Are children and babies exempt from the rule of six?

Children and babies are included in the group of six in England (Photo: Shutterstock)Children and babies are included in the group of six in England (Photo: Shutterstock)
Children and babies are included in the group of six in England (Photo: Shutterstock)

New rules on social gatherings came into effect across the UK on Monday (14 September), with gatherings now cut from 30 people to a maximum of six.

The new “rule of six” has been introduced in response to a rapid rise in the number of daily positive coronavirus cases and applies in England, Wales and Scotland.

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But what does the law say about babies and children? Here’s what you need to know.

What is the rule of six?

The rule of six stipulates that no more than six people can meet in a group, both indoors and outdoors, as of Monday 14 September.

The tighter restrictions apply in England, Wales and Scotland, but each devolved administration is implementing the rules slightly differently.

In England, gatherings of more than six people are now illegal in any setting either indoors, outdoors, at home or a pub or restaurant.

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Single households, or support bubbles that are larger than six, will still be able to gather together.

Covid-secure venues, including places of worship, gyms, restaurants and hospitality settings, are still permitted to hold more than six people in total, and education and work settings are not affected by the new rules.

Additionally, weddings and funerals can still take place with a limit of 30 people providing they are Covid-secure.

In Wales, people are now only permitted to meet in groups of six or less indoors, with all people in attendance belonging to the same extended household group. Up to four households are able to join together to form an extended household.

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People are also still allowed to meet up in groups of up to 30 outdoors as long as social distancing is maintained.

In Scotland, a maximum of six people from two households can meet, with the limit applying in restaurants, pubs, beer gardens, as well as in homes.

Up to 20 people can still attend weddings, civil partnerships and funerals, along with receptions and wakes, and there are some exceptions for organised sports and places of worship.

Northern Ireland has not announced any changes in regard to social gatherings, but the number of people who can gather indoors in a private home has already been reduced from 10 people from four households to six people from two households. The change came last month due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

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Currently, outdoor gatherings permit up to 15 people to meet.

(Photo: JPIMedia)(Photo: JPIMedia)
(Photo: JPIMedia)

Do the rules apply to babies and children?

In England, children and babies are included in the group of six.

However, in Wales the rules differ slightly, with children under the age of 11 exempt from the rules. This means in a family of two adults and two young children, only the adults would count towards the total limit of six.

Similar rules also apply in Scotland, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirming that children aged under 12 who are part of the two households meeting do not count towards the limit of six people.

What happens if rules aren’t followed?

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If people fail to comply with the new rules, they could be issued with a fine.

Police will have the power to disperse gatherings of more than six people from Monday (14 September) and issue fines ranging from £100 up to £3,200.

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