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The rules for gathering with other people.

First published:
16 July 2021
Last updated:

Introduction

We are more likely to catch coronavirus from – and pass it on to – people we are in close contact with every day. The safest thing to do is to avoid contact with other people you do not live with. However, we recognise that this is difficult. If you do meet with other people it is safest to meet with as few people as possible and to meet the same people regularly, rather than lots of different people. This guidance outlines the rules in place for getting together (‘gathering’) with other people.

The general rules at alert level 1 indoors are that:

  • here are no restrictions on gathering with members of your individual household (those you live with indoors)
  • you can meet with your extended household or one other household in private homes, travel and holiday accommodation
  • you can meet with up as a group of six people from up to 6 households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of any person present) in private homes, regulated premises and travel and holiday accommodation
  • a maximum of 200 people standing and 1,000 seated can take part in  can take part in indoor organised activities and events as part of a regulated gathering.
  • any number of children under 18 (or persons who were aged under 18 on 31 August 2020) can take part in regulated gatherings for the development and wellbeing of children (previously known as organised activities

The general rules at alert level 1 outdoors are that:

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised for the first major step towards getting back to pre-coronavirus ‘normal’. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk.

Businesses must also continue to undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus in premises open to the public or staff members.

The Test, Trace and Protect system will continue to support the easing of social and economic restrictions. It will also be important in identifying local outbreaks and Variants of Concern.

We are asking people to consider not just what they can do – what the law allows them to do – but what they should do – what is the right thing to do to minimise the spread of coronavirus.  In particular, we ask you to

  • please try and be restrained in how many different people you see. It is better to see the same small group of people regularly than to see lots of different people occasionally
  • please continue to practice social distancing, including outdoors
  • avoid doing activities that might increase the risk of transmission (for example shouting to be heard over loud music, or singing in close proximity to others)

Regulated premises

Regulated premises are:

  • the premises of any business or service open to the public, including but not limited to retail premises, museums, theatres, concert halls, gyms, leisure and fitness facilities, community centres,  close contact service premises, cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants, registry offices, places of worship and libraries
  • public transport vehicles, including taxis, trains and buses
  • any building where work is carried out, including factories and office buildings

If you have been advised to self-isolate

None of the information in this guidance applies to people who have been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect. You must not leave your home if you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Wales Test Trace Protect. Failure to self-isolate when told to do so can lead to you being issued a fixed penalty notice or criminal prosecution. For more details please see our guidance on self-isolation.

We also strongly advise you to self-isolate if you are notified through the NHS Covid-19 app that you should do so. However, there is no legal duty to do so because the privacy and anonymity protections on the app mean that it does not collect any personal details.

We also strongly advise you that if you have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild, you should follow the general self-isolation guidance and should arrange to have a test (although again this is not covered by the legal duty).

Staying safe when away from home

Coronavirus is spread by large droplets and aerosol transmission from breath. The risk is even greater when sneezing, coughing or talking loudly, from the mouth and nose. This means close contact with others, in particular face-to-face contact within 2 metres, is most likely to cause infection. The virus can live on some indoor surfaces for days and may be spread by people touching those surfaces, then touching their mouth or nose with unwashed hands. The virus is much less likely to be spread outside, although this depends in part on the weather conditions, and disperses more in well ventilated environments. The virus dies quickly in the summer sun but less so in colder conditions.

Before leaving your home you should plan how you will keep safe and minimise risk. Frequent handwashing and the use of hand sanitiser gel remains important, as do physical distancing and refraining from touching your nose/mouth with unwashed hands. You should also be mindful of whether you will be indoors or outside.

Even outside there are still risks in places used by many people, or where they may congregate, such as public toilets – where many people may touch taps and flush handles, petrol pumps, pay and display machines, door handles, and cash machines.

Disinfectant gel dispensers may also transmit infection if many hands operate them, so should be operated with the wrist/forearm rather than fingers/palm of hand.

Visiting people who do not live in private homes

In general the law does not prevent visits to people who do not live in private homes. So for example, indoor visits to care homes, hospices and secure accommodation facilities for children are permitted under the law. This does not mean that any of these places are obligated to be open - individual settings will need to ensure they are able to support visits safely. We recommend checking with the relevant location for their specific visiting arrangements.

These visits will need to be in accordance with the rules put in place by the setting you are visiting.

When considering whether there is a need to visit someone outside your extended household, especially indoors, you should remember we all have a responsibility to recognise the risks the virus presents to ourselves, our families and friends and our wider communities.

