At 11:30 a.m. local time on Monday, a new set of laws went into effect in the UK. Those laws are intended to codify into law its existing coronavirus restrictions. Those restrictions previously didn’t have the force of law behind them, but now, violators can be fined £100 (about $124 USD), although that fine would be cut in half to £50 ($62) if paid within 14 days.
Those new laws include a ban on “gatherings” of two or more people in any place, including private homes. Further, the new law bans people from staying overnight at any place that isn’t their home.
“Close contact with people from other households means a much higher risk of transmission, and according to the scientific advice, we cannot safely allow people to see people they don’t live with indoors without the risk that the virus will spread,” the government guidelines read.
That effectively means that, until further notice, it’s illegal for two people to have sex with each other if they aren’t living together.
There will also be no sneaking out to do the deed in a public place, as that’s already illegal in the U.K.
U.K. human rights attorney Adam Wagner was aghast at the new laws.
“I can’t believe I’m about to tweet this. From tomorrow sex between two (or more) people in a private place who do not live in the same household is a ‘gathering’ between 2 or more people and is therefore illegal,” he tweeted.
There are exceptions to the law, however. “Elite” athletes, for example, and other people whose work requires them to travel — or people who can provide a “valid excuse” — are exempt from the restrictions.
To lawyer George Pertez, those exceptions could provide something of a workaround. Someone could hire an escort to come to their home to do the act on a contractual basis, since the escort would be doing their job.
The coronavirus is, strictly speaking, not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), according to Planned Parenthood. Which is to say, it’s not spread via vaginal fluids and/or semen, in the way STDs are. However, it is spread through mucus, saliva, and respiratory droplets, which means that kissing — or even being within 6 feet of an infected person — can spread the virus. Since it’s physically impossible to have sex with someone without being within 6 feet of them, people engaging in that activity are at risk of spreading the disease.