Britons have mocked Downing Street's 'sex ban' after ministers insisted couples in coronavirus hotspots who do not live together must stick to social distancing rules if they meet up outside even if they are in long term relationships.
One social media user tweeted a video of a BBC reporter in Greenwich Park with the caption: 'Boris Johnson announces that sex is banned indoors in London, we go live to Carol Kirkwood in Greenwich Park.'
Another tweeted 'Bozo has a back-up plan' and showed a picture of a man driving a car.
And a third expressed amusement that #dogging was trending online after Downing Street confirmed the ban for Tier Two, and posted a clip with the caption: 'Oh, behave.'
There are concerns over how Downing Street will enforce its ban, after ministers told Britons to report their neighbours if they saw something suspicious.
As social media users ridiculed the Government's policy Twitter was plastered with images mocking the change.
One posted a picture of a man in snow and said: 'The UK Government in March '21 trying to figure out why a ban on indoor sex led to a spike in winter deaths.'
Another posted a picture of their sleeping dogs with the caption: 'Oh, not that sort of #dogging. Damn, thought I was on trend for a change.'
A third warned the ban would lead to dogging, and said: '2020, a year that keeps on giving you an alternative reality.'
And the Chesham Dogging Society said: 'The so-called "sex ban" could provide an unexpected but welcome boost for the much maligned UK dogging community.
'Proof that every cloud really does have a silver lining. #goodmorningbritain.'
After the ban was announced, #dogging began trending on social media.
The Government's Covid-19 restrictions dictate that people living in tier two or tier three areas are not allowed to meet socially with friends or family indoors unless they are part of one household or form a support bubble.
People are still allowed to meet up outdoors as long as they stick to the rule of six and socially distance.
But the Government is facing criticism for failing to include an exemption for people in an 'established relationship' who do not live together.
The Government's social distancing guidelines state that 'you do not need to socially distance from anyone in your household' or from 'someone you’re in an established relationship with'.
But that exemption has not been carried over to the three tier system, leaving many couples facing the prospect of months apart.
A support bubble is defined as where a household with one adult joins with another household. The members of that combined household can then still visit each other and stay overnight.
However, living arrangements will mean many couples will be unable to form a support bubble.
Downing Street today defended the lack of an exemption for couples in an 'established relationship'.
Asked if couples living apart in tier two areas can see each other indoors, the Prime Minister's Official Spokesman said: ‘The rules on household mixing in tier two I think set out that you should mix with your own household only unless you have formed a support bubble and that obviously does apply to some couples.’
Asked if that meant that couples who do not live together in hotspot areas will now face months of not being allowed to meet indoors, the spokesman said: ‘I would put it in a different way which is what the rules set out is that there shouldn’t be mixing between different households indoors but as I said there are exemptions to that with support bubbles and in a number of cases support bubbles will involve couples who live apart.’
Asked why there is not an 'established relationship' exemption built into the tier system, the spokesman said: ‘Because the purpose of the measures that we have put in place is to break the chain of transmission in between households and the scientific advice is that there is greater transmission of the virus indoors.’
Asked if the Government expected affected couples to socially distance if they meet outside, the spokesman said: 'The rules set out that people should follow social distancing and the hands, face, space rules.’
People in tier two areas are not allowed to meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they live together or are part of a support bubble.
People can still see friends and family they do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space, and the rule of six applies.
The restrictions are even stricter in tier three areas. People are not allowed to socialise with anybody they do not live with, or are in a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden.
They can still meet in a group of no more than six in an outdoor public space like a park or a beach.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.