Coronavirus: sex with someone you don't live with made illegal in England

2 June 2020, 11:13

The government's new coronavirus laws have come into place
The government's new coronavirus laws have come into place. Picture: PA
Maddie Goodfellow

By Maddie Goodfellow

Sex inside your own home with someone from another household has become illegal under coronavirus lockdown rules.

New guidelines mean "gathering" with one or more people from outside your household, in a private space such as a house or flat, will be against the law in England.

This means people cannot socialise indoors with a person from outside your household bubble.

Non-cohabiting couples could be fined up to £100 if charged.

New rules rolled out by the government read: "No person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place indoors, and consists of two or more persons."

"There is a gathering 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."

Previously, the rules did not include any wording about meeting in another person's home, just that people should "stay home" and avoid non-essential travel.

Prior to this new legislation, the person who goes inside another person’s home would have been the one breaching the rules. However, now both people could be prosecuted under the new amendment to coronavirus laws.

Reasonable excuses mean that some people can meet privately indoors, such as elite athletes, key workers and vulnerable people.

However, these reasonable excuses do not include sex, and sex in any public place is already illegal.

Downing Street has insisted police would show "discretion" and "common sense" in enforcing the new rules.

Cohabiting couples are not affected by the new laws
Cohabiting couples are not affected by the new laws. Picture: PA

Housing Minister Simon Clarke was challenged by Nick Ferrari on LBC that this is "just a ban on sex" and unenforceable.

Mr Clarke replied: "What this is about is obviously making sure that we don't have people staying away from home overnight which is something we've always discouraged because it is vitally important that people stay in their homes so we don't have any additional transmission risk in society."

When challenged that people could just have sex outside, for example in their garden, Mr Clarke said: "It is clear that the transmission rate is a lot lower in open spaces, but we obviously do not encourage people to be doing anything like that outside at this time or any other."

Paul Garlick QC, a Human Rights barrister, also told LBC: "This is going to be very difficult to enforce, you would have to have some very forward thinking police officers!

"The thing about the law is people have to respect it, and if you make laws that are unenforceable then people won't respect it and the law becomes more unenforceable."

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