offences up to a maximum of £3,200.
How long will the measures be in place?
Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to put a timescale on the new measures.
He said that measures will be in place “for the foreseeable future”.
He indicated that rules could be in place in the build up to Christmas.
He said: “I really hope we can turn this round before Christmas: “I think that, in a pandemic, Christmas is a long way off.
“Three months is a long time in a pandemic and I very much hope this strong rule, together with the local action we’ve taken in places like Bolton… I very hope much therefore this can work to do that by Christmas.”
Why have the measures been introduced?
Mr Hancock said that the new measures were “absolutely vital to protect life”.
Speaking to Sky News he said: “We have seen the increase in the number of cases sadly in the last few days.
“We have seen across Europe there is a second wave that many countries have experienced – some of those countries have then got that second wave under control.
“We are determined to take the action that keeps people safe.
“It is incredibly important that everybody follows these new rules and we will be bringing in strict enforcement so that they can be followed.”