Cabinet ministers have created confusion about the rules which will apply when England’s second national lockdown begins on Thursday.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick suggested that an entire household could meet up with a friend, before then contradicting himself.
And Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove apologised after incorrectly indicating that people could play a round of golf or game of tennis with a friend.
Boris Johnson’s Government is also under pressure from Nicola Sturgeon to clarify whether the furlough scheme could be extended further if Scotland decides to follow England into a lockdown.
The Prime Minister has been criticised over his handling of the second lockdown, which was announced at a hastily-arranged press conference on Saturday after some of the details leaked, and it appeared on Tuesday that not all ministers are fully on top of the new arrangements.
The official guidance states that people in England can exercise or visit outdoor public places either with their household or one person from another household – although children under school-age with a parent will not count towards the limit on two people meeting outside.
On BBC Breakfast, Mr Jenrick suggested households could go for a walk with one other person, and was questioned on this.
Presenter Louise Minchin said: “I think I heard you say that outside you can be one household, plus one other person, is that what you meant and is that right?”
Mr Jenrick replied: “Yes, that’s right.”
Ms Minchin said: “So a family could go for a walk, with, for example, a friend?”
The Housing Secretary answered: “Yes.”
However, when Ms Minchin pressed him, asking whether this applied to four people and one person, Mr Jenrick said: “Yes, so you can go out in your own household, or with one other person.”
Mr Gove admitted his mistake after wrongly suggesting that people would be able to play singles tennis or golf in pairs during the impending lockdown.
During an online question and answer session with his constituents on Monday, the MP for Surrey Heath suggested it would be possible to play singles tennis.
The Cabinet Office minister also said “we are looking at” allowing people to play golf with one other person, despite Mr Johnson so far resisting calls for golf courses to remain open.
On Tuesday morning, Mr Gove apologised for the comments on Twitter, including a link to the Government guidance.
“My apologies, I got this wrong,” he said. “Outdoor leisure facilities including tennis courts and golf courses will be closed from Thursday.”