The government has been accused of creating “doubt and uncertainty” with its announcement of tighter coronavirus restrictions in north-east England.
People who break a new law prohibiting households from mingling indoors, including in pubs, will be fined.
But Newcastle Council leader Nick Forbes said a lack of details on the measures had led to “confusion”.
The prime minister apologized after “misspoking” about the tighter restrictions when questioned earlier.
Mr Forbes said a “gap between what was advertised in the headlines and the details people can understand” has undermined the “principle of community consent.”
“It sows confusion, it creates doubt, it creates uncertainty,” he added.
Asked about the new regulations, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “In the North East and other areas where additional measures have been taken, you should follow the advice of local authorities, but there are six in one house, six in hospitality. but if I understand correctly, not six outside. ”
He has since posted a tweet, saying, “Apologies, I misspoke today.
“In the North East, new rules mean you can’t meet people from different households in social settings indoors, including in pubs, restaurants and at home.
“You should also avoid socializing with other households outside. “
- What are the new rules of socialization in the North East?
Education Minister Gillian Keegan was previously unable to comment on whether the new restrictions prevented people from meeting outdoors in the gardens of pubs and restaurants, as well as indoors.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, she said: “I don’t know the answer to that question. “
Ms Keegan was pressed to find out how people were supposed to keep abreast of the latest restrictions when ministers couldn’t but said, “I’m sorry I couldn’t answer that question.
“I’m sure there are a lot of people out there who could – I don’t represent the Northeast. ”
The rules would be “communicated very clearly” to those affected, she said.
Mixing with other households in pub gardens or outdoor dining spaces is not illegal but goes against advice, the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) has confirmed.
DHSC was asked for further comments and asked when the new rules would be released.
He made it clear that informal childcare by family members, such as grandparents, will still be allowed, but on “an exclusive basis – always the same two households”.
Gateshead council chief Martin Gannon admitted the rules were “necessary” but said the authority had been “inundated” with people asking for details, adding: “The way these things happen is a little chaotic.
Ollie Vaulkard, who runs bars and restaurants in Tyneside and Northumberland, has decided to close all of his establishments after the new restrictions were announced.
Mr Vaulkard laid off 200 staff in March and said he spent a “six-figure sum” of family money trying to keep the premises afloat.
He added: “We are really in survival mode and we have to get to the end.
“We don’t know if it will be three weeks or three years and what will end any business is strapped for cash.
“We think we would lose money by opening our doors every day. ”
He said he would reconsider this situation on October 19, when the leave program ends.
Max Gott, who runs Bistro 46 in Jesmond, Newcastle, said he feared losing his business license amid the changing restrictions.
He said, “You have an anticipation of what the world is going to be like, then the rules come out and some are laws and some are advice.
“And then they turn advice into law and it’s too complicated and we have people calling us for advice and then having to ask for advice.
“It makes it so difficult to operate, we constantly have the feeling that if we do something wrong, it will be our license or our livelihood that is going to be criticized. “
The new home mixing laws send a strong message – although there was some initial confusion over exactly how they will be enforced.
But we also naturally wonder if these rules will be applied elsewhere. The Northwest has areas with higher infection rates.
In the north-east, only Newcastle is currently in the top 10 worst affected regions, while several regions of Greater Manchester and Merseyside are listed.
The reason for this anomaly appears to be due to the fact that leaders in the Northeast are more enthusiastic about tougher measures.
The weekend’s talks between the government and officials in the region showed a willingness to go further.
Discussions are taking place behind the scenes with officials from the Northwest. An announcement could arrive in the coming days.
Around two million people in Newcastle, Northumberland, Gateshead, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Sunderland and the Durham County Council area had already been warned to avoid mixing, but the new rules will be enforced with fines.
For those over 18, it would be £ 200 for a first offense and halved if paid within 14 days.
The second offenses would result in a fine of £ 400, which would then double for each subsequent offense to a maximum of £ 6,400.
Data updated on Monday showed that, for the week leading up to September 25, Newcastle recorded 721 new cases of coronavirus – around 238 per 100,000 population – while South Tyneside had almost 197 cases per 100,000.
The region’s lowest rate was in Redcar and Cleveland with 55 cases per 100,000.
Stuart Henderson, a County Durham project manager, said people were suffering “because many young people between the ages of 20 and 45 are selfish and unable to take their civic responsibility seriously.”
“We’ve already endured six months of lockdowns and restrictions, but now the only thing that kept me and my friends going is gone,” he added.
“The government should find a way to target them, not punish us. “
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