People will need to make judgements for themselves about what is reasonable, in line with that overarching principle. Keep in mind that the purpose of the continuing restrictions is to prevent the spreading of the virus, including to those we care about.

Visiting private homes

Households and extended households

A household means a group of people living in the same home. A household can be one person living on their own, flatmates, or a family living in the same home. What’s important is that it’s always the same people and the same home. A household may only agree to be treated as being in 1 extended household at any one time.

People can form an extended household with two other households. This means that all the people in the three households join together to become in effect part of a single household. This will allow you to spend time with the people in that household in your home or their home and have physical contact. You can also stay in each other’s homes and in holiday accommodation together.

A fourth household can join an extended household in limited circumstances. The following households can join two other households to form an extended household:

  • a household with an adult living alone
  • a household with a single responsible adult
  • a household where you are 16 or 17 living alone or with others of the same age, with no adult

This was previously referred to as a support bubble. Support bubbles were allowed to help people who lived by themselves, or households with a single responsible adult or a child under one to meet indoors with one other household during alert level four lockdown.

If you were in a support bubble, you can still maintain that arrangement as an extended household. You may also be able to join with two more households as long as your extended household meets the rules described below. 

Extended households may include a household that is not in Wales.  But please remember that restrictions may apply to travel in either direction and isolation requirements will apply in most circumstances for people arriving in Wales from countries outside of the Common Travel Area.

Benefits of being in an extended household

The people you choose to join with, in effect, become part of your household.

This means you can:

  • spend time with them indoors or outdoors
  • meet up together and stay overnight in private homes and holiday accommodation
  • have physical contact with them at much lower risk – if you maintain an exclusive extended household there is no need for social distancing
  • provide or receive care or support for them, if you do not do so already
  • give unpaid carers a break from their caring responsibilities (for example, by looking after their children while they take some time off)

However, we continue to advise you to take special care around people who are at increased risk from the virus and above all, around people who are clinically extremely vulnerable.

Rules on extended households

Because a household can vary in size, there is no limit on the number of people who can be in an extended household. But only three households can form part of the extended household and if a fourth household is to join, one of the households must meet the following criteria:

  • a household with an adult living alone
  • a household with a single responsible adult
  • a household where you are 16 or 17 living alone or with others of the same age, with no adult

The key rules for extended households are that:

  • no person can be part of more than one extended household, with the exception of people who live in two homes (for example children whose parents have separated and have joint custody or students with a term time and out of term home)
  • all individuals in one home must belong to the same extended household 
  • all of the adult members of each household must agree to join the same extended household

We recommend people avoid changing extended households unless absolutely necessary, in order to limit the spread of coronavirus between households.

However, we recognise that people’s relationships and circumstances may change over time. If necessary, those eligible can form a new extended household provided that:

  • any household leaving their current extended household refrains from mixing with any other household (including any new extended household) for a period of 10 days before forming a new extended household.

If someone in your previous extended household develops symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus up to 48 hours after members of the extended household last met, if told to do so by a contact tracer members of the extended household must self-isolate. You must not form a new extended household until you have completed your self-isolation.

Local areas and extended households

There are no rules specifying that your extended household has to be with someone in your local area, or within any set distance of your home. There are also no rules preventing extended households being formed with households outside Wales, and we recognise that these may in particular be the right answer for people living close to a border.

How to choose who to go into an extended household with

Choosing which household or households to join with to form an extended household is an important decision and for many people we know it may be a difficult one.

There is no right or wrong way to decide on who you should go into an extended household with. However, in other countries where this approach has been followed, studies have shown that people have found it helpful to ask themselves who is in the most need of support, rather than just trying to decide whose company they have most missed.

Everybody is entitled to be part of an extended household, including people who were shielding, but it is important to take extra care in following safety measures when in each other’s company because of their increased risk of developing serious illness if they are exposed to coronavirus.

The risk of catching coronavirus is still real, and it is inevitably increased to some degree by entering into an extended household. In particular, if you enter into an extended household with someone who comes into close contact with others in their work or with children who are attending a school or nursery, this will increase the level of risk to the extended household.

Schools, nurseries and employers are required to take all reasonable measures to minimise exposure to and the spread of coronavirus. However, ultimately it is for people to decide on their own extended households.

Private dwellings and travel and holiday accommodation - six people from up to six households

You can now also meet indoors in your home or in travel and holiday accommodation as a group of a maximum of six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of any one present) or with members of your extended household.

