The ‘Rule Of Six’ – What Does It Mean For You?

On Tuesday night at 10.30pm the government basically ‘bowled a googly’, to use a cricket expression. They announced that from Monday 14th Sept no groups of more than six were allowed to meet anywhere indoors or outdoors at any time  – but there would be limited exceptions –  and that was that – no detail of any kind and leaving everyone who runs venues, clubs, pubs, or has started to tentiviley begin to start organising performances or music events with a huge number of questions, a sleepless night and a mass headache.

Since then more information has come to light in drips and drabs. So FelixstoweSpy has gathered it all together for you (so you don’t have to!) – with the definitive low down on the new ‘rule of six’

Basically in a nutshell– the rule of six applies to unorganised social gatherings ie barbeques, family or student parties and meeting each other in gardens or houses. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people  and IT DOES NOT APPLY TO PUBS, RESTAURANTS AND ANY VEUNE HOLDING COVID SECURE ORGANISED EVENTS other than making sure that no singe lgroup larger than six meet round a single table.

So social clubs, zumba classes, keep fit classes, concert recitalss and drama performances can still go ahead with as many people as you can safely get into the premises in a  socially distanced manner. Pubs, bars,  restaurants and churches can still remain open – but you are not allowed more than six people at a table or side by side. Weddings and funerals are still ok as long as the venue is covid secure and the attendees are socially distanced (2 metres or 1+ with masks) and follow the safety rules. Pakruns can also continue.

The rationale behind allowing this, but not allowing larger groups of people inside other people’s homes, is that businesses can follow and be seen to follow safety and hygiene measures set out by the government, and hence can keep people distanced and safe.

Most venues have already got everything in place that is needed. However the only other mandatory thing now in place is track and trace gathering of information from each customer This previously was voluntary

WHAT ABOUT COMMUNITY CENTRES AND SMALL VENUES

SO If you run a village hall or small community venue – or are thinking of hiring one – there is detailed guidance on the government website.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities

BUT IN SUMMARY

Managers of community facilities will have discretion over when they consider it safe to open for any activity permitted by legislation and may decide to remain closed if they are not able to safely follow the advice in the relevant guidance, to make the space COVID-19 secure.

To help decide which actions to take prior to re-opening the building for permitted activity, a COVID-19 risk assessment should be completed, taking account of the core guidance on social distancing and the points set out below. This will be in addition to any risk assessment which is already in place for the community facility. See guidance on completing a risk assessment.

Users and hirers of a community facility have responsibility for managing risks arising from their own activities when they have control of premises and should take account of any guidance relevant to their specific activity or sector.

2a: Social distancing and capacity

Measures should be in place to ensure all users of community facilities follow the guidelines on social distancing, including strict adherence to social distancing of 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable) are acceptable. You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment.

The size and circumstance of the premises will determine the maximum number of people that can be accommodated while also facilitating social distancing. In defining the number of people that can reasonably follow 2 metres distancing (or 1 metre with risk mitigation), the total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas should be taken into account (e.g. entrances, exits) and where possible alternative or one-way routes introduced.

From 14 September, whether indoors or outdoors people from different households must not meet in groups of more than 6. This limit does not apply to meetings of a single household group or support bubble which is more than 6 people. Community facilities following COVID-19 secure guidelines can host more than 6 people in total, but no one should visit or socialise in a group of greater than 6. Further information on social contact rules, social distancing and the exemptions that exist can be found on the guidance on meeting with others safely. These rules will not apply to workplaces or education settings, alongside other exemptions. See more details on what has changed.

If partaking in permitted activities users of COVID-19 secure community facilities should limit their social interactions with anyone they do not live with. Whilst activities may have 6 or more people participating (where it is safe to do so and capacity permits) it is important for all parties to maintain socially distant, 2 metres or 1 metre with actions taken to reduce the risk of transmission (where 2 metres is not viable) between households. For example, use of face coverings and encouraging good hand hygiene on entering premises and throughout visit.

