Allow small gatherings in private homes

Ideally, gatherings of three household and eight people, with an exemption for children, but as an absolute minimum, two households and six people, with an exemption for children, must be allowed throughout the next six months.

Why the contribution is important

It is essential that we be allowed to have small gatherings in private homes - the mental health impact of banning these is already severe, and will become catastrophic as we get further into autumn and winter. As the weather gets worse, a ban on socialising in private homes is a ban on all socialising, especially for young families and the elderly, for whom pubs and cafes are not suitable venues for relaxing interactions at this time. This sort of isolation brings many terrible harms, perhaps even death in some cases. We need the support of our friends and family to get through this crisis, and such support will help us bear those other restrictions that are necessary. To be clear, I do NOT mean social bubbles - these are too divisive, leaving people more isolated, forcing them to choose between family and friends, and between sides of the family. Get back to the initial Phase 3 rule on this issue (three households, eight people), and keep it that way no matter what. Not allowing this will do far more harm than the virus.

by gmb on October 05, 2020 at 07:05PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 4.6
Based on: 86 votes


  • Posted by jmfarrell92 October 05, 2020 at 19:31

    We really need this kind of social interaction.
  • Posted by mariannemca October 05, 2020 at 19:38

    This really must happen with the winter weather coming, we cannot continue to exist with meeting parents and siblings in coffee shops
  • Posted by Vickya1501 October 05, 2020 at 19:47

    Agree! Having this restriction back has just ruined me. And I presume many others. I live in fear of being in trouble more than this virus now.
  • Posted by Fionafrgsn October 05, 2020 at 19:47

    People are getting very isolated and depressed if they are following the current guidance. My son is 40 next week and we are hoping we are able to go for lunch with him and his fiancée. My 85 father stayed with us during lockdown but has now returned to his home so we are in an extended family with him. However we are despairing of people we know who are ignoring the guidance and still visiting each other. This is breeding anxiety and causing upset. We have only met up with our son twice since March and used to see him every week. The thought of Christmas apart is very upsetting. People must respect each other and follow the guidance but we should also be allowed to meet up within reason.
  • Posted by gd1234 October 05, 2020 at 19:59

    Please allow us to meet parents in their home. I for one struggle balancing work during day sorting out teenagers meals/care at home and visiting my older parents. It’s cruel with the dark nights and cold weather to chat in garden for 10 minutes in an evening. Unfair when following all rules to now not be allowed home visits with own family.
  • Posted by Katz37 October 05, 2020 at 20:14

    I agree with gd1234. Elderly parents need to be able to join with at least one other household for their emotional and mental wellbeing. Our elderly spent months in lockdown and are now suffering again as they can’t have visitors indoors. It’s coming into winter and outdoor meetings are no good for them in the cold and damp. They should be able to join with at least one other household.
  • Posted by ACCarnall October 05, 2020 at 21:36

    This is an obvious red line for many people, one of the most important things that makes life worth living. Six months may not seem like a very long time to the average adult, but plenty of elderly people with serious health conditions don't know if they'll still be here from one year to the next. Balancing the risk of the virus with the risk of losing a significant part of one's remaining time with family is something that needs to be left up to individuals, not mandated by the government.
  • Posted by Jmacv October 05, 2020 at 22:51

    Completely agree, people need the support of friends and family more than ever, meeting outdoors or in pubs/cafes isn’t practical for due to the weather and at a time when people’s income is lower not all can afford to meet in places that require spending money. Allow small gatherings and hefty fines for those having excessive numbers.
  • Posted by Carolscat October 05, 2020 at 22:51

    Absolutely agree with this. I honestly think if this rule doesn't change again soon then more and more people who have previously followed the rules will start to break this one. Much better to have reasonable guidelines that people are more likely to be on board with.
  • Posted by rebeccacv October 05, 2020 at 23:03

    I agree with this. I'm expecting my first child with my husband and although he is a brilliant support system, I do miss having interaction with my immediate family. Especially during such a special time. As soon as the restrictions on household gatherings were announced I did find it affected my mood negatively.
  • Posted by Holidayg61 October 06, 2020 at 05:11

    This is essential to wellbeing and maintaining positive mental health for people. Isolation is dangerous. We need to be able to meet our families/close friends in our homes. Our homes are safer than public places where contact with strangers is inevitable and more risky. People are taking risks every day at work we must be allowed to decide and mitigate the risks we are willing to take with family/friends.
  • Posted by Julie October 06, 2020 at 09:31