You cannot meet with your extended household and an additional six people indoors, this is an either/or choice. Meaning that if your household or extended household is already over six people, you could not meet with a with an additional six people at the same time in your home or in travel and holiday accommodation.

Meeting in your garden

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any legal restrictions on the number of people you can gather with anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk

When meeting in private gardens, visitors can go through the house to reach the garden or outdoor space, but must not stay in the house. You should not use kitchen equipment, cutlery or anything else in another household.  Where items are being passed between households, you should ensure items are thoroughly washed and you maintain good hygiene including hand hygiene. If you can, you should also avoid touching things indoors, such as light switches and door handles.

People may enter the house for the purpose of using the toilet, but should keep the amount of time indoors to a minimum. They should only be permitted to enter the house for this purpose one at a time (with a care giver, if assistance is required because of age or ability).

Householders should keep the toilet/bathroom window open and clean toilet and bathroom facilities thoroughly and regularly, preferably after each use. Towels should not be shared if at all possible and should be changed regularly.  Children should be helped to use the toilet and wash their hands thoroughly (according to their age and abilities), and all adults, should wash their hands thoroughly before and after assisting children. Older children and young people should be reminded regularly of the importance of washing their hands thoroughly and often and not touching their face.

You should maintain physical distancing from anyone you do not live with or who are not part of your extended household and should avoid sharing or using the same items as people outside your household or extended household, for example plates, cups, food packages towels, blankets etc. Any item that is passed between people in different households will increase the risk of the spread of the virus.

House/houses in multiple occupations (HMOs)

A House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) are made up of separate households within a shared building. If you live within a shared building you can be in an extended household with two other households from outside of the shared home.

If you share facilities such as bathrooms or kitchens with other people, you do not need to enter into an extended household with those people in order to be in the same room as them.

University students

Students who routinely spend time both away at university and at home are considered to have two households for the purposes of the coronavirus restrictions. However, students are advised to only move between their term-time and out-of-term time households when necessary, for example, for work or because of concerns about their wellbeing.

If you do chose to go home for a visit during term, you may should try and behave as any other visitor, so stay outdoors, keep physical distance and not stay overnight if possible.

The term-time household can agree to form an extended household with another household. Forming an extended household may be more difficult in practice in some forms of student households because all of the students are one household and therefore the whole household must agree to this.

It is important for students to understand what form of household they live in, as this will affect what people they are allowed to see and in what locations. Please see our guidance for students for more information.

If you are a student who shares cooking, dining, bathroom or toilet facilities with other people, you should note that you do not need to enter into an extended household with those people in order to spend time with them.

Children and parental responsibility

Where parental responsibility is shared, existing arrangements can continue and the child can move between both parents, and therefore between both parents’ households and any extended household. The child should be considered to be part of the household or extended household of the parent they are with at any particular time. In other words if either or both parents form an extended household with a household which does not include the other parent, the child could continue to move freely between the parents, and be part of both extended households (i.e. the child does not have to socially distance within the extended household, whichever parent they are with).

For children who do not live in the same household as their parents and have existing arrangements in place to visit and safely have contact, these arrangements can continue. This could include children in foster care, children’s homes and adoptive placements.

Extended households and self-isolation

All of the above rules are legal requirements, and by entering into an extended household which does not comply with these rules, or by acting as if you were in an extended household where you are not, you will be committing a criminal offence.

In addition, although this is not a matter of law, we ask that if one member of an extended household develops symptoms of coronavirus, the entire extended household should self-isolate, not just those living together. This will become a legal obligation if you are contacted by someone working for NHS Wales Test, Trace, Protect and told to self-isolate. Guidance is available about self-isolation and how to apply for a coronavirus test.

It is also useful for people to keep a record of who is in their extended household and their contact details, so contact tracers can get in touch with them quickly in the event that they need to.

Other reasons for entering private homes

People working in your home

There are many circumstances in which people might need to access your home or garden to carry out work there. As in all other parts of life, just because something is permitted does not always mean it is the right thing to do. We ask you to think about what is the most sensible thing for you to do to protect your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking primarily about what you are allowed to do. Only through everybody trying their hardest to follow this general approach will we be able to continue to lift restrictions.

Where work does take place in private homes, it is important that this is managed in a safe way and both the worker and household members are well and have no symptoms of coronavirus. Like other businesses that you may use outside of your home, people working in your home must take reasonable measures to minimise exposure to and the spread of coronavirus and consider the guidance on working in other people’s homes.

