The new restrictions are expected to be in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen has been informed that it is highly likely that the entire Tees Valley will be placed at Level 2.
Level 2 restrictions are considered to be similar to the local lockdown rules, which are currently in place in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool.
But if the whole of Teesside is placed at Level 2, Redcar, Cleveland and Stockton will also have to follow new rules.
Below, we’ve answered some of the questions you might have about Level 2 rules:
Where do the rules apply?
Level 2 restrictions should be applied to the entire Teesside / Tees Valley.
This means they will need to be followed by residents living in Middlesbrough, Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Darlington.
Hartlepool and Middlesbrough are currently under local lockdown – prohibiting home / garden visits and going to pubs and restaurants with anyone other than your home.
The rules in these towns will be relaxed slightly when level 2 is introduced – meaning people will be able to meet in a friend’s garden, but no more than six people.
This will mean Stockton and Redcar will be aligned with Middlesbrough and Hartlepool – all residents of those towns will have to follow the new level 2 rules.
What are the household mixing restrictions?
As part of level 2, up to six people from two households will be able to mix in an outdoor garden.
However, households should NOT mix in homes or indoors.
This applies whether they are inside or outside the affected local areas.
If Level 2 is enforced, the restrictions currently in place for people living in Middlesbrough and Hartlepool will be relaxed slightly.
Under local foreclosure rules – to which these two cities are now subject – residents of these areas currently cannot meet another household in a garden.
What counts as an “interior frame”?
The ban on home mixing applies to any indoor location.
This does not apply to schools and workplaces, both of which are exempt.
Places that are definitely classified as indoor environments include restaurants, bars, pubs, social clubs, casinos, and coffee shops.
What are the exemptions from the ban on mixing households?
Gatherings in indoor environments, as well as in your home or garden, can still take place for these specific purposes:
- where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same bubble of support
- attend a birth at the mother’s request
- to visit a dying person
- to fulfill a legal obligation
- for professional purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
- for education or training purposes
- for childcare provided by a registered provider and informal childcare as part of a childcare bubble
- to provide emergency assistance
- to enable one or more persons present in the assembly to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
- to facilitate a move
- to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
- maintain the existing arrangements for access and contact between parents and children when the children do not live in the same household as their parents or one of their parents.
Can I still meet friends or relatives in outdoor public places – like a park, beach or beer garden?
As it stands, residents are legally allowed to meet with others, but this goes against public health advice.
The government has advised that people living in the lockdown areas do not meet anyone outside your household or support the bubble in any outside public place.
This included pub beer gardens and “areas directly outside of places or places, such as the sidewalk or road and parks”.
They must respect the “Rule of Six” and not meet in groups of more than six people.
It’s unclear if that will change in the new three-tier restrictions.
Under level 2 restrictions, two people will be able to meet in a garden – up to the “rule of six”.
What happens if I break the rules?
Police can take action against residents who break these rules.
Officers can ask people to disperse and impose fines.
People aged 18 or over can be fined £ 200 for the first offense, reduced to £ 100 if paid within 14 days.
They can be fined £ 400 for the second offense.
This amount will double for each new offense up to a maximum of £ 6,400.
Holding or being involved in holding an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is a separate offense, for which police can impose fines of £ 10,000.
What are the rules for reception venues and will my business receive support?
Below level 2, businesses will NOT be legally required to close.
This means that they will not have access to the new financial support described by Rishi Sunak last week.
The new financial support is only available if an area is placed under Level 3 foreclosure.
Due to the restrictions on mixing households, businesses will likely find it difficult to do without additional financial support as there will not be as many people going out as only people from the same household can go to a pub. or a restaurant.
What are the rules for childcare?
Children of separated parents can continue to move between households.
“Informal” childcare, for example grandparents looking after children, is allowed for children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults when needed for care purposes.
A group of grandparents, living in one household, is only allowed to care for a group of children from another household.
Childcare bubbles should be “on an exclusive basis – always the same two households”.
Parents and guardians can use childcare and early childhood facilities, including childminders and providers who offer before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children.
They can also continue to employ nannies, including those who live outside the area.
Play dates or parties are not allowed.
Can I move home?
Under local foreclosure rules, the move is still allowed.
Those who are classified as more medically vulnerable to the coronavirus, or who have already been protected, are advised to be very careful – but they are not yet told to protect themselves again.
Under current local lockdown rules, it is advisable to travel only for essential reasons when traveling to, within and out of affected council areas.
For example, going to work or school, getting food or essential medical supplies, supporting a vulnerable person, or seeking medical attention.
Public transport should only be used for essential travel.
People living in and outside affected local areas may continue to come in and out for work.
Residents should try not to share a car with people outside of their home or the Support Bubble.
They can always go on vacation outside the region, but they should only do so with members of their household or social bubble.
People can visit the area on vacation but must adhere to local restrictions.
Stations and ports remain open and members of the public are allowed to travel to and from these locations.
Sport and physical activity
Local lockout rules state that residents can continue to participate in organized sporting activities or permitted physical activities in groups of more than six people outdoors and up to six people indoors (for those over 18 years old).
There is an exemption for indoor sports if they are organized for a disabled person and for children’s activities.
Residents can visit gymnasiums, recreation centers and swimming pools provided they have the required risk assessments and guidelines in place.
They can travel outside the region to practice a sport, provided that the sport is organized by a national governing body, club, registered instructor, company or charity, or person with an official license.
People have been advised not to watch sporting events, including professional and semi-professional sporting events
Weddings and funerals
For England, the following attendance limits apply for weddings and funerals:
- Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are limited to 15 people
- Wedding receptions and celebrations can continue for up to 15 people in the form of a sit-down meal and in a Covid Secure setting, not in private accommodation.
- Funerals (including crematorium ceremonies) are limited to 30 people
- All other religion or belief based autonomous lifecycle ceremonies or celebrations are limited to 6 people
Anyone working at these ceremonies or events is not included in the people limit.
The additional restriction on mixing with other households in the indoor settings does not change the attendance limits.
Religious ceremonies and places of worship
Residents can attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple, or any other place or worship.
However, they should socially keep people outside their household away.
This means maintaining a distance of two meters, or one meter with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).
If possible, prayer or religious services should be held outdoors.