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Michael Gove Says You Can Socialise With Friends Once Pubs Close Provided You Follow The 'Rule Of Six'

Michael Gove said the rule of six was "well-understood". Pictured above with Boris Johnson (right) in 2016 (PA)

2 min read

Michael Gove has said people are still able to continue drinking with friends once pubs close, provided they follow current social distancing guidelines.

It comes after the government announced a 10 pm curfew would be imposed on all hospitality venues in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Yesterday, scientific advisers Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance warned the public that the country could reach 200 deaths a day by November if transmission rates of coronavirus continued to rise.

Asked on Radio 4’s Today programme if a group could continue socialising at somebody’s house once pubs close, Mr Gove said: “It is the case that with the rule of six, you can have six people in a social gathering, yes. 

“But the steps that we're taking here reflect some of the evidence that's been gathered from those parts of the country where these restrictions have already been put in place.”

He also insisted that the new measures did not contradict the so-called 'rule of six’, adding: “The rule of six is simple, straightforward and well-understood.

“The changes that we're also bringing in today augment that, so they're not in contrast with it. They’re ways of making sure that we take action now. The Prime Minister is clear a stitch in time saves nine.”

Mr Gove also confirmed that the curfew “is not the only measure” due to be announced by Boris Johnson when he addressed the Commons later on Tuesday. 

Elsewhere, the senior minister also backtracked on previous messaging encouraging people to return to their offices, claiming that there would now be an “emphasis shift”.

Speaking to Sky News, he said: “If it is possible for people to work from home then we would encourage them to do so.

“It's important to stress that there are many, many, many roles that can't be performed from home. There are people in manufacturing, construction, retail and other roles where we recognise that that is simply impossible.”

“That's why we have worked to ensure you can have Covid-secure workplaces.

“We need to balance the need for people to work and continue to go to school against taking steps to try and reduce the virus."

He continued: "If we can encourage people to work from home, we will, but if people need to be in the office, we will work to make it as safe as possible."

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