We recommend that no work should be carried out in your home if you are isolating, unless it is to repair a fault which poses a direct risk to people’s safety – for example, emergency plumbing, or carry out an adaptation to allow that household to remain in their property. If attendance is unavoidable (because of an urgent or emergency situation), additional precautions should be taken to keep workers and householders completely separate from each other.  In these cases, Public Health Wales can provide advice to tradespeople and households. But no work should be carried out by a tradesperson who has coronavirus symptoms, however mild.

Caring for others

The other main exception to the general rule is that you can enter people’s homes, or let people into your home, to provide or receive care. This enables help to be provided to someone who needs it, such as an older person, a child or a vulnerable adult. This covers any form of care, provided by any person, to somebody who is vulnerable.

Whether somebody is “vulnerable” follows the ordinary sense of the word and includes older people, children and those who are ill. It is also reasonable to take food and other supplies to a vulnerable person.

Carers – whether they are care workers or unpaid carers – are excluded on any maximum number limits for gathering with others whilst providing support to you - they can continue to provide you with whatever support you need, and go anywhere with you if you need their support.

However, although caring for a vulnerable person is allowed, if somebody is considered to be at increased risk from the effects of coronavirus, or clinically extremely vulnerable you should take this into account before going to see them.

Meeting people away from home

You are allowed to meet other people outside of your home, subject to rules set out in this guidance.

Seeing people outdoors

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk.

Businesses must also continue to undertake a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus in premises open to the public or staff members.

The Test, Trace and Protect system will continue to support the easing of social and economic restrictions. It will also be important in identifying local outbreaks and Variants of Concern.

While the risk of transmission is lower outdoors than indoors, social distancing is still important.

In general, we are asking you to think about what is the most sensible thing to do to protect yourself, your family, friends and your community, rather than thinking about what you are – legally - allowed to do. Only through everybody taking responsibility for their actions will we be able to avoid re-imposing restrictions.

The Test, Trace and Protect system will continue to support the easing of social and economic restrictions. It will also be important in identifying local outbreaks and Variants of Concern.

Outdoor areas of regulated premises including hospitality venues, such as restaurants, cafes, pubs and visitor attractions, such as,  funfairs, museums, galleries, historical monuments and parks.

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions on numbers when gathering anywhere outdoors, including outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk

Businesses and premises will still be required to consider putting in place social distancing for different groups and/or for face-coverings being worn in all or some specific areas as part of their risk management regime. The mitigating reasonable measures these venues and premises may need to implement will determine if and where this may be the case. You should always co-operate with any social distancing, handwashing or other measures that are in place for your own safety and that of others.

Please do not be offended if you are asked to keep a distance from others at a particular premises. You can still exercise your own personal choice to distance if that is what you want to do. If other people want to keep their distance, you should respect their choice also.

Outdoor organised activities and events

These types of activities and events must be organised by a business, public body or a charitable, benevolent, educational or philanthropic institution, a club or political organisation, or the national governing body of a sport or other activity.

Organised activities encompass a broad range of activities. These activities include small scale activities, including, but is not limited to:

  • team sports
  • exercise classes
  • meetings of religious groups and support groups
  • guided tours
  • running groups
  • car boot sales
  • fetes
  • celebrations, including wedding and civil partnerships receptions, wakes and other life events

Events also encompass a broad range of larger scale activities, including but is not limited to:

  • live music concerts, and other cultural events
  • food Festivals
  • sporting tournaments

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any restrictions in place on numbers when gathering anywhere outdoors, including for outdoor activities and events.

You are still advised to make your own judgement and avoid large gatherings wherever possible.

It is safer to meet outdoors and for this reason, outdoor activity has been prioritised. The likelihood of COVID-19 transmission is substantially lower in the open air than indoors. This restores more freedom to people more quickly while minimising the impact on transmission.

Even as restrictions are lifted, it is essential that everyone carries on with the good habits that reduce transmission: remembering good hand hygiene and getting a test at the first sign of symptoms, staying at home if unwell, to reduce the risk

The organiser of the activity also have a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. The risk assessment must also consider ‘pinch point’ areas, such as, queuing to enter or exit the venue, toilets, food and beverage sales points and consider suitable mitigations, including physical distancing measures in these areas.

Businesses and premises will still be required to consider putting in place social distancing for different groups and/or for face-coverings being worn in all or some specific areas as part of their risk management regime. The risk assessment and mitigating reasonable measures these venues and premises may need to implement will determine if and where this may be the case. You should always co-operate with any social distancing, handwashing or other measures that are in place for your own safety and that of others.

