Lockdown rules: Who and where is exempt from new lockdown rules?

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From Monday, September 14, rules around socialising will change to stop the increased spread of coronavirus throughout England. Dubbed the ‘rule of six’, gatherings are now limited to six people aside from some special settings.

Announced in Boris Johnson’s latest press conference that the new limit would apply to almost all social gatherings, regardless of the environment.

This means meeting in a pub, restaurant or other public space with more than six friends or family is no longer allowed.

The absolute maximum for any social gathering is 30 – and this is only permitted in certain circumstances.

So who and where is exempt from the new COVID rules?

Areas exempt from the new ‘rule of six’ are:


Schools have now returned up and down the UK after a prolonged break which began with the nationwide lockdown.

Naturally it is impossible to reduce class sizes to no more than six students, so schools are exempt from any new rules.

Various measures are in place to keep children safe from the virus, including the use of face masks in some settings and classes being ‘bubbled’.

Weddings and funerals

Weddings are still permitted to go ahead with a max capacity of 30 people in a COVID-secure venue – meaning it cannot take place at home.

Weddings should also be kept as short as possible and guests must remain distanced.

If a funeral is held inside, there must be only two households attending.

However, the limit is still 30 people.

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If gathering for a work-related purpose, the group can exceed six people.

Social distancing guidelines should still be adhered to.

Matt Hancock said that the reason work and education were exempt was because “we need to get through this coronavirus with the minimal impact”.

He added: “But it does mean that when it comes to socialising, we are unfortunately having to put in place these rules because our contact tracing system – which is now excellent – shows that the majority of the transmission of this disease is in social circumstances.”

Large households and support bubbles

If you live in a house of more than six, you are still allowed to gather outside of your home.

If you are part of a support bubble which exceeds six, you are also allowed to gather outside of your home.

Other exemptions

Sports – teams of more than six are still allowed to meet under new rules.

Religious services – churchgoers are exempt from the rule of six, but must follow social distancing rules.

Registered childcare sessions looking after more than six children at once are also permitted to carry on as normal.

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