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 must not socialise with anybody outside your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
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 outdoors, which means you can spend time with your grandchildren. Grandparents and other relatives who provide informal childcare for young children, can continue to do so. 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:
- schools, universities and places of worship remain open
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
- exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
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:
- you should only attend a restaurant with others from your own household
- avoid social interaction with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know
- provide your contact details, NHS App QR, 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