‘Rule of Six’
Social gatherings of more than six people in England will not be legally allowed from Monday 14 September. This applies to both indoor and outdoor settings. The new measure replaces the existing ban on more than 30 people meeting and the rule of only two households
Venues following COVID-19 secure guidelines (such as restaurants, pubs and shops) can continue to host more than six people in total, but no-one should visit in a group of greater than six – unless those people all live together or are in the same support bubble. One crucial change here is that the group of six can be made up of six individuals rather than limiting to two households.
The guidance also provides more detail on the exemptions, where groups can be larger than six people, which include:
- Where everyone lives together OR is in the same support bubble
- Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, 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)
- For education and training
- Youth groups or activities.
It will be against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes, however businesses and venues following COVID-19 Secure guidelines can still host larger groups.
You will see here that the Government has updated its Visitor Economy guidance and left in the ability to hold meetings with 30 individuals, as well as indoor and outdoor events of more than 30 people (section 2.1)
There is also a FAQ document which the Government has created to go alongside the new guidance., which goes into further detail about taking holidays and visiting outdoor and indoor attractions.
Venues required by law to record contact details
From Friday 18 September, premises where people meet socially – including pubs and restaurants – will be legally required to collect customers’ contact details and keep them for 21 days. The Government says fines will be issued to venues which don’t comply. See further detail here.
The official guidance on wearing face coverings states that, ‘You are strongly encouraged to wear a face covering in enclosed public spaces where social distancing may be difficult and where you come into contact with people you do not normally meet’.
- Shops, supermarkets and indoor shopping centres
- Indoor transport hubs and public transport
- Museums, galleries, aquariums, indoor zoos and visitor farms, or other indoor tourist, heritage or cultural sites
- Theatres and concert halls
- Public areas in hotels and hostels
- Nail, beauty and hair salons
- Indoor entertainment venues (amusement arcades, adventure activities such as laser quest, go-karting, escape rooms, heritage sites)
It is stipulated that “you can remove your face covering in order to eat and drink if reasonably necessary” but this should be in an area that is specifically for the purposes of eating and drinking.
Guidance on holidays to and from areas with local coronavirus restrictions
You can refer to the Government’s full guidance on holidays to and from areas with local restrictions here. For people travelling outside a restricted area, the guidance states that:
- If you live inside an area with local restrictions, you can go on holiday outside that area but you should only socialise indoors with members of your own household or support bubble.
- You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.
- You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household but should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.
- Sharing a caravan or boat with another household is being advised against. You should not share private vehicles to travel to your holiday destination.
Advice for accommodation providers has also been updated to cover this scenario and can be found in the Working Safely guidance.