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Rule of six explained: What you can and can’t do from today


These will still be allowed to go ahead, with ceremonies and receptions of up to 30 people permitted. However, Mr Johnson made clear that they must be conducted in a Covid-secure way. Guests will have to stand or sit at least one metre apart, as well as taking other safety precautions. 

Read more: New covid rules for weddings


These can continue to occur, with 30 people allowed to pay their respects. The Government previously faced criticism at the outset of the pandemic when guidance limited mourners to groups of between 5 and 10. 

Funeral directors accused councils of misinterpreting lockdown rules by banning family members from crematoria and graveyards and going “way beyond” their legal powers.

Speaking later, Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said he regretted the move because it meant that “in the peak of the pandemic, lots of people didn’t go to the funeral even of someone they’ve been married to for 50 years”.

Schools and offices

Schools and workplaces continue to operate under existing Covid guidelines, which include year groups being kept in bubbles, classrooms reconfigured and masks worn in communal areas. 

Mr Johnson said that plans for universities to reopen later this month remained unchanged.

Workers will still be permitted to travel to the office, again under the proviso that they adhere to the social distancing rules and guidance published by the Department for Business. 

Read more: Will schools close again?

Pubs and restaurants

While groups will be limited to six, Covid-secure hospitality venues will still be able to hold larger numbers of people. However, they will now be legally required to request Test and Trace information from customers and keep the details for 21 days. This used to be voluntary. Gyms will also remain open

Read more: Will pubs and restaurants close again?

Places of worship

Churches, synagogues, mosques and temples will remain open, although congregations will be required to stay at least one-metre apart. Under the existing guidance, services are expected to conclude as quickly as possible, with worshippers encouraged to leave “promptly” afterwards. 

It came after the Archbishop of Canterbury confirmed that the rule of six would not apply to churches, writing on Twitter:”Worship is the work of God – not a social gathering – and gives the strength to love and serve.”

Will I be punished for breaking the rules?

The Government hope the new rules will be simpler for people to understand. It will also make it easier for the police to break up large gatherings.

Failure to stick to the new rules could mean a £100 fine, which will double with every subsequent offence up to £3,200.

What does the Prime Minister say?

In the press briefing on September 9, Boris Johnson said:

“The reason that we’re doing this… is to prevent another wholesale national lockdown of the kind that we had in March, that is the objective.”

“We need to act now to stop the virus spreading. So we are simplifying and strengthening the rules on social contact – making them easier to understand and for the police to enforce.

“It is absolutely critical that people now abide by these rules and remember the basics – washing your hands, covering your face, keeping space from others, and getting a test if you have symptoms.”

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