England steps in as lockdown ends – what are the new coronavirus rules?


Gyms are allowed to reopen from Wednesday

England will enter a regional system of coronavirus restrictions when the second national lockdown ends on Wednesday.

Here, the PA News Agency takes a look at everything you need to know about the Three-Tier System.

Starting Wednesday, shops, gyms and personal care services across England will be able to reopen.

Weddings and outdoor sports will be able to resume and the restriction on people meeting someone from another household in outdoor spaces will end in a return to the rule of six.

However, the country is on the verge of switching to a regional system of tiered restrictions – similar to those introduced earlier this year.

– So what is the tiered system?

There are three different levels of restrictions which are imposed regionally depending on the number of coronavirus cases and the pressure exerted by the NHS in that area.

(PA graphics)

People living under Level 1 restrictions will enjoy greater freedoms, while people in Levels 2 and 3 will be subject to more stringent measures.

– Are pubs and restaurants now allowed to reopen?

Hospitality establishments will be able to reopen to customers on levels 1 and 2, although they are limited to table service, and those on level 2 can only serve alcohol with “substantial” meals.

The previous 10pm curfew will be relaxed with last orders at 10pm, followed by an hour to finish drinks before the pub closes.

At Level 3, pubs and restaurants will be limited to deliveries and take-out only, while indoor entertainment venues will also remain closed.

– Will I be able to see my friends and family?

Under level 1, people can meet a maximum of six friends or family members outdoors or indoors, and for those in level 2, people from two different households cannot mingle at indoor and outdoor gatherings will be limited to six.

Coronavirus - ven 13 nov.2020
Reception sites will be able to reopen on levels 1 and 2 (Dominic Lipinski / PA)

But in Level 3 areas, groups of six will only be able to meet in outdoor public spaces, such as parks and public gardens.

– How are restrictions determined in each zone?

When deciding on levels, the government looks at coronavirus cases across all age groups and especially those over 60, who are considered most at risk.

Officials are also looking at whether infection rates are increasing or decreasing in this area and the positivity rate – that is, the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests performed.

Pressure on the NHS is also taken into account, including current and planned occupation.

– How many people are currently facing the most severe restrictions?

More than 55 million people will be placed in Level 2 and 3 measures on Wednesday, meaning mixing between households indoors will effectively be banned for the vast majority of the country.

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – accounting for just over 1% of England’s population – are subject to the lightest level 1 restrictions.

Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are among the most restrictive Level 3, which accounts for 41.5% of the population, or 23.3 million people.

The majority of authorities – including London – will belong to Tier 2, which will cover 57.3% of the country, or 32 million people.

– When could we make changes to the level system?

The first review date for tier assignment is December 16, with reviews every 14 days from that date.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said during the first review of the measures he would move areas down from a level where there is “strong evidence” that the virus is in sustained decline.


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