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The Rule of Six: Government Guidance Update


The government announced new measures this week which will be relevant to most businesses: The key points with relevant links are below and we are currently seeking clarification on several points.

Read the Guidance Here

Please contact us if you have any questions or issues you would like us to raise.

General measures and rule of six

  • From Monday 14 September, it will no longer be legal to meet socially in groups of more than 6, unless they are in a household (and support bubble) of more than 6 people. This will apply indoors and outdoors, including in private homes and hospitality settings like the pub.
  • This single measure replaces both the existing ban on gatherings of more than 30 and the current guidance on allowing two households to meet indoors.

This new guidance provides more detail on the exemptions, which include:

  • Weddings, wedding receptions and funerals up to 30. From Monday 14 September, this limit will be enforceable in law.
  • Education and training
  • Work or voluntary/charitable services
  • Some organised indoor and outdoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes (further linked details are provided on this)
  • Youth groups or activities

The guidance also clarifies that COVID-19 secure venues can continue to host people up to their social distancing capacity but that no one can visit in a group of more than 6 (except for the exemptions and where the household (including bubble) is greater than 6).

We are currently seeking confirmation as to whether tours of up to 30 people made up of groups and meetings of up to 30 people are still able to continue in COVID-19 secure venues.


  • From Friday 18 September, premises and venues where people meet socially will be legally required to request the contact details of a member of every party, record and retain these details for 21 days, and provide them to NHS Test & Trace without delay when required. Some exemptions apply. Check Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace for details.
  • The government said it will support local authorities to make further and faster use of their powers to close venues that are breaking the rules and pose a risk to public health.
  • Fines will be levied against hospitality venues that fail to ensure their premises remain COVID Secure.
  • The government will boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities by introducing COVID Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres, and by setting up a register of Environmental Health Officers that local authorities can draw upon for support.
  • The government will restrict the opening hours of premises, initially in local lockdown areas, with the option of national action in the future.

What you can and can’t do

  • The government’s frequently asked questions have also been updated to support the new guidance, with some points of relevance for tourism including:
  • People should not go on holiday in England with people outside their household (including bubble) in a group larger than 6 people
  • Where people can travel to or what they can do on a holiday is not affected provided that the group size is not exceeded
  • This does not change the guidance on what to do if someone catches Coronavirus while on holiday

Events, conferences and sport

Plans to pilot larger audiences in venues later this month will be reviewed along with the intention to return audiences to stadiums and conference centres from 1st October. That doesn’t mean the programme will be scrapped entirely. The Culture Secretary is expected to provide an update in due course.

Planned sports pilot events will be limited to smaller, safer numbers, with strict conditions to ensure social distancing and will not take place in areas where incidence is high.

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