I am a mother to nine – fortunately eight live with me but does the new six person rule mean I cannot see my daughter who does not live with us? From Emma Armstrong, Peterborough
The maximum number of people who can be together indoors in England is six, although there are exceptions – including single households which are larger than that, such as yours.
Another exception is that children who do not live in the same household as one of their parents are allowed to visit the other parent, even if that makes the number of people present larger than six.
However, the definition of a child is someone aged under 18, so if your daughter is 18 or older, she now counts as an adult. In that case, unless she lives alone and can form a support bubble with your household, she can only visit you if some members of your household are not there at the time.
My husband is working from home. Can I have five friends round while my husband is working in his study, providing he doesn’t join us? From Rachel Anderson, Lambeth
Unfortunately not. In England, up to six people can meet indoors. There are some exceptions, such as support group meetings or to provide childcare, but socialising with friends is subject to this ‘’rule of six’,’ even if your husband is in a different room.
The six of you could meet outdoors or indoors at a pub or café, without your husband, and that would be within the rules.
I live alone and I would like to know if I can go to the pub to see my mates. Could I form a bubble with a couple of them or is this not allowed? From Michael Connolly, Rochdale
In areas where there are no local restrictions, there would be nothing to stop you meeting mates in the pub, as long as you followed the rules when you were there – stay within a group no larger than six people, keep an appropriate social distance from each other, don’t mingle with any other people, and wear a face covering when you’re not sitting at a table drinking or eating.
This is not the same as a “bubble” which is a term used to describe a group of people with whom you can have close personal contact. As someone living alone, you could form a bubble with one other household and stay overnight at each other’s home.
However, since you live in Rochdale, matters are not so straightforward.This area is part of Greater Manchester and currently faces local restrictions.
If you’re a Rochdale resident, you are not allowed to socialise in pubs (or any public venue) with people you do not live with, unless they’re in your support bubble.
I have arranged a trip to the zoo for eight service users from the care home I work in, plus four staff members. Is this allowed? From Matt Harvey, Canterbury
In England, hospitality venues such as zoos are allowed to open, but people are not allowed to visit them in groups of more than six unless they are from the same household. If you are there for work purposes – to facilitate the trip happening – or to provide essential support as a carer, then you are exempt from the ‘’rule of six’’.
However, as there are eight service users on the trip, this would be in breach of the rules. One option would be to split into two groups of six and visit the zoo separately. Ideally you should also travel to the zoo in separate groups.
Will organised gym classes – such as spin sessions, for example – be limited to six participants? from Kay Wright
Leisure facilities are allowed to continue holding organised classes – such as spin sessions – with more than six participants.
However, people in the class won’t be able to mix socially before, during or after the class in groups of more than six.
Social distancing rules and hygiene measures, as laid out in England’s team sport guidelines, also need to be observed.
I have a child’s party organised for the 30 people we thought we were allowed. Can this still go ahead? It is in a village hall. from Vincent Scott in Thringstone
Under the new rules, people are not supposed to meet up in groups bigger than six in England, apart from in places like schools and workplaces.
Parties with more than six guests are not exempt, even if they were organised long before the rules changed.
How will the new rules affect students living in university halls with their own en-suite lockable rooms but shared common rooms/kitchen areas? My daughter is moving in with seven others. from Cathy, Northumberland
New guidance published by the Department for Education in England on Thursday says that “households” should be identified in student accommodation.
It says: “A household in halls of residence is normally considered to be those students living in the same flat, or on the same floor, who share a kitchen and/or bathroom, rather than an entire block.”
It adds that these can include more than six people, so your daughter and the other students she will live with will count as one household.
Will universities also be exempt from the new gatherings rule, as well as schools and workplaces? How will subjects such as art be taught? from Fiona Coulson in Wallingford
The new ban on meet-ups of more than six will not apply if the gathering is for work or education purposes. Workplaces and schools have been specifically listed as exemptions, and it seems likely that university seminars and lectures will also be exempt.
But the guidance will apply to other aspects of university life, such as bars and social events held on campus.
Teaching this term was already designed to be socially distant wherever possible, with staff keeping at least one metre away from students, regardless of the subject being taught.
Is religious worship (without social gatherings afterwards) for more than six people still allowed? from Annie Williams in Haworth
While people will not be allowed to meet up in groups of more than six, indoor public venues are currently allowed to host more than one group at a time, provided that the groups are socially distanced. This includes places like pubs, restaurants and places of worship.
You should not attend a place of worship in a group of more than six from outside your household or social bubble. You should also avoid mingling with anyone outside the group you are with, even if you see other people you know.
I belong to a walking group. We have been walking with members up to 12 in a group. Will we now have to walk in groups of six? from Allan Martin, Rustington, West Sussex
No. As part of the DCMS/Sport England Return to Play guidelines, walking groups under the Ramblers and Ramblers Walking for Health are allowed to continue with up to 30 people.
Full guidance has been issued on how to take part in walks safely under the Ramblers Restart programme. This may include pre-booking and also trying not to touch gates and stiles and not sharing food, drink or equipment.
We are six adults who were planning to go on holiday. If young children don’t have to social distance, would a two-year-old be counted as the seventh or are we OK? from Lia Howell
Children are counted within the six-person limit in England and Northern Ireland (but not in Scotland and Wales) – so if you are from different households then a group of seven people will breach the guidelines of how many people can meet or stay over in the same house.
We have a small bingo club (about 30 people) who meet in a hall with tables two metres apart and contact details of everyone. Can we still carry on with the new rules from Monday? from Stephen Tew, Northampton
If you are operating in a designated hospitality venue, such as a licensed bingo hall, then this would be allowed, provided people do not sit or congregate in groups of more than six. You must also keep records of everyone’s contact details for test and trace.
However, if you have hired a communal venue such as a village hall to put on your own bingo, then it is unlikely to be permitted.
Do the new rules mean I can have five friends to my house making six of us. Or does it mean you only see family members? from Ingrid Morgan, Bushey
The new rules in England are about the number of people you can mix with, not whether they are family or friends.
This means that a maximum of six people from six different households can meet, which may actually give you more freedom to see different people.
So your five friends will be able to visit you in your house from next week.
These rules do not apply in the other UK nations. In Scotland and Northern Ireland, the limit is six people from two households (children under 12 from those households do not count in the total in Scotland). In Wales a maximum of six people from one extended household can meet indoors (children aged 11 and under from extended household do not count in the total), but up to 30 people from different homes can still meet outside.
I am organising a Christmas Market and have 30 stall-holders who I will socially distance from one another. Can the market still go ahead? from Amanda Heppelthwaite, Berkshire
Shops and businesses are not being asked to close under the new rules in England.
People are still be allowed to visit shops – just not in groups larger than six, which should mean that your market will be unaffected. It is worth being aware of the updated guidance on contact tracing.