The rule of six
The more people we interact with, the more chance the virus has to spread - this fact has not changed. We have shown we can reduce the rate of infection by following the rules - washing our hands, covering our face and keeping our space.
How many people can you meet up with
You can meet up, indoors or outdoors, with 6 people in group. It will be against the law to meet people you do not live with in a group larger than 6 (unless you are meeting as a household or support bubble).
Will the rules be enforceable
Yes. The police will have the powers to enforce these legal limits, including to issue fines (fixed penalty notice) of £100, doubling for further breaches up to a maximum of £3,200.
What makes up a household?
A household is a group of people that share a home, i.e. the people you live with.
- You don't need to socially distance from anyone in your household (ie the people you live with).
- You don't need to socially distance from someone you’re in an established relationship with.
What makes up a support bubble?
A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.
- You don't need to socially distance from anyone in your legally-permitted bubble.
Do children count in the six?
Yes. But remember everyone who lives together, or who have created a support bubble, make up a household that can be bigger than 6 people.
Can I look after my grandchildren?
Yes. People in groups of up to 6 can meet indoors or outdoors, which means you can spend time with your grandchildren. We recognise that grandparents and other relatives often provide informal childcare for young children, and this can be very important. Although you should try to maintain social distance from people you do not live with wherever possible, it may not always be practicable to do so when providing care to a young child or infant.
If you have formed a support bubble with your grandchildren’s household, which is allowed if either you or they live in a ‘single adult household’, then there can be close contact and social distancing is not necessary.
Are there any cases where these rules don't apply?
Yes there are exceptions where groups can be larger than 6 people, including:
- where everyone lives together, (a household)
- where everyone is part of the same support bubble
- where arrangements exist to support children who do not live in the same household as both their parents
- for work, and voluntary or charitable services
- for education, training, registered childcare, or providers offering before or after-school clubs for children
- fulfilling legal obligations such as attending court or jury service
- providing emergency assistance, or providing support to a vulnerable person
- for you or someone else to avoid illness, injury or harm
- participate in children’s playgroups
- wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, or for other religious life-cycle ceremonies - where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- funerals - where up to 30 people will be able to attend
- organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes (see the list of recreational team sports, outdoor sport and exercise allowed under the gyms and leisure centre guidance
- youth groups or activities
- elite sporting competition or training
- protests and political activities organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments
What about going to the pub or a restaurant?
Venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can host more than 6 people overall, but no one should visit in a group of more than six. When you visit a pub, shop, leisure venue, restaurant or place of worship you should:
- follow the limits on the number of other people you should meet with as a group (it will be illegal to be in group of more than six from outside of your household)
- avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know
- provide your contact details to the organiser so that you can be contacted if needed by the NHS Test and Trace programme
What if it's hard to socially distance?
The Government recognises it may not be possible or practicable to maintain social distancing when providing care to a young child, or person with a disability or health condition. You should do your best to limit your close contact as much as possible when providing care in these situations, and also wash your hands and opening windows for ventilation can help.
Specialist sector advice from trusted UK organisations