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

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

Here, the PA news agency looks at everything you need to know about the three tier system.

– What coronavirus restrictions have now been lifted?

From 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 limiting people to meeting one person from another household in outdoor spaces will end with a return to the rule of six.

However, the country is set to move into a regional tiered system of restrictions – similar to those introduced earlier this year.

– So what is the tiered system?

There are three different tiers of restrictions which are imposed at a regional level depending on the number of coronavirus cases and the pressure facing the NHS in that area.

HEALTH Coronavirus
HEALTH Coronavirus

Those living under Tier 1 restrictions will have the greatest freedoms, while people in Tiers 2 and 3 face stricter measures.

– Are pubs and restaurants now allowed to reopen?

Hospitality venues will be able to reopen to guests in Tiers 1 and 2, although they will be limited to table service, and those in Tier 2 will only be able to serve alcohol with “substantial” meals.

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

In Tier 3, pubs and restaurants will be restricted to deliveries and takeaways only, while indoor entertainment venues will also remain shut.

– Will I be able to see friends and family?

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

Coronavirus – Fri Nov 13, 2020
Coronavirus – Fri Nov 13, 2020

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

– How are the restrictions determined in each area?

When deciding on the tiers, the Government look at coronavirus cases across all age groups and specifically among the over-60s, who are considered most at risk.

Officials also consider whether infection rates are rising or falling in that area and the positivity rate – meaning the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken.

Pressure on the NHS is also taken into account, including both current and projected occupancy.

– How many people are now facing the toughest restrictions?

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

National restrictions end on 2nd December across England.

But without sensible precautions, we risk the virus escalating over winter.

So we are returning to a tiered approach, applying the toughest measures where the virus is most prevalent.

More here: https://t.co/KNyBTnoeZapic.twitter.com/wNd4T9uXu9

— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) November 24, 2020

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly – accounting for little more than 1% of England’s population – face the lightest Tier 1 restrictions.

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

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

– When could any changes be made to the tier system?

The first review date for the allocation of tiers is set for December 16 , with reviews set for every 14 days from that date.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that at the first review of the measures, he would move areas down a tier where there is “robust evidence” that the virus is in sustained decline.