Coronavirus: How the ‘rule of six’ saved the summer for these beach hut owners

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Stuart and Zoe Robertson in Lancashire have been able to offer a socially-distanced days out in their boltholes by the sea.

    The “rule of six” helped save the summer season on the seafront in St Anne’s in Lancashire. 

    As they struggled to work out how to reopen their line of beach huts in the late spring, Stuart and Zoe Robertson settled on six as the limit of people they could safely accommodate in their boltholes by the sea.

    And it’s worked – six people at a time in each hut to enable a socially-distanced day out.

    From Monday the rules are changing to limit gatherings to six across England but there are different versions of the same principle in Wales and Scotland.

Coronavirus: How the 'rule of six' saved the summer for these beach hut owners

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    Emma Partlow, a holidaymaker, told us: “People are struggling to stick to the rules because there is a lack of consistency.”

    The PHD student from Cannock in Staffordshire added: “People can sit in a busy restaurant but you can’t see your great grandma for example.

    “You just need to be able to see the value in what you are being asked to do.”

    Louise Brady had escaped Bolton for the day, which is currently the UK’s COVID-19 hotspot.

Coronavirus: How the 'rule of six' saved the summer for these beach hut owners

    She said: “It is scary in Bolton at the minute but you have to keep going – you do your best everyday to keep clean hands, keep distanced.

    “The rule of six thing is OK for us because we have our bubble and we’d had restrictions for a while anyway.

    “The way some people go on (ignoring the rules) you wonder if they can count to six though.”

    Meticulous cleaning regimes and not personally welcoming guests are some of the measures that meant the business has survived and flourished.

    The boom in people holidaying in the UK in small groups actually helped the owners of the huts.

Coronavirus: How the 'rule of six' saved the summer for these beach hut owners

    Mrs Robertson told Sky News that the gloomy days in spring gave way to some special days this summer: “The best moments are seeing the huts all full, all the families sticking to the rules of six and just being happy and grateful to be away.”

    “If you can give people clear instructions they will follow them – the overwhelming majority have been great at doing what we had to ask them to do.”

    The lesson from this stretch of seaside – where they’ve welcomed visitors from all corners of the UK this summer – is keep it simple.

    Then you’ve got a chance.


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