    I can deal with most things if I can see my family. Telling people to meet outside in the autumn and winter in Scotland is effectively saying you can’t see them. I would feel much safer in my own home than in any pub or restaurant. It is stupid that you can sit in a pub with lots of complete strangers Whom you know nothing about but not socially distance in your own (probably much cleaner) home with family. If guidance is not reasonable people will not follow it, you are losing the country with these draconian measures. Most people have complied fully to date but the longer this goes on the more they will question rules that make no apparent sense.
  • Posted by Ideas81 October 06, 2020 at 09:58

    This should be the priority. Doesn’t have to be large gatherings. Keep it to 6 max but allow families to see each other
  • Posted by rmk October 06, 2020 at 10:11

    This should be prioritised over having pubs and restaurants open. The latter might be good for the economy, but family life is more important. Any visitors we have (even family) we've been following much stricter cleaning regimes, and ensuring an appropriate distance is maintained wherever possible. It is nonsensical that pubs and restaurants, especially those with forced air recirculation, have been shown in numerous case studies globally from China, to the USA, Norway, and Spain to name a few are often locations where so-called 'super-spreaders' cause mass infection and yet they remain encouraged over social visits. I am NOT suggesting we allow house parties of 15 people, but there's a big difference between that and meeting your parents for a cup of tea in their own home, not surrounded by many others, the legislation has ceased to be proportionate. If the government have overwhelming evidence that small gatherings of 4-5 people indoors are the primary cause of spread just now, share that with the public, and share it with the world so it can be reviewed and discussion can be had why we're seeing different patterns than everywhere else with peer-reviewed studies.
  • Posted by tcchambers04 October 06, 2020 at 14:41

    The mental health of many is now being negatively impacted by the restrictions currently in place. Two families with two children (over 12) each cannot meet inside (essential as we live in Scotland and winter approaching). This is crazy give they could go to a bar and restaurant and sit less than 2m apart. Families like my own who have been dealing with the grief of losing close family members need to have regular contact with other family members and in some cases very close friends. Most people I know have been sensible have been very careful and we are now being punished for doing as we have been asked. The mental health damage will last for years and will see the loss of life as a result of the rule of six (evidence shows we need close connections to deal with anxiety and depression). Stop punishing us for Government mistakes in March in moving vulnerable into care homes without testing or PPE. Your guilt should not be imposed on the rest of us.
  • Posted by CarolynM0607 October 06, 2020 at 15:53

    The current rule needs to change to allow people to meet their family or friends in their own homes The current rules do not work as they are detrimental to mental health, inconsistent (under 11’s don’t need to socially distance at school but can’t play together after school) but also because they not equitable. Not all families will have the income to meet extended family members in hospitality venues which leads them to either feeing isolated or breaking the rules
  • Posted by fyfe1999 October 06, 2020 at 16:02

    Yes, I agree! Some people can't afford to meet eachother in bars and pubs all the time. I'm struggling to meet with some of my friends because of this and it's dividing everyone.
  • Posted by JeniaFinegan October 06, 2020 at 16:20

    Families and social networks are vitally important. There is no evidence that isolating families does anything to stop the virus but plenty of evidence of great harm this causes to mental heath and physical health of people. Isolating people also alienates people and creates dangerous divisions in society.
  • Posted by slimbofat October 07, 2020 at 11:46

    There should be no restrictions within people's homes - this is government overreach. Each household should make its own risk assessment on whether social gatherings are acceptable or not (you're not likely to get Covid from you neighbour having lots of people over - even it a block of flats). We have the information to make informed choices, let us make them for ourselves!
  • Posted by gbsenior October 07, 2020 at 14:56

