Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others

Rules on staying safe and protecting others to help suppress coronavirus (COVID-19).

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others
Compliance and penalties

Compliance and penalties

These measures will reduce our day to day contact with other people. They are a vital part of our efforts to  reduce the rate of transmission of coronavirus.

 The police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce the law where people do not comply.

If you gather in public in groups that include more than 6 people or people from more than 2 households, attend a party that breaches the restrictions in the regulations or do not comply with the rules on face coverings on public transport or in indoor public spaces, the police may:

  • instruct you to leave an area or disperse
  • instruct you to take steps to stop your children breaking these rules if they have already done so
  • take you home – or arrest you – if you do not follow their instructions or where they deem it necessary

If you attend a social gathering in a private home where 16 or more people are present from more than one household, and this is not for specific permitted purposes such as work, the police have the power to enter that property to enforce the restrictions in these regulations. This power can only be used if the police have first requested that the unlawful action stop and this request has not been complied with.

The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures and we expect the public to act responsibly in order to save lives.

However, if they believe you have broken these rules and you are 18 or over – or you refuse to follow their instructions – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days). 

If a person has already received a fixed penalty notice, the amount will increase to £120 and double on each further repeat offence up to a maximum of £960.

We will keep this under review and will increase the penalties if it becomes clear that this is necessary to ensure compliance.   

Similarly, a business or venue operating in contravention with these measures will be committing an offence.

Businesses and venues that breach the regulations will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially fixed penalties. Local authorities working with the Health and Safety Executive and with the support of Police Scotland, are empowered to issue prohibition notices to require compliance with the Regulations including requiring that an activity ceases.

For both individuals and companies, if you refuse to pay a fixed penalty or the police consider it necessary, you may also be taken to court, and face the statutory maximum level of fines (£10,000). 

These measures are in force for a further 6 months, unless all, or parts are revoked. They were reviewed on 10 September 2020 and are being retained. They will be reviewed again no later than 21 days from that date.



First published: 23 Sep 2020 Last updated: 23 Sep 2020 -