Lockdown in England will come to an end on Wednesday, December 2 after a month of strict rules on leaving home and which businesses can open. The country will see a return to the three-tier system it was in before the second lockdown began, but with bolstered rules to bring down the R-rate.
Setting out the measures on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “From next Wednesday people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces, subject to the rule of six, collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen.
“But without sensible precautions, we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or New Year surge.”
Details of which areas will be put in which tier will be set out on Thursday, Mr Johnson said.
He cautioned: “I’m sorry to say we expect that more regions will fall at least temporarily into higher levels than before.”
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Which tier an area will be placed under is based on the following criteria:
- Case rates in all age groups
- Case rates in the over 60s
- The rate at which cases are rising or falling
- The number of cases as a percentage of tests taken
- Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy
If you live in an area which is 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.
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You also must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is known as the ‘rule of 6’.
The Government advises you can travel to venues or amenities which are open, however, you should try to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
You can visit Tier 1 areas if you live in a Tier 2 area, however, you must continue to follow Tier 2 rules once there.
If you live in Tier 1 or Tier 2, you are advised to avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary.
Necessary reasons are for such things as work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.
You are permitted to travel through a Tier 3 area if it is part of a longer journey.
Those in Tier 3 areas must avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary.
Again this is for things like work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities.
Over Christmas, rules will be lifted somewhat for five days, from December 23 to December 27.
This will allow up to three households to meet indoors, in what will be known as a Christmas bubble.
Mr Johnson told families they must make a “personal judgment” about the risks of coronavirus to vulnerable loved ones when forming a Christmas bubble.
Mr Johnson acknowledged the measures would not add up to a “normal Christmas” and urged people to exercise caution, particularly when meeting with the elderly or the vulnerable.
On a video posted to Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “We can’t afford to throw caution to the wind. The virus doesn’t know it’s Christmas and we must all be careful.
“I know this doesn’t equate to a normal Christmas and it won’t work for everyone.
“And it is up to each of us to think carefully about how we use this time-limited special dispensation.
“The virus has not gone away and families will need to make a personal judgment about the risk of forming a bubble with or visiting elderly relatives and the vulnerable.”