Coronavirus update – new rule of 6

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 06/10/2020
Looking out over the summits of High Crag from Fleetwith Pike, Lake District. Photo: Shutterstock

In response to the new ‘rule of six’ announced by Government on Monday 14 September, the BMC has summarised the most recent guidance and will try to keep this updated as soon as new information or changes are made available.

In summary, from Monday 14 September, the “rule of six” was introduced in England which means that people will not be able to meet more than six people unless they are in a household (or support bubble) of more than six people. Two households can still meet up, but not if they make a group of more than six people. Controlled Covid-secure premises (e.g., restaurants, pubs, attractions) will now operate table service only and close at 22.00 BST and groups visiting these premises must not be larger than six people.  

There are exceptions where groups can be larger than six people, including for education and training purposes, work or voluntary/charitable services and elite sporting competition and training.

Organised sport and sporting venues can also continue to operate as they were and BMC affiliated club and hill walking events can continue in groups of up to 30 people (more information here).  However, you will only be able to climb in a group of 6 at the climbing wall.  

In total, at least 15.7 million people are now in local lockdowns in the UK - near to one in four people (24%).

Please note that these restrictions apply to those areas that are currently NOT in a regional lockdown. People under local restrictions need to adhere to separate guidance. Below is a summary of how the restrictions are affecting England, Wales and Scotland.

Interactive map of lockdown restrictions
The House of Commons Library has built an interactive map to track local lockdown restrictions and link to detailed COVID guidance across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (last updated 1 October).

ENGLAND

Outdoor group size limitations

When meeting those outside of your household/support bubble (such as friends or family) you can now meet in groups of up to six people from multiple households if you follow social distancing rules. 

Distancing

1m+ except where that’s not possible, in which case 1m with mitigation measures in place.

Indoor limitations

Six people from multiple households can meet (anyone in your support bubble counts as one household), in any location ‒ public or private, indoors or outdoors. This does not need to be the same household each time.

Overnight stays

Yes, self-contained, booked in advance

Climbing walls

Yes, some remain closed, some require advanced booking, check before you travel. You can only climb in a group of 6. 

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

Club advice

Adults can continue to take part in outdoor organised sport in groups of up to 30 people, provided it is organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance.  More information for BMC affiliated clubs can be found here.

If you live in or plan to run a club meet in an area with a local lockdown you will need to check the restrictions for that area.

You should only be partaking in outdoor physical activity where the relevant governing body or club has published guidance on how to do so safely, and you can play outdoors.

WALES

People can continue to travel to Wales for holidays and/or participation in activities provided their destination is not in local lockdown.  If you have to travel along a road that passes through a lockdown area, and you have no other reasonable option to travel to your destination, then this is allowed. It is not acceptable however, for people living with a lockdown area to leave that area without a reasonable excuse.  

Outdoor group size limitations

Up to 30 people can meet outdoors, socially distanced.

Distancing

2m except where that’s not possible, in which case mitigation measures must be in place

Indoor limitations

Four households can meet but this must be limited to 6 people. and only in areas outside of the local lockdown aeas. This also applies in public spaces such as pubs, restaurants and walls.

Overnight stays

Yes, self-contained, booked in advance

Climbing walls

Yes, some require advanced booking, check before you travel. 

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

Club advice

Clubs are able to organise meets in groups of up to 30 people outside if they conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 Secure guidance, and provided they do so in an area that is not in local lockdown.

Travelling within Wales -  if you live in an area of Wales currently under local lockdown, you can only meet or exercise with others from within the local authority area as long as you maintain social distancing and only do so in groups or classes of up to 30 people. It is not acceptable for people living with a lockdown area to leave that area without a reasonable excuse. 

SCOTLAND

People can continue to travel to Scotland for holidays and/or participation in activities provided their destination is not in local lockdown.  If you have to travel along a road that passes through a lockdown area, and you have no other reasonable option to travel to your destination, then this is allowed. 

Outdoor group size limitations

Adults can meet outdoors, in groups of up to 6 people from no more than 2 households at a time and should meet no more than 4 other households a day.

