Are children and babies exempt from the rule of six?

By Claire Schofield
Monday, 14th September 2020, 11:56 am
Updated Monday, 14th September 2020, 12:38 pm
The new rules do not apply to children under the age of 12 in Scotland (Photo: Shutterstock)
The new rules do not apply to children under the age of 12 in Scotland (Photo: Shutterstock)

New rules on social gatherings came into effect in Scotland on Monday (14 September), with gatherings limited to a maximum of six people.

The new “rule of six” has been introduced in response to a rapid rise in the number of daily positive coronavirus cases across the UK, with similar rules also being implemented in England and Wales.

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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.

In Scotland, a maximum of six people from two households are allowed to meet.

The new limit applies 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.

Similar rules apply in England, with gatherings of more than six people now illegal in any setting either indoors, outdoors, at home or a pub or restaurant.

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.

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

Northern Ireland has not announced any changes to social gathering rules, 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.

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

(Photo: JPIMedia)

Do the rules apply to babies and children?

In Scotland, the new rules do not apply to children who are under the age of 12.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that children in the age bracket who are part of the two households who are meeting do not count towards the limit of six people. This means in a family of two adults and two young children, only the adults would count towards the maximum of six.

The same rule also applies in Wales to children under the age of 11.

In England, tougher measures apply, with children and babies included towards the total of six.

What happens if rules aren’t followed?

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, The Scotsman.