The Rule Of Six: All Your Questions, Answered
Written by Huffpost on September 10, 2020
Article Published on Thursday September 10, 2020 12:00 PM by Huffpost
The Rule Of Six: All Your Questions, Answered
The rule of six is here, banning meetings of more than six people in England from Monday September 14.
The new law will be enforced by the police and anyone breaking it risks being “dispersed, fined and possibly arrested”, said Boris Johnson during Wednesday’s Downing Street briefing.
Failure to stick to the new rules could mean a £100 fine, which will double with every subsequent offence up to £3,200.
But, as with every Covid rule to date, there are terms and conditions, exemptions and practicalities to navigate. People have a lot of questions, so we’ve attempted to answer them.
Wait, doesn’t this mean we can now see more people indoors?
Bizarrely, yes, in some circumstances. The previous rules banned more than two households from meeting indoors at once, meaning three individual friends from different households couldn’t go for dinner.
The new rule of six has replaced that rule, so now, you can technically go for dinner with five mates from different households, while abiding by social distancing rules. Some have raised concerns that the new six-person “restriction” will actually mean more people mixing.
The new rule might sound counter-intuitive, but it’s an attempt to simplify the system. Let’s face it, clarification was needed. If you’ve been anywhere near a pub or restaurant in the past two months, you’ll have seen people definitely not abiding by the two household rule, anyway.
What happens if you’re in a family bigger than six?
If you live with more than six people in one household, you’re exempt from the rule – so don’t worry, you don’t need to kick one of your children out of the family home anytime soon. You’re also exempt if your support bubble exceeds six people, e.g. if you’re a family of six, but a single relative or friend has joined your “bubble” for support, they can still see you.
If you are part of a big family, socialising will another household will be more difficult, though.
“Two whole households will no longer be able to meet if they would exceed the limit of six people,” Johnson explained in Wednesday’s briefing. “I am sorry about that. I wish that we did not have to take this step but as your prime minister, I must do what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus and to save lives.”
But, we can still go to weddings?
Yes. A family of six and a family of four are banned from meeting together indoors, but if you’re all heading to the same wedding, that’s allowed.
Weddings and funerals of up to 30 people are exempt from the six-person rule. Religious ceremonies of more than six people can also still go ahead.
“Covid-19 secure venues, such as places of worship, restaurants and hospitality venues, can still host larger numbers in total but groups of up to six must not mix or form larger groups,” the government website states.
What about gym classes?
In Wednesday’s briefing, Johnson confirmed that gyms are considered “Covid-secure” venues, meaning your usual fitness class shouldn’t be disrupted.
Depending on the size of your gym/studio, it may already be limiting the number of people who can attend each class to allow for social distancing. In theory though, large classes can still go ahead, but you must disperse straight away afterwards – no coffee catch-ups.
And kids can see each other inside school, but not outside?
Bingo. Your son or daughter might be mixing with a class of children during the day, but that doesn’t mean you can have a huge birthday party. Why? It all comes down to setting; schools have completed risk assessments, your home is a wild card.
Do we need to worry about childcare?
No, don’t panic. Several people online have been asking what this means for childcare and carers, particularly for children with special educational needs.
The government exemptions include “work”, “registered childcare”, and “providing support to a vulnerable person,” so you’re covered.
Will protests be banned?
There have also been widespread concerns that the rule of six will stop people’s right to protest – and there’s been some ingenious solutions floated.
But don’t panic – on the government’s website, protests are listed within the exceptions where groups can be larger than six people, stating: “Protests and political activities organised in compliance with Covid-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments.”
What’s the deal with sports?
Organised indoor and outdoor sports of more than six people are allowed, as long as they abide by the gyms and leisure centre guidance. You can’t grab five mates for a casual kick-about, though.
Elite sporting competitions or training programmes are also exempt, but watching sport is unlikely to return to normal anytime soon.
The organisers of any sporting event likely to attract spectators have to publish a risk assessment regarding social distancing first. Government insiders told HuffPost fans should expect a “much more limited return” of spectators to Premier League football matches and other live stadium sport, following the new law.