Does the rule of 6 include children and what are the exceptions?

Groups of up to six can meet from 29 March 2021
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  • The ‘rule of 6’ is set to return but does the rule of 6 include children? Here’s who is counted in the numbers for social mixing and what the exceptions to the rule are.

    Boris Johnson unveiled the government’s roadmap to ease the country out of it’s third national lockdown yesterday, including when schools will re-open, when travel abroad will be allowed and when the rule of 6 will return for households to be able to mix again.

    The rule of 6 will first be re-introduced from 29 March, with people able to meet outside in groups of up to six or with one other household.

    Then, from around 17 May onwards, the rule of 6 will apply indoors too. This means that six people, or two different households can meet inside in either a private home or a public space such as a restaurant or cafe.

    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.

    The government is yet to share an update on whether this rule will change following new measures to ease out of the UK’s third lockdown. However, Michael Gove previously said England’s decision to include children in the rule was “absolutely right” and enabled people to meet “in a way that is socially responsible” – so we may not see much change there.

    However, if the first three steps of the roadmap go to plan then we could see no legal limits on social contact from 21 June 2021. This would mean that the rule of six would no longer be necessary.

    kids in lockdown

    Credit: Getty

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

    Are there any exemptions where the rule of 6 does not apply to children?

    The rule of 6 only applies to ‘social settings’ – like meeting friends in a park. It does not impact things like work and education. This means that children won’t have to worry about the rule of six when they return to school on 8 March.

    ‘Wraparound childcare’ – such as breakfast clubs or after school childcare – can also return from 8 March and the rule of 6 will not apply to children in these settings either. It also doesn’t apply to childcare bubbles.

    Other exemptions to where the rule of 6 does not apply to children or babies in the UK will be at parent and child groups. Parent and child groups can return outdoors (with a maximum of 15 attendees) from 29 March 2021 and children under five years of age do not count towards the attendee limit.

    From 12 April onwards, all children’s activities can return and indoor parent and child groups will also be allowed (with a maximum of 15 attendees still). Again, children under five years of age will not count towards the attendee limit in these settings.