Please do not be offended if you are asked to keep a distance from others at a particular premises. You can still exercise your own personal choice to distance if that is what you want to do. If other people want to keep their distance, you should respect their choice also.

Indoor areas of regulated premises including hospitality venues, such as, restaurants, cafes, pubs and visitor attractions, such as,  funfairs, museums, galleries, historical monuments and parks.

There are no longer any limits to when alcoholic drinks can be sold and normal licencing laws now apply.

Venues are required to undertake a risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. For example:

  • customers will be encouraged to pre-book with details of all members of the group.
  • contact details will be required for contact tracing purposes
  • entry to the premises will be controlled
  • licenced premises, such as pubs, will be providing table service only
  • all food and drink should be consumed at tables
  • physical distancing measures will be applied, such as tables being spaced out
  • face coverings must be worn other than when seated to eat or drink

When utilising outdoor spaces, hospitality venues are required to ensure that the use of physical coverings, awnings, gazebos, marquees and similar structures are implemented in a way that is aligned with current public health advice. Generally this means that structures with a roof or ceiling must be open-sided (at least 3 sides or more than 50% open).

You can visit indoor hospitality venues such as cafés, restaurants, pubs and bars or visitor attractions, such as funfairs, museums, galleries, historical monuments and parks, with people you live with or in a group of up to six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present). This group of six isn’t required by law  to socially distance from each other. However, you should maintain social distancing from others in the venue who are not in your household or your group of six.

If you visit hospitality venues indoors with people you do not live with, but who are part of your extended household, that gathering must include no more than six people from up to six households at any one time (not including children under 11 from any of these households or carers of anyone present).

Indoor organised activities and events

These types of activities and events must be organised by a business, public body or a charitable, benevolent, educational or philanthropic institution, a club or political organisation, or the national governing body of a sport or other activity.

Organised activities encompass a broad range of activities. These activities include small scale activities, including, but is not limited to:

  • team sports
  • exercise classes
  • meetings of religious groups and support groups
  • guided tours
  • running groups
  • table top/jumble sales
  • fetes
  • celebrations, including wedding and civil partnerships receptions, wakes and other life events

Events also encompass a broad range of larger scale activities, including but is not limited to:

  • live music concerts, and other cultural events
  • food Festivals
  • sporting tournaments

The organiser of the activity must meet requirements in the regulations to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measure must also include ensuring that physical distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in those permitted groups during the activity or event.

The risk assessment must also consider ‘pinch point’ areas, such as, queuing to enter or exit the venue, toilets, food and beverage sales points and consider suitable mitigations, including physical distancing measures in these areas.

When taking part in this type of activity or event, with your individual household (those you live with) or as a group of six people you should maintain physical distance from others not in your household or group of six (as the case may be).

Indoors

If this type of activity or event  is taking place indoors, the maximum number of people that can take part is 200 standing and 1,000 seated (unless it is one for the development or well-being of children). Maximum numbers will be determined by a risk assessment which includes taking reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measures must also include ensuring social distancing can be maintained between individual households or groups of six (as the case may be).

Outdoors

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any limits on numbers in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

However, the organiser of the activity has a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Organised activities solely for the development and well-being of children and young people are allowed indoors and outdoors. This includes sports clubs, parent and toddler groups, youth groups and religious groups. This applies to children aged under 18. 

Clubs used as childcare, such as holiday or wrap-around childcare, can take place.

There are no caps on numbers for this type of activity, however the maximum numbers permitted for each will be determined by a risk assessment which includes taking reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Risk assessments should consider the space available to allow physical distancing as far as is possible with children and limit the number of children that can attend.

What are the rules for activities and events planned by an individual in private dwellings or on private land?

Activities or events that are organised or planned by an individual (such as a couple getting married, friend or parent), including celebrations or wider social gatherings of families and friends indoors, must follow the arrangements for gathering with other people, which is limited to members of an individual household, extended household or up to six people from up to six households (not including children under 11 or carers of these households) in private dwellings. 

If you wish to gather with more people to celebrate or socialise indoors, you can only do so in a regulated premise. The business must then complete a risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus. Reasonable measure must include ensuring that social distancing is maintained between individual households or groups of six people and any others not in these permitted groups during the activity or event.

From Saturday 17 July there are no longer any limits on numbers in place when gathering anywhere outdoors, including in private gardens, public parks and beaches, outdoor areas of regulated premises or for outdoor activities and events.

