Chatting to another family from across the street falls foul of new coronavirus rules, Home Secretary Priti Patel has said.
From Monday the Government's "Rule of Six" was imposed, making it illegal to meet in groups any larger than half a dozen.
And asked if a family of four could stop and chat with another family of four in the street, she told BBC's Radio 4: "It is mingling.
"The rule of six is about making sure people are being conscientious and not putting people's health at risk.
"Coronavirus is increasing."
It comes amid fury at some exemptions to the strict new measures. There was outcry over news that groups of up to 30 can still go grouse hunting.
But the new rules could squash the community spirit that flourished during lockdown such as the Clap for Carers and socially-distanced bingo and VE Day parties
There are fears some could be left isolated and be too scared of speaking to their neighbours.
The hardline politician was also grilled over whether people should report their neighbours for breaking the rules.
She said: “If I was – I’m rarely at home – but if I saw something that was inappropriate, then quite frankly I would effectively call the police, or if it was in a social setting as well.
“It’s not about dobbing in neighbours. I think it’s all about us taking personal responsibility. If there was a big party taking place it would be right to call the police.”
“Anyone who is effectively defying the rules, they will be helping to spread coronavirus. That is not a good thing, and obviously we all have a role to play. We’re all taking personal responsibility. We all have to be conscientious to one another.”
Casual kickabouts will be banned but Sunday League football can go ahead.
Halloween will likely be a damp squib this year because trick or treaters will be forbidden from mingling.
Anyone who flouts the rules can be ordered to pay fixed penalty notices, rising up to £3,200 for repeat offenders.
In the latest blow to the hospitality sector, punters may have to head home after 9pm if Covid-19 cases don’t fall under the Rule of Six clampdown.