Home World Europe Coronavirus: What does the rule of six mean for me?

Coronavirus: What does the rule of six mean for me?
Coronavirus: What does the rule of six mean for me? avatar

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From Monday, Scotland's fight against coronavirus is a numbers game, and that magic number is six.

Six people, inside or out, is the maximum number allowed to meet, in a bid to cut the increasing transmission of coronavirus.

But with exceptions and implications for other existing rules, we try to answer your questions on what this means for you.

We have asked public health experts and checked the latest Scottish government guidance to answer your individual questions about the key areas affected.

What are the new rules?

The number of people who can gather together, indoors or outdoors, will be set at a maximum of six from two households.

The restrictions do not apply where there is other sector-specific guidance in force, for example for gyms, for childcare or for organised sports, and there will be some other limited exceptions for larger households, education, and places of worship.

But it does apply to hospitality where customers will also be asked to wear face coverings indoors at the times when they are not eating and drinking.

Where it doesn't apply is in areas already under additional local measures.

Glasgow, North and South Lanarkshire, East and West Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire have additional measures, where more than 1.75 million people are being advised not to visit other households indoors.

Family and children

Q: I have a big family, so there are six of us before we even meet anyone else. Can we see anyone?

A: The Scottish government has clarified that the main thing here is the number of households. If that sticks to two, larger families can get together. As long as there are no more than six over 12s, children under 12 aren't counted towards the six.

Q: We are moving our son into university halls this weekend. How will it work for him?

A: The Scottish government's clinical director Prof Jason Leitch Leitch said there is a whole separate set of guidance for higher and further education. He said: "If you live in shared accommodation, for example a group of four sharing a kitchen/bathroom, then you create a new household. If you live in large halls with your own room, own cooking facilities/bathroom, you are a household all of your own." Note that hospitality rules apply in student areas and eating places – two households, six people, social distancing.

Q: I live in Dumfries and my mum and sister live in Carlisle. Is it right that I can visit my mum when my sister is there, but both of them can't visit me together?

A: The Scottish government says you should follow the rules for the country you are in and limit household mixing wherever you can.

Q: I live in Glasgow where we can't host anyone in my house or visit any other households for now. Can we visit our daughter in England?

A: No, you can't. Under local restrictions you cannot visit people in other areas.

Q: If you are single and have formed a "bubble" with another household, is that one or two households for the purpose of the restrictions?

A: Your bubble counts as one household.

Celebrations and holidays

Q: Can my seven-year-old son have four of his schoolfriends over for a birthday tea?

Nicola Sturgeon said on Friday that events with lots of children from different households unfortunately couldn't go ahead, but she had asked for "additional expert advice to see whether in some circumstances we could exempt children from the two household rule as well." This could mean that children's birthday parties could go ahead on a limited basis as long as adults complied with the limits. This will be clarified in the next few days.

Q: My daughter is supposed to be getting married next week after cancelling her wedding twice. The reception is for 15 people and is supposed to be taking place in our big garden. Can this go ahead?

A: Jillian Evans is head of health intelligence at NHS Grampian and says this does not look good. She said: "My reading is that for the ceremony itself, indoors in a public place, you can have up to 20 people including the couple, the witnesses and the guests. But now with the reception, the same rules apply for indoor and outdoor gatherings at home. You will be confined to six people and two households."

Q: I live in England and have a self-catering holiday booked in Scotland with five other people from two other families. Can I go?

A: The simple answer is no. Two households and six people applies.

Q: Can I meet my two friends in the pub?

A: Only if they are from the same household. All previous regulations regarding hospitality have been superseded by the six person, two household rule.


Q: Can I meet friends to play golf or is it only one household?

A: This is a case of checking your sport-specific rules. Each sports governing body has agreed rules with the Scottish government. Scottish Golf says on-course golf can continue with up to four players from four households participating together. However, hospitality rules apply to any post-round drinks in the club house.

Q: If I regularly run outside with a group of friends, is that still allowed?

A: Yes – provided physical distancing guidelines are adhered to.

Work and services

Q: Are we currently allowed to car share between households if it's just two households?

A: No. Scottish government advisers tell us this has never been allowed except for caring or essential visits such as hospital trips.

Q: I'm in East Dunbartonshire (under restrictions) – can I still have someone in to clean my house and can I have a repair man in?

A; Yes, workers are allowed with provided appropriate precautions are taken and the latest guidance adhered to.

Q: Can three workmen travel in the front seat of a white van?

A: The Scottish government says no – car sharing is for essential journeys only.

Q: Are mobile hairdressers allowed in people's homes?

A: Yes, as long as the hairdresser adheres to guidance within the beauty/hairdressing sector and uses appropriate PPE.

Q: Does the rule of six apply only to social gatherings , or also to business management meetings in an office and to club committee meetings?

A: Social gatherings, but it should be a guide to restrict all contact too. Club Committee meetings are not essential and should be taking place online. The default position with work remains at home.

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