If you are organising your celebration in an outdoor area of a regulated premises, the business has a legal duty to undertake a covid specific risk assessment and take reasonable measures to minimise the risk of exposure to and spread of coronavirus, the result of which could however impose a cap on numbers.

Places of worship and major life events

What are the rules for places of worship?

Places of worship are allowed to be open to the public for worship and life event ceremonies. However, wherever possible we still advise that people avoid congregating with people they do not live with. For example faith leaders may still choose to broadcast (without a congregation) an act of worship whether over the internet or as part of a radio or television broadcast. Weddings and funerals may also be broadcast from places of worship.

Ceremonies for weddings, funerals and other life events such as bar and bat mitzvahs and baptisms are permitted in places of worship. People are able to attend at the invitation of the organiser. Please see the guidance on funeralsguidance on weddings and places of worship for more information.

What are the rules for wedding, civil partnership ceremonies, funerals and other religious life events?

Wedding, civil partnership ceremonies, funerals and other religious life events can take place indoors or outdoors. Face masks must be worn in all indoor premises.

The number who are able to attend a wedding, civil partnership, funeral indoors is limited by the capacity of the venue where it is being held, once physical distancing measures have been taken into account. To ensure that the maximum number that can attend is observed attendance must be by invitation only. Please see the relevant guidance on weddings and civil partnership ceremonies.

What are the rules for Wedding, civil partnership receptions and wakes?

These are permitted both indoors and outdoors and if organised by a business or held in regulated premises, the general rules for organised activities and events apply

Wedding or civil partnership receptions and wakes not organised by a business but held on private land i.e. organised by an individual (the couple, family member or friend)

If held at a private dwelling:

  • indoors – only members of the household, extended household or up to six people from up to six households can gather; or
  • outdoors – there are no longer any restrictions on gathering outdoors

A marquee situated outside, which does not have more than 50% open sides is regarded by the law as indoors. If it has more than 50% open sides it is outdoors.

Whilst limits on numbers have been removed for outdoor gatherings, it is still advised that you  maintain physical distancing from anyone you do not live with or who are not part of your extended household and should avoid sharing or using the same items as people outside your household or extended household, for example plates, cups, food packages towels, blankets etc. Any item that is passed between people in different households will increase the risk of the spread of the virus.

If the wedding, civil partnership or wake is held outdoors in a private dwelling, including a garden, people may enter the house for the purpose of using the toilet, but should keep the amount of time indoors to a minimum. They should only be permitted to enter the house for this purpose one at a time (or with a care giver, if assistance is required because of age or ability).

Householders should keep any toilet/bathroom windows open and clean toilet and bathroom facilities thoroughly and regularly, preferably after each use. Towels should not be shared if at all possible and should be changed regularly.  Children should be helped to use the toilet and wash their hands thoroughly (according to their age and abilities), and all adults, should wash their hands thoroughly before and after assisting children. Older children and young people should be reminded regularly of the importance of washing their hands thoroughly and often and not touching their face.

Domestic residential activities for children and young people

Domestic residential activities trips that utilise single household occupancy accommodation have been permitted since 17 May 2021.

Residential educational activities that utilise shared accommodation (such as mixed household dormitories) are now also permitted for primary school children. Primary school groups staying together overnight should be limited to school contact groups/bubbles.

Out-of-school organisations including, but not limited to, Brownies, Scouts, and Duke of Edinburgh expeditions are also now permitted. These groups can organise domestic residential visits for children and young people between the ages of 11 – 18 in consistent groups of up to 30 people, who can stay overnight together.

Organisers have a duty to take reasonable measures to ensure that these activities take place in a way that minimises exposure to and the spread of coronavirus. Therefore, risk assessments should consider the space available to allow  physical distancing as far as is possible with children.

Work

We are still encouraging people to work from home where possible. However, people who are not able to work from home, but are able to work safely in their workplaces, can do so, provided their workplace is permitted to open.

Our guidance to employers is that employees should not be required or placed under pressure to return to a workplace setting if there is not a clearly demonstrated business need for them to do so. Employers who are considering requiring their staff to return to workplace settings should first assess whether alternative arrangements could meet the majority of the employer’s needs. This should be discussed with staff or representatives of staff.

Car sharing

We do not recommend that you share a car with people who are not part of your household or extended household unless it is necessary and there are no other alternatives. Where it cannot be avoided, you should take steps to minimise the risk of coronavirus such as increasing physical distancing as much as possible and wearing a face covering.

If you cannot work from home and need to travel to work, you should consider how to do so in the safest way possible. Please see the guidance on travelling safely for more information.