Following several weeks of a second nationwide lockdown across England, measures will be lifted on 2 December, swiftly followed by the reinstatement of a tiered system in a bid to keep suppressing coronavirus case numbers throughout the winter months.
Boris Johnson has long said it would be a “bumpy road to Christmas” and throughout the last month of the year we are going to see strict measures maintained, with a return to the postcode system first used in October.
But unlike the first version, this system will reclassify the tiers to mean slightly different things from the first time round. Mr Johnson said: “While the previous tiers did cut the R-number they were not quite enough to cut it below one.”
Even though restrictions continue, the ending of the second national lockdown will come as great news for many in the hospitality industry and in the retail sector, who feared it could be extended.
Though going “back to normal” is far from the agenda, Mr Johnson’s announcement offers assurance there will be some concessions sure to help bring some business back through the door for pubs and restaurants.
What do we know about the hospitality industry in the new tiered lockdown?
What does this mean for pubs and restaurants?
During the nationwide lockdown, pubs and restaurants have had to close apart from those serving takeaway and delivery services.
In the new tier system - to begin on 2 December - hospitality can reopen in tier one and two, but not in tier three where only deliveries and takeaways may continue.
But it’s not without limits. For example, in tier two where Mr Johnson said alcohol “may only be served as part of a substantial meal”.
Tier one: Table service only, rule of six on mingling indoors and outdoors and wearing face masks when not seated at your table. For example, being seated or visiting the bathroom.
Tier two: No household mixing indoors. Maximum of six people mixing outdoors and can only be served alcohol if alongside a “substantial meal”.
Tier three: Hospitality will remain closed (other than takeaway or delivery) until the region moves out of tier three.
The tiers will be reviewed by law every 14 days and will lapse in March, if no other system is put in place in the meantime.
It is also worth noting that tiers will be a uniform set of rules, unlike before when there were some additional negotiations and supplementary rules placed in local areas.
Is there a new curfew?
In the previous tiered-system there was a 10pm curfew which meant all hospitality not only couldn’t serve after 10pm but had to be empty of customers - people couldn’t, for example, loiter on the premises. That has been reviewed.
Mr Johnson said of the new system curfew: “From the 10pm closing time we’re going to change that so last orders [is] at 10 o’clock with closing at 11 in tiers one and two”.
This of course does not apply to tier three.
What tier is my area in?
People can find out which alert level their area falls under using the postcode search available on the government website. You can also refer to a full list here.
The NHS Covid 19 app will also be updated and show which local alert level applies in which area.