The rule of six

From today, the new rule of six for social gatherings comes into effect - part of the government's new ‘Hands, Face, Space’ campaign, these measures will help us control and suppress the spread of coronavirus.

  • Despite the enormous sacrifices of the British people over the last few months, the latest figures have shown an increase in the number of coronavirus cases. We need to act now to stop the virus from spreading. 
  • The Prime Minister announced that, with reasonable exemptions, the number of people legally allowed to meet socially will be reduced from thirty to six. This new lower limit will make it easier for everyone to understand what is expected and for the police to identify and disperse illegal gatherings. 
  • It is absolutely critical that we all abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.

The government is simplifying and strengthening the rules – making them easier for people to understand and for the police to enforce:

  • From today, in England, it will be illegal to meet socially in groups of more than six people. This will apply in any setting – indoors or outdoors, at home or in the pub. The ban will be set out in law and enforced by the police – anyone breaking the rules risks being dispersed, fined and possibly arrested. This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing 2 households to meet indoors. Now people only need to remember the rule of six. 
  • Introducing only limited exemptions to the rule of six. If a single household or support bubble is larger than six, they can still gather. Likewise, Covid Secure venues like places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality venues can still hold more than six people in total – however, within the venues there must not be individual groups larger than six. Education and work places are unaffected. 
  • Enforcing the rules more strongly. Premises where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party for NHS Test and Trace, and retain them for 21 days. Fines will be levied against hospitality venues failing to ensure their premises are Covid Secure. And Border Force will step up enforcement efforts at the border to ensure people are complying with the quarantine rules.


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