Rule of six and pub curfew having ‘zero effect’ on slowing spread of Covid, study finds

Rule of six and pub curfew having ‘zero effect’ on slowing spread of Covid, study finds


Only one in three people have stopped meeting up with friends and family because of the rule of six.

An extensive study by scientists at the London School for Hygiene and Tropical Medicine unearthed widespread disregard for the government rules.

Two thirds of the thousands of people they spoke to said the rule of six – designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus – had limited their social movements.

A quarter admitted that they had actually seen more people on average every day since the rule came into force.

Overall the rule of six had “zero effect” on the number of social contacts for the group as a whole, the study found.

The 10pm curfew was also judged to be largely redundant by the scientists.

While it had made some people reduce their contacts, their efforts had been cancelled out by others increasing theirs.

If neither policy is stopping house-to-household mixing, then they are likely failing to slow the pace of the disease’s spread.

Contrastingly, local lockdowns do seem to have had an impact on people’s socialising.

On average measures introduced regionally, such as pub closures, have led people to reduce their social contacts by less than one each per day.

However, the full national lockdown which began in March reduced the average daily contacts from about 10.8 to 2.8.

“We determine that the ‘rule of six’ and encouraging people to work from home has seen the average person reduce contacts but these reductions are likely small,” part of the paper reads.

“There was little suggestion that the 10pm closure has affected the number of contacts that participants make outside home, work and school.

“In contrast to national restrictions, there was a strong suggestion that local restrictions reduced the number of contacts individuals make outside of work and school, though again, this effect was small in comparison to the national lockdown.”

The rule of six was introduced in September in a bid to slow the rate of infections following the warmer summer months.

Anyone meeting up with more than five friends or family members anywhere, indoors or outdoors, can be dispersed by police or face a £100 fine.

The rules were met with scepticism from some scientists when they were introduced, with many suggesting they would not stop people socialising in a meaningful way.


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