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Rule of Six and a Family of Five


A clamp down on non-socially distanced mass gatherings is needed to curb the latest COVID-19 spike. However, the ‘rule of six’ IMHO is pretty counter intuitive, contradictory and – for a family of five – divisive.

When it was full lockdown we adhered to the laws. Friends and family were completely off limits, I only went out of the house (solo) for essential food shopping and we stayed local for our exercise once that was permitted. When we returned from holiday this summer we quarantined for 14 days. That was VERY tough as we couldn’t leave the house at all. Period. We managed it though.

Rule of six when you’re a five

It has been fantastic seeing friends and family again after months of isolation. We, like most, haven’t been meeting up in vast numbers. We have continued to socially distance, have been generally sensible about everything and are fastidious about wearing face masks where mandatory.

The rule of six for families of five obviously means you can only socialise with one other person outside of your unit at a time. One grandparent or one friend (but they can’t bring their partner); a child can’t meet a single friend (even from their own class) out of school as a parent coming with them takes the count to seven.

The rule of six seems to fly in the face of other advice

This all seems rather crazy and arbitrary when children are back at school and we’ve all been encouraged to get back out and about again.

  • My children are in year group bubbles. My eldest (who’s just started secondary school) is in a bubble of 150!
  • We were encouraged to Eat Out to Help Out in August and can currently be inside a pub or restaurant with lots and lots of perfect strangers. By the way, many places are continuing the scheme independently through September. Details here
  • We’ve been told it is safe to return to the office and we should go back if we can
  • Ditto public transport. It’s fine to be cocooned with lots of random people. Ubers are fine too
  • Hunting and shooting are exempt from the rule of six 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • Recreational team sports are back on the agenda (props to my daughter’s netball club for fantastic organisation, sanitisation and implementation of safety measures)

Sadly, I think COVID-19 is going to be around for a long time yet. We need to strike a balance between safety and containment, and getting back to some sort of normality for the sake of the nation’s mental health. I believe we have to learn to live alongside this disease and to do this need to employ common sense, not take unnecessary risks, ensure the most vulnerable are shielded and take sensible precautions. The rule of six seems rather a blunt, incongruous ‘solution’ to a very complex problem.

And let’s not even think about the ramifications for Christmas 😭

You might also like:

Eating out post-relaxation of lockdown rules

Lockdown letter – a reminisce about the last three months

Easter holiday on lockdown

Lockdown shopping list


About Author

I’m Fran: wife, mother-of-three and freelance publicist. My love for communicating and writing mirrors my passion for trying to be the best mum I can be. I love good food & wine, Italian culture and football and have a keen interest in personal finance. I also blog over on Epsom & Ewell Families and Habyts, and write sporadically for a number of other sites.


  1. I think you are so right Fran.
    Christmas is going to prove very difficult for many families.
    There is Steve with 5, as yourselves, with Paul coming down this year we cannot possibly mix with them as the number would be 7!!!
    Hopefully by then it might be different again.
    I don’t think a full lockdown will happen again as Boris will be in a dilemma regarding the economy. So wealth over health!!!
    It is all a very difficult situation.
    Abbie’s 18th must be in Question and I for one feel quite apprehensive about mixing with a group of 30 people.
    We must all be aware and take care but even I am going to the shops now!!!

    • It is indeed a very difficult situation and this rule of six really does seem at odds with other guidelines.

      Christmas is going to be a terrible dilemma for so many people if the current law remains. I’m hoping the government is being strict now in the hope that cases come down sufficiently for them to be able to spring a Christmas surprise/miracle. Here’s hoping!

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