It is now illegal for someone to leave their household to gather elsewhere with another person to have sex in the United Kingdom due to the global coronavirus pandemic, but the police have no enforcement mechanism.
New guidelines barring gatherings of two people from different households went into effect Monday, June 1, and will last indefinitely while the nation remains on lockdown in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, The Sun reported last week.
“No person may participate in a gathering which takes place in a public or private place indoors, and consists of two or more persons,” the British parliament’s document says. “There is a gathering when two or more people are present together in the same place in order to engage in any form of social interaction with each other, or to undertake any other activity with each other.”
Last month, the possibility of such a law was previously mentioned as a joke, Forbes reported. Now, the joke has been turned on the British government.
The hashtag on Twitter, “#Sexban,” began trending when the news broke. Some users began immediately making fun of the idea, pointing out the guidelines don’t limit meeting in gatherings of six in public.
“You can, therefore, work…go shopping…but it is ILLEGAL to have sex with someone outside your household,” one commenter wrote.
One user suggested the creation of special drones to enforce the rule.
“Lazy legislation could mean banning sex inside, but since the weather is good…you can always try outside,” another wrote. Sex in public is illegal, the Sun reports.
“Do these rules allow couples to copulate outside?” LBC radio asked Secretary of State for Housing Simon Clark.
“It is fair to say that the risk of coronavirus transmission is much lower in the open air than in the indoor space, but obviously we do not encourage people to do this kind of thing out right now, or any other time,” Clark answered.
A U.K. official said it is unlikely that the new law will be enforced. A spokesman said it might be enforced if someone is suspected of “serious criminal activity,” but under normal circumstances, the police do not have the power to enter someone’s home.
“The police will do as they have done since the beginning of the health regulations being in place,” the spokesman said. “They will be exercising their common sense and engaging with the public and only issuing fixed penalty notices when they believe it’s a last resort.”