Coronavirus: Does the rule of 6 include children?

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  • With the new tier system in place from December 6, the ‘rule of six’, what is actually means and whether it includes children is on everyone’s minds once again.

    Under the new measures proposed by the government, people in tier 2 or tier 3 can meet up outside with people not in their household. This includes in outdoor pub and restaurant environments in tier 2 along with private gardens, but in tier 3 you can only meet up in public spaces as the hospitality industry is closed.

    It’s a different story for the Christmas lockdown rules as up to three different households can join over the festive period, but in the meantime who does the rule of six include? Parents and families will undoubtedly want to meet up with friends and other family members over the next few months, so do children count in the new social mixing guidelines? Find out here…

    Does the rule of 6 include children?

    Yes, the rule of 6 does include children. But it is only in England where children are specifically included in the rule of 6.

    In Wales and Scotland, they have similar rules around social gatherings, but in Wales children under 11 do not count, and in Scotland those under 12 are exempt – making it different from the rules in England.

    However, Michael Gove said England’s decision to include children in the rule was “absolutely right”. He added: “as ever, the important thing is balance – eating out, seeing friends – that is fine, provided we do so in a way that is socially responsible, that’s what the rule of six is about.”

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    Are there any exemptions for rule of 6 in the UK?

    The rule of 6 only applies to social settings, like meeting friends in a restaurant, but it does not impact things like work and education. Some office workers are still encouraged to work from home if possible, though. Other exemptions to this rule include weddings, which can now have up to 15 guests – reduced from its previous figure of 30.

    To date, funerals can still take place with up to 30 people in attendance, and places of worship will be open with social distancing measures in place. You can also socialise with your support bubble if you live alone, as updated guidelines state that the rule of 6 does not apply if: ‘everyone lives together or is in the same support bubble, or to continue existing arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents’.

    READ MORE: When does lockdown end – and what happens afterwards?

    There are also exemptions when it comes to schools or childcare, and these will be able to operate without the rule of 6 in place. Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said, “We need to get through this coronavirus with the minimal impact.

    “But it does mean that when it comes to socialising, we are unfortunately having to put in place these rules because our contact tracing system – which is now excellent – shows that the majority of the transmission of this disease is in social circumstances.”