Three-tier system to return after lockdown

Three-tier system to return after lockdown

 · 3 min read
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A new three-tier system for COVID-19 regulations will be implemented after the second national lockdown ends on 2 December. 

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A new three-tier system for COVID-19 regulations will be implemented after the second national lockdown ends on 2 December. 

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Boris Johnson has announced that, across England, non-essential shops, as well as gyms, will be allowed to reopen. Some sporting events will also be allowed to have spectators attend, and ceremonies such as weddings and other group worship activities will also be allowed to resume.

The three-tier system will be brought back into place, and the tiers to apply to different regions of England will be announced on Thursday. The rules will be stricter and more specific than the last set of tiered guidelines. 

Regions will be placed into tiers according to factors including case numbers, the local R number, and projections on how their local NHS venues will cope. 

The Prime Minister has said that "more regions will fall - at least temporarily - into higher levels than before".

In Monday evenings Downing Street briefing, Johnson also said after Easter, mass testing and the rollout of vaccines will be well underway and commented that "things will look and feel very different" after this point. 

Areas placed in tier one will be classified as medium risk areas. In this tier, the "rule of six" applies for indoor, outdoor and public spaces. Households can mix indoors so long as no more than six people are socialising. Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to open but will have to shut at 11 pm. People are still encouraged to work from home if it is possible. Venues offering personal care services such as hairdressing will also be allowed to open. 

Those in tier two are high-risk areas. Here, household mixing is not allowed indoors. Alcohol may only be served at venues that also offer "substantial" meals. The rest of the rules are the same as tier 1.

Finally, very high-risk areas placed in tier three face much stricter rules. Households can meet outdoors in public areas only, and the "rule of six" applies. Pubs and restaurants will be closed and can only offer takeaway services. Indoor entertainment venues will close and travel to and from the area is strongly advised against. Hairdressers are, however, allowed to remain open. 

Across all three tiers, exceptions are allowed for support bubbles. New support bubbles for parents who have babies under the age of one year old can form from 2 December. 

The plans for Christmas are currently under review and likely to be finalised this week, with uniformity across the whole UK expected. 

On Monday evening, the PM said: "I can't say that Christmas will be normal this year, but in a period of adversity time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none.

"We all want some kind of Christmas; we need it; we certainly feel we deserve it.

"But this virus obviously is not going to grant a Christmas truce… and families will need to make a careful judgement about the risks of visiting elderly relatives."

Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara Tunnicliffe
Zara joined Age Group in 2020 and is an expert in all things food and drink, travel and lifestyle.
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