    The Scottish Government has repeatedly stated tha the evidence is that Covid 19 spreads more rapidly in houses than in public indoor places such as pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, other shops. Whenever I have watched TV news interviews, it seems to me that whenever publicans have been interviewed, clients in the background have been passing very close to the person being interviewed, even though this is always claimed to be "a controlled environment". In shops, such as supermarkets, many shoppers are paying little attention to the 2-metre distancing rule, and again this is claimed to be "a controlled environment". Also, if gatherings in public indoor settings are safer than in homes, why does the government not encourage cinemas, theatres, and football stadia to reopen with the 2-metre distancing being applied ? If households are more dangerous than these examples, PUBLISH the evidence. I feel that preventing parents from being visited in their own ( thoroughly disinfected ) home by their own children ( up to maximum 8 people and 3 households ) is condemning them and their families to an autumn/winter total lockdown , since meeting outdoors is hardly likely in Scottish winter weather, especially since meeting in restaurants/ coffee shops/ pubs involves expense which might be considerable and possibly weight gain for those who frequently do so in order to see their family members. Any offenders who break this proposed rule by larger family gatherings/parties should be heavily fined, as should any pubs/restaurants/coffee shops. ( And my wife and I were delighted when coffee shops were allowed to reopen. ) The likely impact on mental health is very likely to be high, protracted, and devastating for the people concerned and for already inadequate NHS mental . health services. The Scottish government has successfully allowed churches to reopen. Please revise the rules in order to allow families to meet in each others' homes ( maximum 3 households/eight people not counting children under 12 ).
  • Posted by rationalone October 10, 2020 at 11:09

    People are more likely to comply if they feel measures are proportionate.
  • Posted by APragmatist October 10, 2020 at 16:06

    I agree with this proposal strongly. work in NHS mental health services and can confirm that many clients are experiencing worse mental health as a result of isolation and confusion/uncertainty caused by ever changing guidance on social gathering.
  • Posted by Commonsensefirst October 11, 2020 at 16:16

    I strongly agree with this proposal. From my circle of friends and family there are now 2 people suffering with mental anxiety mainly down to the restrictions of not being able to see close friends or family for a coffee in their own homes where they can support each other. Homes that are kept clean are far more safe than cafes. How do you know whether the person sitting nearby or the staff keep as clean a standard as you can in your own home or who they have been in contact with recently. It is nonsense that you can go to a cafe with maybe 30 people but cannot have a coffee with a loved one in the safety of your own home. I would also say that some elderly relatives may be frightened to go out to a cafe but feel safe speaking to a family member in their home. Why should frightened old people (such as my mother) be denied face to face contact? I fear for everyone's mental health as the winter and the dark nights approach and feel it is the governments duty to bring in rules that allow social contact within homes. To continue with no contact allowed will contribute to more mental health and health problems.
  • Posted by Epilex October 11, 2020 at 16:30

    Absolutely agree. Social interactions are essential, and (video) calling people doesn't necessarily make up for it. When I look at what's being done in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, etc., none of these countries have completely banned indoor gatherings, despite the number of cases going up. As a foreigner living in Scotland (in the 'Central Belt'), I find following the rules on indoor gatherings quite difficult. I don't have any family around, and meeting one other person/household for a coffee outdoors is not convenient at all given the weather/temperatures, which is a point that's been raised many times. Most people would probably wish for some privacy, in a quiet and warm environment (home). Why not allow indoor gatherings of 2 households? Or at least extend the meaning of 'extended household' so that 2 households (whatever the number of people in each household) are allowed to meet? I don't think resorting to continual (semi-)lockdowns is the solution. We need to tap into the testing capacity (which apparently currently stands between 30 and 40k a day according to Sturgeon) and allow people to live with the virus. Otherwise, I fear more and more people will start breaking the rules. It is possible to strike a better balance.
  • Posted by Lstewart October 11, 2020 at 17:18

    Absolutely agree. I couldn't care less if the pubs are open (other than obviously I don't want people to lose their jobs) but not letting people see family is destroying morale. People will be a lot more on board with any restrictions if they can see family
  • Posted by Suzie October 11, 2020 at 17:28

    This is a dangerous idea! All indoors meetings must be strongly discouraged as this is the main route of transmission. We must get used to wrapping up and meeting out of doors, socially distanced, until the virus is suppressed. This can be fun- walks, picnics, parks, gardens- and very good for physical and mental health.
  • Posted by lpp1745 October 11, 2020 at 19:45

    I completely agree with this. My partner is autistic and the thought of meeting with family in a potentially noisy cafe/outdoor space is not something they feel comfortable with at the best of times, so as a result it is incredibly difficult to see our families within these regulations, and as such a toll is being taken on our mental health.
  • Posted by SpaceCadet October 11, 2020 at 19:47

    Need to have some allowance for indoor meetings. Banning and insisting on meeting outside etc doesn't work for everyone. My mother is 91 and partially sighted she needs family interaction and we also need to see her, even allowing 2 households with 6 people would help.
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