The prime minister admits that “perceptibly for everyone watching this, this is one of the things that people will feel is confusing”.
Boris Johnson has apologized for messing up his coronavirus rules at social gatherings.
The prime minister was asked about the latest restrictions on COVID-19 starting in northeastern England from midnight on Wednesday.
Initially, he said people could meet indoors and out in groups of six in areas where no additional coronavirus restrictions exist.
But speaking at a press conference in Exeter, he said: “In the North East and in other areas where drastic measures have been taken, you must follow the lead of the local authorities.
“It’s six at house or six at the reception but as far as I understand, not six outside.”
That was contrary to what residents had been told in Northumberland, Newcastle, North and South Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland and County.
Official guidelines warn people living there “not to associate with people outside their families or to stay at home, including restaurants”.
And hospitality workers are obliged to “take steps to ensure that people do not participate outside of their families inside and outside your premises”.
Mr Johnson ended his response during an event to promote organized skills change by acknowledging “obviously for everyone watching this, this is one of the things people will hear that is confusing”.
He later tweeted “I’m sorry, I missed you so much today” – and assured that new rules in the North East would mean that citizens “could not meet people from different families in public places in homes, including restaurants, restaurants and your home”.
The prime minister added that people should also “avoid contact with other foreign homes”, and wrote that measures “are important in controlling the spread of the coronavirus and keeping everyone safe”.
Staff accused Mr Johnson of “not knowing much”.
The party’s deputy leader Angela Rayner said: “These new restrictions will apply to major parts of the country tonight.
“The government needs to hold on.”
Shadow Legal Secretary David Lammy said Mr Johnson’s incompetence “put British lives at risk”.