Distancing

2m except where that’s not possible, in which case 1m with mitigation measures in place.

Indoor limitations

Visiting other households indoors is currently banned

Overnight stays

Yes, self-contained, booked in advance

Climbing walls

Yes, some require advanced booking, check before you travel.

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

Club advice

Clubs may continue to organise activities for groups of up to 30 people from multiple households if they follow the steps detailed in the Mountaineering Scotland guidance for clubs.

If club members wish to head outdoors in Scotland in an informal way (i.e. not as a club meet) the 'rule of 6' people in a group from no more than 2 households will apply.

ENGLAND REGIONAL LOCKDOWNS – where are they?

There are currently several regional lockdowns in place as at September 21st. Local lockdowns are regularly reviewed and when the number of infections falls, the restrictions start to be eased again.  These include:

THE MIDLANDS

  • Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull, Wolverhampton, Oadby and Wigston 
  • Leicester

NORTH WEST

  • Blackburn with Darwen, Oldham and Pendle
  • Oldham (whole area)
  • Pendle (whole area subject to wider restrictions, but the following parts have additional restrictions): Whitefield, Walverden, Southfield, Bradley,  Clover Hill, Brierfield, Marsden
  • Blackburn with Darwen (areas affected): Audley & Queen’s Park, Bastwell & Daisyfield, Billinge & Beardwood, Blackburn Central, Little Harwood & Whitebirk, Roe Lee, Shear Brow & Corporation Park, Wensley Fold
  • Bolton
  • Greater Manchester: City of Manchester, Trafford, Bury, Tameside, Rochdale, Salford, Bolton (see separate guidance), Oldham (see separate guidance)
  • Lancashire: Preston, Blackburn with Darwen (see separate guidance), Pendle (see separate guidance)
  • Merseyside, Warrington and Halton
  • Wigan
  • Stockport
  • Blackpool
  • Liverpool City Region, (Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, the Wirral
  • Warrington

WEST YORKSHIRE

  • Bradford in the following wards: Bolton and Undercliffe, Bowling and Barkerend, Bradford Moor, Eccleshill, Idle and Thackley, Little Horton, Great Horton, Queensbury, Royds, Tong, Wibsey, Wyke, City, Clayton and Fairweather Green, Heaton, Manningham, Thornton and Allerton, Toller, Keighley Central, Keighley East, Keighley West
  • Calderdale in the following wards: Park, Warley, Northowram and Shelf, Town, Ovenden, Illingworth and Mixenden, Skircoat, Sowerby Bridge
  • Kirklees in the following wards: Dewsbury East, Dewsbury West, Dewsbury South, Batley East,  Batley West
  • Leeds

NORTH EAST

  • Northumberland, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Gateshead, Sunderland and County Durham.
  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough

READ: All the details on the gov.uk website

 

REGIONAL LOCKDOWN ADVICE – ENGLAND

Outdoor group size limitations

You must not meet people you do not live with inside a private home or garden, except where you have formed a support bubble (or for other limited exemptions to be specified in law)

You should only socialise in outside public places (like parks) in groups of up to six people from multiple households. You should always socially distance from people outside of your household.

Some late night restriction of operating hours will be introduced, with leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am.

Distancing

2m except where that’s not possible, in which case 1m with mitigation measures in place

Indoor limitations

You must not visit/host anyone in a private home or garden that you do not live with or are within the same support bubble. You may enter someone’s home outside of your household/support bubble for the purposes of education or training.

From midnight on 30 September, measures will be brought into law restricting inter-household mixing in indoor settings, including pubs and restaurants

Overnight stays

No                     

Climbing walls

Yes, some remain closed, some require advanced booking, check before you travel. Within the walls you should continue to socially distance with anyone not in your household/support bubble.

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

 

WALES LOCAL LOCKDOWNS – where are they?

Currently thirteen local authority areas of Wales are in local lockdown:

No travel is allowed to or from these areas unless its for exempt activites such as for work or medical purposes.

