It may surprise some, but social distancing has never been a law like the "rule of 6" has - it's always been government guidance. In terms of Alton Towers, like all businesses there has been a set of guidelines published for each sector on what can be done to mitigate the risks from Covid-19 transmission when operating. However, that doesn't mean it's a free-for-all to do what they like and ignore that guidance. All businesses have a legal requirement to provide a safe environment for both customers and employees, so the guidance is used by the HSE and local Environmental Health teams to enforce that requirement and assess whether a business is safely operating. The differences you see with Blackpool and say Alton Towers is not because of a change in the law, it could be for one or a combination of the following: A difference in how strict the local Environmental Health teams are in their interpretation of the guidelines. The business's insurer interprets those guidelines differently and therefore enforces them as a requirement of cover to reduce risk. The business themselves interpret the guidelines differently. The business has made a conscious decision to keep the rows free to increase guest comfort for those who are still anxious over visiting.