The rule of six is coming back in March - but does it include children?

Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 11:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, 11:53 am
The Rule of Six will be reintroduced in March, but children under five won't count towards the limit (Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

England’s coronavirus restrictions could finally be lifted by June 21 as part of a four-stage plan unveiled by Boris Johnson.

Throughout the “cautious” plans, as things start to reopen, they will do so initially with social distancing measures and limits on how many people can meet in place.

The Rule of Six is being introduced from England’s earlier coronavirus measures, but how exactly does it work in relation to children?

Do they count towards the number of people in a group?

Here is everything you need to know.

When is the Rule of Six being reintroduced?

The first time in the Government’s roadmap that the Rule of Six will be reintroduced comes with the “limited changes” that will be introduced on Monday 29 March.

From that date, people will be able to meet outside in groups up to a maximum of six people or with one other household, though people from different households will still need to socially distance from each other.

This will apply in all outdoor settings, including private gardens.

The Government says: “Applying either limit provides greater flexibility, recognising the different situations faced by families and individuals; two households will be more helpful for families, while the Rule of Six is likely to help people in different households to reunite outdoors, including those living alone or in shared accommodation.”

Those eligible to form a support bubble will still be able to do so, enabling close contact for many of those in most need of support, and will continue to be counted as part of the same household.

When will the Rule of Six apply indoors?

The Rule of Six will be applied to indoor settings – meaning a maximum of six people or with one other household can meet inside – no earlier than the Government's proposed step three of the roadmap, which is currently hoped to begin no earlier than Monday 17 May.

Boris Johnson told MPs: “This is the point where you will be able to see your friends and family indoors subject to the rule of six or meeting of two households.

On this date, pubs and restaurants will also reopen indoors, along with cinemas, children’s play areas, hotels, hostels, B&Bs, theatres, and concert halls.

It is also hoped most restrictions on meeting outdoors will be able to be lifted, subject to a limit of 30, and larger events will be piloted using “enhanced testing”.

Are children included in the Rule of Six?

Parent and child groups can take place outdoors from 29 March with a limit of 15 attendees - children under five will not count towards this limit (Photo: Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

From 29 March, all children will be able to access outdoor childcare and supervised activities.

Parent and child groups can also take place outdoors with a limit of 15 attendees, though children under five years of age will not count towards this attendee limit.

Youngsters under five are treated the same when it comes to the Government’s guidance indoor children's activity, which is due to resume no earlier than Monday 12 April with step two of the roadmap.

While the Government’s published guidance does not state explicitly that the same will apply for the Rule of Six, it is likely that those under five will be regarded the same in any future guidance as part of the roadmap.

A version of this article originally appeared on our sister title, the Yorkshire Evening Post