Image: Boris Johnson and Matt Hancock in parliament, 26 November 2020; BBC Parliament
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the tiers in which the different regions of the country have been placed. London is in Tier 2, where we were before the second lockdown.
What that means is that the pubs will be open, providing they are serving food, along with non-essential shops, restaurants, personal care salons and gyms. Alcohol can only be served in pubs to people ordering a ‘substantial meal’. Last orders will be at 10.00pm, though customers will have until 11.00pm to leave the pub.
Another difference from the previous iteration of Tier 2 is that spectator sports will be allowed to resume, inside and outside, with capacity levels and social distancing, as they are in theatres and concert venues. For Brentford FC that means that 2,000 fans will be allowed to go to games at the new 17,000 seater stadium, for the first time.
In Chiswick it also means that the next Flower Market will go ahead on Sunday 6 December.
London is being treated as one entity, rather than there being different rules for different Boroughs. Sir Ian Duncan Smith told Sky News he thought not all London Boroughs should be treated the same, because the figures are quite low in some Boroughs. “London is the engine driver of the UK’s economy”, he said, it represents about a third of the UK’s economy, and the sooner the London economy gets going again, the better. The Government has to be very careful, he said, about being “over zealous” about enforcing the Covid measures.
Currently the London average of Covid infection rates is 187 per 100,000 people, compared with the England wide average of 217 per 100,000 people.
Speaking in the Parliament on Thursday 26 November, Matt Hancock said it was vital that the country keeps the pressure on the virus. He reminded MPs that currently there are 16,570 people in hospital with the coronavirus and that 696 deaths had been reported on Wednesday 25 November from the virus.
He said that while in all three tiers the restrictions were less stringent than those of the national lockdown, more areas had been put into Tiers 1 and 2. In the south of England, North Thanet and Kent are joining northern cities like Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle in Tier 3. “We must make sure”, he said, “that our actions today would save lives for the future”.
Despite the Tier 2 restrictions, local traders are delighted to be opening their doors again. Chiswick retailer John Fitzgerald, who runs Snappy Snaps, told The Chiswick Calendar:
“I think it’s a fantastic opportunity to get some trade done between now and Christmas”.
Image above: Brentford FC Community stadium
Restrictions for Tier 2
In tier 2:
- you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
- pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
- hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
- provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
- close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
- stop taking orders after 10pm
- hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
- early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
- public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
- places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
- weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
- organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
- organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
- you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
- if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
- for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list
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