The Rule of Six: what does it mean?

Explaining the new COVID-19 government guidance and what it means for you

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16 Sep 2020

You will have probably heard about a certain 'rule of six' in the news as the government has changed it's messaging. Here we look at what it means, why it has been brought in and what exemptions will remain in place.

Why the change?

The rate of people testing positive for COVID-19 has increased in the last few weeks in the UK, leading to concerns of a possible 'second wave'. To avoid this or a full 'lockdown' of people having to stay at home, the government has brought in this new policy in the hope of restricting the spread of the virus early on.

What does the 'rule of six' mean?

Very simply, it means that you cannot meet more than six people at a time. This applies in any setting, indoors or outdoors either in private or in public and is now enforceable by law. 

By reducing the number of people you can meet at one time, it means that if someone does have the virus they can only pass it on to a limited number of people, reducing the speed that the virus will spread. 

Are there any exceptions? 

There are exceptions where you will be allowed to be in groups larger than six people:

  • where six or more people live together or are in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both of their parents
  • for work, 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 injury, illness or harm
  • for participation in children's playgroups
  • for weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions or for other religious life-cycle ceremonies - where up to 30 people can attend
  • for funerals - where up to 30 people can attend
  • for organised indoor or outdoor sports, physical activity or fitness classes - provided the activity is are authorised under the gyms and leisure centre guidance
  • for youth groups or activities
  • for elite sporting competition or training
  • for protests and political activities organised in compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance and subject to strict risk assessments

For more information on the latest COVID advice please visit Luton Borough Council's website.

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