It looks like some of the citizens of America’s partner in the “special relationship” won’t be having as many special relationships of their own in the near future. Or if they do, they could wind up paying a stiff fine to the government. Just as many states in America are beginning to tentatively reopen their economies and carefully reemerge into the public square, Great Britain is extending their lockdown and even increasing the social austerity measures that have been in place. Specifically, new legislation coming out of Parliament yesterday forbids gatherings of two or more people (!) not living together in the same household, when such “gatherings” take place inside of a building. And as observers in the British press quickly noted, this means that bringing someone else home for some, er… intimate time, will now be punishable by law.
Having sex in your own home with someone from a different household is illegal from today, according to new legislation.
At 11.30am on Monday, a new law will be introduced to parliament which bans two people from different households in England gathering in a private place during the coronavirus lockdown.
The amendment to The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Bill states: “No person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place indoors, and consists of two or more persons.”
It comes as health officials warn that the lockdown is being lifted too quickly.
Oddly enough, you can still meet in groups of up to six people if you’re outdoors. So you won’t be dragged in by the police if you say hello to someone while walking your dog. But how is that any safer than, say, sitting in the kitchen with a friend?
And how is this even enforceable? They’re literally banning visiting your neighbor for a cup of coffee. Yes, that rules out one-night stands, but it also eliminates private conferences in the workplace unless you are classified as an essential worker. If you’re seen bringing the gentleman or lady you’ve taken a fancy to back to your place for the night you can be hit with a fine of 100 pounds. (You can get a discount and reduce the bill to fifty pounds if you pay within 14 days.) And the law clearly does seem to be aimed at sexual encounters without specifically saying it because it applies to people who “stay overnight at any place other than the place where they are living.”
There are some exceptions allowed, but they’re on the vague side. You are allowed to hold a private meeting if you have a “reasonable excuse.” Unfortunately, there is no definition of what could constitute “reasonable” provided, nor are any examples offered. One might argue that finally landing a date with that attractive person you’ve been flirting with for months would qualify as a reasonable excuse. (Of course, you should both probably go get a COVID-19 test first.)
Are the Brits seriously just going to sit there and meekly accept an order like this? I can understand the benefits of reasonable social distancing, wearing masks, etc. but you can’t just turn the entire country into a prison composed of isolation cells. And not for nothing, but government attempts at stopping people from having sex haven’t worked out all that well in the past. Parliament should tread carefully here, or the peasants may wind up revolting.