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Government's COVID-19 Winter Plan

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on Monday 23rd November of the Government’s COVID-19 Winter Plan, he confirmed that the national restrictions in England will end 00.01  Wednesday 2nd December and that the country will move back into a regional tiered approach. These tiers will be tougher than previously and it was announced on Thursday 26th November which areas are in which tier. postcode checker has been set up on GOV.UK to find out the tier level in different areas

Decisions on tiers were made by ministers based on public health recommendations informed by the following factors:
  1. Case detection rate (in all age groups and, in particular, among the over 60s)
  2. How quickly case rates are rising or falling
  3. Positivity in the general population
  4. Pressure on the NHS – including current and projected (3 to 4 weeks out) NHS capacity – including admissions, general/acute/ICU bed occupancy, staff absences
  5. Local context and exceptional circumstances such as a local but contained outbreak.

 

The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2nd December, from which time people will be able to leave home for any purpose and meet people outside their household subject to the rule of 6, collective worship and weddings can resume, shops and gyms can reopen 

Tier 1: Medium alert
  • People must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies.
  • Businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs.
  • Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
    • Provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol
    • Close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in 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, concert halls, 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 4,000 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 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.
  • 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.
  • People who live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier should follow the rules for that area while they are there. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey is permitted. 
Tier 2: High alert
  • People must not socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
  • People who live in a tier 2 area, must continue to follow tier 2 rules when they travel to a tier 1 area. Travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas should be avoided other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey is permitted.
Tier 3: Very High alert
  • People must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody they do not live with, or who is not in their support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues.
  • People must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.
  • Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.
  • Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:
    • play centres and areas, cinemas, theatres and concert halls, trampolining parks,soft play, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades, adult gaming centres, laser quests and escape rooms, snooker halls
  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (although indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:
    • zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves, aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes, landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms.
  • Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close.
  • There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.
  • Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.
  • Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place.
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. See full guidance for exceptions. 
  • People can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.
  • Travel to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays should be avoided, other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. Travel through other areas as part of a longer journey is permitted.

Updated guidance from Wednesday 2nd December with some key points of clarification provided for tier 3 - VERY HIGH ALERT 

  • Businesses and venues selling alcohol for consumption off the premises can continue to do so as long as this is through takeaway, delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

  • Food or alcohol purchased from a hospitality premises via takeaway or click-and-collect may not be consumed on any part of that premises, including beer gardens, as well as adjacent seating to the premises (with exceptions for motorway service areas, airports, seaports, the international terminal at Folkestone and public transport services although these places cannot sell alcohol after 11pm). 

  • Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close with limited exceptions. 

  • Businesses that remain open in law, but are located within accommodation, such as a spa within a hotel, can remain open. 

  • Please note: These restrictions on accommodation do not apply between 22nd to 28th December 2020. This means that accommodation may open during this period for people to stay in order to be located near their Christmas bubbles. However other restrictions, such as those on hospitality and social contact still apply - so people cannot mix with their Christmas bubble in a hotel, for example, unless a member of their bubble lives there permanently. Please see separate guidance for more information on the rules for social contact during the Christmas period (23rd to 27th December). 

  • Indoor play centres and areas, trampolining parks, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, amusement arcades and adult gaming centres, nightclubs and adult entertainment venues, laser quests and escape rooms, cinemas, theatres concert halls – other than drive-in events, broadcasting performances, training or rehearsal, circuses, snooker and pool halls (other than for elite athletes) must close.

  • Indoor attractions at zoos, safari parks, and aquariums, other animal attractions including farms, water parks and aqua parks, model villages, museums, galleries and sculpture parks, botanical or other gardens, biomes or greenhouses, theme parks, fairgrounds and funfairs, adventure playgrounds and parks, including ziplining, visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles, stately homes or heritage railways, landmarks including observation wheels and viewing platforms must close.

  • Outdoor tourism and entertainment venues can remain open subject to following the relevant rules and guidelines. 

  • Outdoor cinemas, theatres and concert venues can remain open for drive-in only, but must close at 11pm, other than for the purposes of concluding a performance which began before 10pm.

  • Outdoor events, such as funfairs can continue to happen in line with COVID-secure guidance – other than large outdoor performance events (performances, shows and screenings), which must be drive-in only.

  • Retail premises may open, other than shops situated inside closed premises that cannot be accessed directly from the street – retail premises within accommodation may also stay open.

See the full guidance for the exemptions from gathering limits in all tiers