We recognise the importance of social clubs for some individuals and recommend that these can proceed with caution in venues that have been made COVID-19 secure.

Clubs or groups that use community facilities can begin to meet again and facility managers should follow these COVID-19 secure guidelines to facilitate that.

Premises or locations following COVID-19 secure guidelines will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their own capacity limits. It is important for people to maintain social distancing and good hand hygiene when visiting these spaces. People using community facilities should continue to limit their interactions with those they do not live with outside of any formal activities they are participating in to help control the virus.

Community facilities are now permitted to host socially distanced indoor and outdoor performances in line with the performing arts guidance. Managers and organisers should consider and adopt the mitigations set out in the guidance to reduce the overall risk of the event.

Both professionals and non-professionals can now engage in singing, wind and brass in line with the performing arts guidance.

 Indoor sporting facilities, fitness centres and dance studios can now open. For venues wishing to provide such activities, please follow this guidance on sports and leisure facilities.

WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED?

Well the figures for cases are on the rise – but interestingly – not figures for hospital admissions or deaths at the same rate. And the greatest rise is among younger people 19-24.

So as students go back to universities the Government has decided to take a decisive/cautious approach to prevent further spikes or waves.

Some feel it could have been introduced in a much cleaner, clearer and understandable way – or that possibly the government  should have continued with local lockdowns alone.

Be that as it may – our part of the country is still in the lowest bracket for cases

Public Health England figures for the Suffolk published on the Government’s daily dashboard on Wednesday reveal 64 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the week from August 31 to September 6, equivalent to a rate of 8.4 infections per 100,000 people.

That is up from 42 cases recorded the week before (5.5 infections per 100,000) and 22 the week before that, from August 17 to 23 (2.9 per 100,000).

To put the figures into context, England’s worst-affected area of Bolton recorded 377 cases last week, with a rate of 131.1 infections per 100,000 people.

East Suffolk recorded 14 positive tests, equivalent to 5.6 cases per 100,000 people, an increase from nine cases the previous week (3.6 infections per 100,000).

Norfolk, where the Banham Poultry outbreak has now been contained, had 7.7 infections per 100,000 people while Essex had 7.4 cases per 100,000.

West Suffolk was hardest hit by positive cases last week, recording 26 infections in the seven days to September 6, up from 11 the week before. Its infection rate is at 14.5 positive tests per 100,000 people, up from 6.1 the previous week.

Ipswich had 10 positive tests in the week to September 6, up from five the previous week, and its infection rate rose from 3.7 per 100,000 to 7.3. Three positive cases were identified in the Priory Heath area between August 30 and September 5, according to the postcode-level map.

Haverhill is highlighted on a postcode-level map published by the Government as an area where several people have recently tested positive – with 10 cases recorded there between August 30 and September 5. The neighbouring area of Kedington, Hundon and Withersfield had four positive tests during that time frame.

It comes as nine staff tested positive for coronavirus at Samuel Ward Academy in the town.

Acton, Great Waldingfield and Bures is also highlighted on the Government’s postcode map, with three positive cases logged there between August 30 and September 5.

Framlingham and Hacheston is also highlighted on the Government’s postcode map as recording four cases from August 30 to September 5. Last week, a pub in the area had to close after a staff member tested positive.

Babergh recorded eight positive tests, the equivalent of 8.7 cases per 100,000 people, and these numbers are unchanged from the previous week.

Only Mid Suffolk’s infection rate decreased, going from 9.6 infections per 100,000 people between August 24 and 30 to 5.8 last week, with positive cases falling from 10 to six.

In north Essex, Colchester recorded a fall in positive cases from 11 to 10 (5.1 per 100,000 people), Tendring recorded three, the same as the previous week (two per 100,000), while infections went from five to six in the week to September 6 in Braintree (3.9 per 100,000).

The latest rates come as the Government stepped up its efforts to combat a nationwide rise in coronavirus cases. Around 11,000 new cases have been identified across the UK from Sunday to Wednesday.

However, this has not yet translated into a rise in deaths or hospital admissions.

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