London will enter Tier 2 of the coronavirus alert system after lockdown ends on December 2.
After Prime Minister Boris Johnson addressed the House of Commons on Monday to outline the government’s plans for December, it was revealed that England would return to the three-tiered system that was in place pre-lockdown 2.0.
Health secretary Matt Hancock has just announced which tier each local authority has been assigned, with London entering Tier 2. Not everywhere has returned to the same tier they were in before lockdown (London included), and many areas have been placed into higher tiers.
“So, remind me, what does this mean we’re allowed to do?”
You may notice that the tier system isn’t quite the same as it was before the lockdown, with tighter restrictions to get us through the winter.
As London is now in Tier 2 (high alert), this means a ban on mixing with other households indoors (outdoor gatherings of up to six are permitted under the “rule of six”), including in pubs and restaurants. Pubs serving food are allowed to remain open, but so-called “wet pubs” serving drinks only will be forced to close.
It’s important to note that the tier system isn’t quite the same as it was when we were last in Tier 2. Pubs, bars, and restaurants will only be allowed to serve alcohol with a “substantial meal”. However, the 10pm curfew will be pushed back an hour. From December 2, last orders will remain at 10pm, but we’ll be allowed an extra hour to polish off our drinks and meals before having to leave. Critics of the 10pm curfew had noted that it encouraged people to all leave at the same time – so the hope is that the extension will lead to a smoother exit come closing time, as well as giving beleaguered hospitality spots time to squeeze in another round of service before the new 11pm curfew.
Exercise and sporting activities are also affected by the changes, with outdoor grassroots sport (i.e. your village cricket team, community football club, etc) allowed regardless of tier, and gyms also allowed to reopen at all tiers. In Tier 2, up to 2000 fans will be allowed to attend outdoor sporting events, and up to 1000 for indoor events (with social distancing measures in place, of course).
Non-essential shops will be open all over the country, so any Christmas shopping plans are safe. And, finally, weddings and worship services will also be allowed to resume.
So, let’s do a quick recap of London’s rules, shall we?
• No mixing with other households indoors, except for support bubbles.
• Outdoor gatherings of up to six are permitted under the “rule of six”.
• Pubs serving food are allowed to reopen, but “wet pubs” will have to close.
• Pubs, bars and restaurants will only be allowed to serve alcohol with a “substantial meal”.
• Last orders will be 10pm, but venues must close at 11pm.
• Outdoor grassroots sport and exercise classes are allowed.
• Gyms are allowed to reopen, regardless of tier.
• Non-essential shops will reopen all over the country.
• Salons (hairdressers, tattoo studios, etc) will be open.
• Up to 2000 fans (or 50% capacity, whichever is lower) can attend outdoor sporting events, and 1000 fans for indoor events.
• Weddings can take place with up to 15 guests, including a reception. Funerals can go ahead with up to 30 guests.
• We’re advised to travel as little as possible, and avoid Tier 3 areas except for things like work, education and medical visits.
• Overnight stays (staycations) are permitted, with members of your household or support bubble.
• Restrictions will be lifted across the UK for a five day period over Christmas, from December 23–27.
Also published on Medium.