Can I meet up with friends and family, and can grandparents look after their grandchildren now?

As the rules change to keep the Covid outbreak under control, what does it mean for family visits, seeing grandparents and childcare?

can i stay overnight with family meet up with friends pub new rules gatherings coronavirus covid hug grandchildren lockdown
Loved ones are surely desperate to still socialise with each other during lockdown Credit: Imgorthand/Getty Images Contributor 

Boris Johnson has announced that changes will be made to the number of people who can meet in large groups both indoors and outdoors – the "rule of six".

Changes legally came into affect on Monday September 14, exclusively in England, leaving the other devolved members of the United Kingdom to move at their own pace.

Outside partial lockdown areas, the changes allow groups of no more than six people to meet indoors and outdoors on the condition that they continue to observe social distancing, now reduced to one metre's distance where necessary. 

Police officers will also be able to enforce these legal limits, and if broken, it's likely that you could face a fixed penalty notice of £100, which can increase to a maximum of £3,200 if further breaches are made. 

Mr Johnson announced further restriction on September 22, including a 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants.

Can grandparents look after their grandchildren?

Matt Hancock has said grandparents providing informal childcare and looking after their grandchildren will be exempt from local lockdown measures. In most areas where there is a local lockdown, households are not permitted to meet other households.

The Health Secretary said: "For many, informal childcare arrangements are a lifeline without which they couldn't do their jobs.

"I'm able to announce a new exemption for looking after children under the age of 14, or vulnerable adults, where that is necessary for caring purposes.

"This covers both formal and informal arrangements.

"It does not allow for play dates or parties, but it does mean that a consistent childcare relationship that is vital for somebody to get to work is allowed."

Can grandparents hug their grandchildren?

Hugging grandparents, who are often seen as being in the vulnerable category, is still not encouraged or recommended by the government, particularly as the country sees another rise in infections. 

Although grandparents are permitted to look after their grandchildren in areas including those in a local lockdown, there hasn't been a change in the rules that people can only meet in groups of six at the very most across the country and should keep their distance as much as possible. 

What are the rules for meeting friends?

You can still meet friends for gatherings and social events, according to new government guidelines.

But you must maintain social distancing, keep on top of personal hygiene, and only meet up in groups of six to ensure you are socialising with friends safely.

Read more: Are we heading for a second lockdown?

Can I meet friends at the pub? 

When drinking with friends at the pub, you should stick to the new guidelines on group sizes of only socialising in groups of six. 

Though if you are attending with family members or people in the same support bubble as you, meeting in larger numbers is permitted. 

Pubs alongside other restaurants and businesses are still being told to take down the contact details of their visitors. 

Pubs and restaurants are now subject to a 10pm curfew across the country.

Read more: Will pubs close again?

Can I go on holiday with friends?

Yes, simply put.

However, you cannot go on holiday with more than six people. Especially if they do not live with you or are not in your support bubble. If you do so, you would be breaking the law.

Maintaining social distancing and good hygiene when sharing facilities would also be necessary.

Read more: Can I host an event, or have a small party?

Can I stay overnight with family?

Any two households can meet together under the same roof and even stay overnight, as long as they observe social distancing restrictions of at least one metre where it is not possible to stay two metres apart.

However, based on new government guidelines that outlines new legal gathering sizes, you can only stay overnight with family if you do not form a group of more than six people. Though, this limit does not apply to those who share the same support bubble.