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After embracing new freedoms post-lockdown and looking beyond Covid-19 for the first time in months, the government’s recent announcement of new restrictions has made our new normal even more difficult. 

With lockdown rules expected to be in place for at least six more months, it appears the UK is at a critical point in its fight against Covid-19 but this doesn’t make the new restrictions any easier to deal with.

The ‘rule of six’ was one of the many restrictions recently enforced. Here we take a closer look at the new rule and how it could affect your business and wider industry sector.

What is the rule of six?

After months of being restricted to meeting up to 30 people from different households both indoors and outdoors, a recent clampdown has seen the figure dramatically slashed to six as Covid-19 cases continue to soar in the UK.

Referred to as the ‘rule of six’, the new restriction means that people can only socialise with just six other people from different households. This six-person limit includes people of all ages, including children. The aforementioned rule of six also applies to both indoor and outdoor gatherings and is only applicable in England.

Over the border in Scotland, stricter curbs have been enforced. Mixing with other households indoors is now prohibited, with people only able to mix with one other household outdoors as long as the group size is no more than six.

Those caught breaking rules face fines of £200 (which has doubled from £100) for a first offence. Repeat offenders will be subject to fines of up to £3,200.

Where doesn’t the rule of six apply?

While the rule of six does apply to those gathering for indoor sports, it does not apply at weddings and funerals.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions can now have up to 15 people in attendance, which was reduced from 30 during the last set of rule changes. Funerals remain unaffected, with no more than 30 mourners able to attend as before.

How does the rule affect schools and businesses?

The rule of six does not apply to workplaces, schools, other educational settings and places of worship. This means that offices and other commercial and industrial premises will still be able to operate, although social distancing rules and other COVID-secure measures must be observed.

Whilst the rule does not apply to workplaces, employers have major concerns about how the new restriction could impact staff morale. Here Managing Director Peter Forshaw explains more:

“Personally I feel that the majority of people are ready to crack on and get back to the office, however those who are more vulnerable or those apprehensive about a return to work are likely to negatively affected by the news; both in regards to their motivation in returning to the workplace, and more worryingly the potential negative effect to their general mental health and levels of anxiety.”

What other restrictions are there to contend with?

In addition to increased mandatory face mask-wearing, businesses within the hospitality sector have other restrictions to contend with. Pubs, bars and restaurants have been hit by a 10pm curfew, which has caused concern industry-wide as these types of businesses get back on their feet.

The prospect of local lockdowns and even a second national lockdown is another concern that is certain to affect us all.

Will my business trip or holiday be impacted?

At the moment, those travelling overseas only have to quarantine if the country is on the government’s quarantine list. Those looking to enjoy a staycation or business trip here in the UK can go ahead with their trip if their party is no more than six.

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