This is how much you could be fined for breaking lockdown in England as 'stay at home' rule comes into law

As a third national lockdown legally comes into effect, a raft of new measures designed to limit the spread of Covid-19 have been introduced.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed England to stay at home once more as the country looks to battle rising infection rates and hospital admissions.

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The restrictions put significant limitations on what people can do - but what fines can be imposed if someone is caught flouting the rules between now and the end of March?

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How much can you be fined for violating stay at home rules?

Among the widespread changes to everyday life include the instruction to stay at home whenever possible, except for when there is a “reasonable excuse”.

These reasons include work, volunteering, food shopping, exercise or medical reasons.

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But if the police catch someone leaving their home without what is classed as a “reasonable excuse” then a fine can be imposed.

These fines are called fixed penalty notices.

The cost of a first offence is £200, which is lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days, and £400 for a second offence. The fine is doubled for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

How much can you be fined for breaking gathering rules?

Under the rules of the third national lockdown, large gatherings are not permitted.

In fact, the rules don't allow gatherings or meetings with anyone other than the people in your household or support bubble.

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Exercise has been limited to once a day within your local area and must be done on your own, with those in your household or support bubble, or one other person.

And you must stay two metres apart from anyone not in your household.

Fines can be issued by the police if you are caught breaking these rules. The fines start at £200 for a first offence and double up to a maximum of £6,400.

Yet if you hold an illegal gathering of more than 30 people the police can issue a fine of £10,000.

What are the new Covid rules?

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The new restrictions include the following:

- People cannot leave their homes except for certain reasons like food shopping, exercise or work for those who cannot work from home 

- Closure of schools and colleges to most pupils until February half term, with remote learning taking place and no end of year exams 

- University courses will also be taught online as students should remain at home and not return to campuses

- Takeaway food deliveries are still allowed to be offered by restaurants, but the serving of alcohol is banned

- Most non-elite team sports are not permitted, sports venues such as golf courses are closed but outdoor playgrounds remain open