England in Tier 4 – What are the rules?
Tier 4 was extended across parts of England from December 26th, to combat the more contagious strain of the virus with London and South East plunged int restrictions’ ‘broadly equivalent’’ to a full lockdown. The new restrictions came after the UK death toll passed 70,000 on Christmas Day. Three days later the UK reached a daily record of infections with 41,385 new labs confirmed cases. Further, 357 people also died within 28 days of testing positive with the virus.
Concerns about the threat by the new variant, soaring cases of Covid in London and the South East, led the Prime Minister to introduce the new Tier 4 for such parts of the country with orders to stay home. Tier 4 means that non-essential retail and indoor gyms, hairdressers, barbers will be closed and people won’t be able to meet more than one person from another household in an outdoor public space. Residents cannot mix with anyone outside of their support bubbles and should not leave their tier.
In Tier 4 travelling abroad is prohibited with the exception of circumstances such as work obligations. Travel, both domestic and international is off the cards until at least December 30. Other countries have followed suit such as France, Italy, Germany, India and Canada issued a temporary ban on flights from the UK. Tier 4 is the toughest set of local restrictions in England, resulting ban of people meeting inside or outside unless they are in a support bubble. Pubs, bars, restaurants will be only able to serve takeaway services, hotels will have to close their door until the Tier level in the local area drops back into Tier 2.
Indoor entertainment venues- theatres and cinemas have to close. Outdoor sports will be allowed to take place, but spectators will not be able to attend any sporting event. Essential shops are allowed to remain open such as schools, universities and workplaces although people are advised to work from home where possible.
HOW LONG WILL THE MEASURES LAST?
The health secretary said that these restrictions are likely to last for months until the vaccine has been rolled out across the UK. The measures will be reviewed on 30 December as part of a wider review of Tier restrictions.
WILL PARTS OF ENGLAND ARE IN TIER 4?
Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton but excluding the New Forest and the remainder of Essex, are now in Tier 4.
Areas including Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Hastings, Kent and Portsmouth entered Tier 4 last week.
WILL OUTDOOR EXERCISE FACILITIES REMAIN OPEN?
While indoor gyms and sports facilities must close under the new restrictions, outdoor exercise facilities such as golf courses, outdoor gyms, riding centres, playgrounds and outdoor swimming pools may remain open.
A funeral can take place as long as they are in a Covid-secure venue or in a public outdoor space. Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, with social distancing between people who do not live together or share a support bubble. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should not take place during the restrictions except in exceptional circumstances ( for example if one person is ill and will not recover, or due to undergo treatment or life changing surgery). In these instances, the ceremony can only be attended by six people.