– What has happened?
Legislation placing restrictions on people who live in Manchester, parts of east Lancashire and West Yorkshire have been published.
They ban people from different households meeting in their homes, gardens or other private dwellings.
People are also prohibited from meeting others from different households in areas outside the lockdown zone, such as at homes in nearby towns not subject to the rules.
And people cannot meet in groups of more than 30 in public places.
– When are the laws coming into force?
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions on Gatherings) (North of England) Regulations 2020 come into force from midnight on Wednesday.
– Where do the rules apply?
Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Burnley, Hyndburn, Pendle, Rossendale, Calderdale and Kirklees for now.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock could change the lockdown zone at any time.
Existing laws in Blackburn with Darwen and Bradford have also been amended which means those areas are now also subject to these measures.
Similar restrictions also apply to Leicester under another set of laws which came into force on Monday.
– What happens if I ignore the rules?
Anyone caught flouting the rules could be fined £100 up to a maximum of £3,200 for repeat offences.
– My partner and I do not live together and are both in house shares with several other people, can we still see each other?
Not at either of your homes or anywhere else considered a private dwelling, according to the laws.
Critics have branded the laws the resurgence of the so-called “lockdown sex ban” because they prohibit encounters between people from different households in their homes and define a gathering as “when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other”.
But up to 30 people can meet in public places.
However the Government guidance still recommends adhering to social distancing measures when meeting people from other households.
– How about going on holiday or for an overnight stay in the area?
It appears this is still allowed and the law does not specify any limitations on who you can do this with.
The ban does not extend to places such as hotels, campsites, caravan parks, members’ clubs, boarding houses, or guest houses and bed and breakfast accommodation.
– Are there any other exemptions?
The rules do not apply to buildings such as care homes or children’s homes.
Those who do not have to follow the restrictions include: those who have formed a support bubble and have become “linked” households; people sharing childcare duties; people meeting for work; to attend a birth at the mother’s request; to visit a dying loved one; to fulfil a legal obligation; to move house; to care for a vulnerable person or escape injury, illness or risk of harm.
– How long are the laws in place?
The restrictions must be reviewed once every 14 days, with the first taking place by August 19.
But they could be in place for up to six months if not scrapped by the Government in the meantime.