  • Caerphilly County Borough
  • Rhondda Cynon Taf
  • Bridgend County Borough
  • Blaenau County Borough
  • Merthyr Tydfil County Borough
  • Newport City County Borough
  • Llanelli
  • Cardiff
  • Swansea
  • Conwy County Borough
  • Flintshire
  • Wrexham
  • Denbighshire
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Conwy
  • Vale of Glamorgan
  • Torfaen

READ: All the details on the Welsh Gov website and a more detailed article on local lockdown in Wales here

REGIONAL LOCKDOWN ADVICE – WALES

Outdoor group size limitations

You can meet people outdoors, for example, in gardens or public outdoor areas, but it is important you maintain a 2m distance at all times to protect yourself and others. Ideally, You should not visit members of your family or close friends who live outside of the lockdown counties. People will not be allowed to enter or leave these areas without a reasonable excuse, such as travel for work or education.

Distancing

2m except where that’s not possible, in which case 1m with mitigation measures in place

Indoor limitations

You should not host people from any other households in your home or visit people you do not live with in their home, no matter where that is. You should not meet anyone from outside your own household in any indoor hospitality setting, such as pubs, bars, cafés and restaurants.

Overnight stays

No        

Travel

Travel to or from any of the lockdown counties is not allowed unless for certain exempt activities (eg work, medical advice/care, attend court, etc). Travel to or from the lockdown areas for recreation is not allowed. You may travel through a lockdown area to reach a destination beyond the lock-down area but cannot stop. 

Climbing walls

Yes, some remain closed, some require advanced booking, check before you travel. Within the walls you should continue to socially distance with anyone not in your household/support bubble.

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

 

SCOTLAND LOCAL LOCKDOWNS – where are they?

Currently, seven areas in Scotland are under local lockdown restrictions:

  • East Dunbartonshire
  • East Renfrewshire
  • Glasgow
  • North Lanarkshire
  • Renfrewshire
  • South Lanarkshire
  • West Dunbartonshire

READ: All the details on the gov.uk website

REGIONAL LOCKDOWN ADVICE - SCOTLAND

Outdoor group size limitations

You can meet people outside, for example in your garden or in public spaces – in groups of up to six people from no more than two households at a time

Distancing

2m except where that’s not possible, in which case 1m with mitigation measures in place

Indoor limitations

You cannot host people from any other households in your home socially, unless they are in your extended household or make a social visit to people you do not live with in their home no matter where that is, unless they are in your extended household.

Overnight stays

No        

Climbing walls

Yes, some remain closed, some require advanced booking, check before you travel. Within the walls you should continue to socially distance with anyone not in your household/support bubble.

Mountain Training course provision?

Yes

Other important information

Travel -  there are no national restrictions but regional lockdown measures maybe in place at the time of travel.  People should not go on holiday in England with people outside their household (including bubble) in a group larger than six people. If you have to use public transport, check with your transport operator for the latest travel advice on your route.

Camping - check for campsite closures before you travel. Whether you’re camping on a campsite or in the hills, follow the Countryside Code/Scottish Outdoor Access Code and Leave No Trace principles.

National Parks – these remain open. Check the relevant National Park website for any restrictions and visitor advice.

Toilets and car parking - some remain closed, check before you travel.

For more information on what you can and can’t do please check the Government website.


We want to say a big thanks to every BMC member who continues to support us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t do it without you.

Did you know that we've just launched a new U27 membership offer for just £1 / month? And with full membership from £1.66 / month, it's never been easier to join and support our work: 

https://www.thebmc.co.uk/join-the-bmc-for-1-month-U27-membership


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Anonymous User
24/09/2020
No limit to the number of people on overnight stays for self catering so long as booked in advance?
Anonymous User
06/10/2020
You haven't quite got the rules for meeting indoors right for Wales. The 6 people must be from the same extended household (support bubble), which can be made from up to 4 households in Wales (only 2 in England). The extended household is set in stone, once decided it cannot be changed. This is not the same as any 4 households meeting indoors!

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