‘Rule of six’ lockdown restriction includes children of all ages

From today the rule of six comes into force – but the rule has been broadened to include the “two household rule”. Here we explain what this means, and whether children and babies are counted

From today, March 29, the rule of six will be introduced to allow families and friends to socialise together for the first time in months.

England has been in national lockdown since the start of January 2021, and only been allowed to meet one other person from a separate household outside.

Lockdown measures started to ease with the reopening of schools on March 8, but today is the first time Brits will be able to meet more people.

Some other restrictions will also lift today – including the stay at home message.

You now no longer need a reason to leave your home – but there are still limitations on how many people you can meet – and where.

What is the rule of six?

You may remember the “rule of six” from last September, when it was implemented by the government as a way of simplifying the rules around social mixing.

However, this time the government has made a slight change with the addition of the two household rule.

So here is how it works. From today you’ll be able to meet five other people from different households outside in a public place – or in a private garden.

That means you can be a maximum of six people from six different households.

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Alternately, you can meet in a larger group from two households.

This way you can be more than six people, but they need to be from two households – including their support bubbles, if eligible.

Those who are from separate households still need to socially distance from each other, according to the normal guidelines.

Crucially – both of these sets of rules only apply outside.

Indoor mixing of households is still not allowed. The earliest friends and families will be allowed to meet indoors is May 17.

Outdoor settings both in public and private – such as a garden – is allowed.

Are children and babies included?

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The rules state that children and babies are still counted as part of the six.

Unfortunately, children of all ages are included.

But because the rule has been broadened to encompass two households, rather than a blanket ban of groups above six, the government says it will provide “greater flexibility, recognising the different situations faced by families and individuals.”

Rules on outdoor childcare and supervised activities are also easing today.

Under the new measures, parent and child groups can take place outside with a limit of 15 attendees – but children under five years old don’t count towards this limit.

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