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Government Updates 

Recent and upcoming changes

From 2nd December Hull will move into Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions

Local restriction tiers: what you need to know

Sets out the local restriction tier system that will be in place from Wednesday 2 December, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.

  1. Why the government is introducing tiers
  2. What tiers mean
  3. All tiers
  4. Tier 1: Medium alert
  5. Tier 2: High alert
  6. Tier 3: Very High alert
  7. Exemptions from gatherings limits in all tiers

23 November 2020

Government releases Winter Plan for managing coronavirus

The government’s plan for managing COVID-19 through the winter.

5 November

National restrictions now apply to England:

  • you cannot meet socially with anyone indoors unless they’re in your support bubble
  • there are changes to how many people you can meet outside
  • you must not travel in the UK or overseas, unless for a specific reason, like education, work or a caring responsibility

Clinically extremely vulnerable people are advised to stay at home, except for exercise or essential health appointments.

From 2nd December #Hull will move into Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions. See the below image for further information.

A joint statement on UK-wide Christmas arrangements from the UK Government and Devolved Administrations.

 

As 2020 draws to a close, we recognise it has been an incredibly difficult year for us all. We have all had to make significant sacrifices in our everyday lives, and many religious and community groups have already had to change or forgo their customary celebrations to slow the spread of coronavirus and save lives.

This cannot be a ‘normal’ Christmas. But as we approach the festive period, we have been working closely together to find a way for family and friends to see each other, even if it is for a short time, and recognising that it must be both limited and cautious.

Even where it is within the rules, meeting with friends and family over Christmas will be a personal judgement for individuals to take, mindful of the risks to themselves and others, particularly those who are vulnerable. We need everyone to think carefully about what they do during this period, balancing some increased social contact with the need to keep the risk of increased transmission of the virus as low as possible. This is particularly important when considering those who are vulnerable, and before deciding to come together over the festive period we urge the consideration of alternative approaches such as the use of technology or meeting outside.

In this context, the four administrations have reached agreement on a single set of UK-wide measures to help people come together with their loved ones in a way that is as safe as possible.

Today we have agreed that:

  • Travel restrictions across the four administrations and between tiers will be lifted to provide a window for households to come together between the 23rd and 27th of December.
  • Up to three households can form an exclusive ‘bubble’ to meet at home during this period. When a bubble is formed it is fixed, and must not be changed or extended further at any point.
  • Each Christmas bubble can meet at home, at a place of worship or an outdoor public place, but existing, more restrictive rules on hospitality and meeting in other venues will be maintained throughout this period.

It is important that everyone respects and abides by the rules of each nation wherever they choose to spend the festive period. Where there are any variations in our approach, these will be communicated by each administration accordingly. Further guidance will be provided in due course.

The winter holiday period is a time often spent with family and friends, with schools and offices closing and people travelling over the bank holidays. Many have already begun making their plans, and we are today providing clarity to help people make the right choices for them, and enjoy time with those closest to them while staying within the rules to protect us all.

 

Published 24 November 2020

Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.

National restrictions from 5 November

Applies to: England (see guidance for WalesScotland and Northern Ireland)

COVID-19 case numbers are rising rapidly across the whole of the UK and in other countries. We must act now to control the spread of the virus. The single most important action we can all take to fight coronavirus is to stay at home, to protect the NHS and save lives.

When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we reduce the spread of the infection. That is why, from Thursday 5 November until Wednesday 2 December, you must:

  1. Stay at home, except for specific purposes.
  2. Avoid meeting people you do not live with, except for specific purposes.
  3. Close certain businesses and venues.

These new measures will reduce the growth rate of the virus, which will:

  • prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed
  • ensure schools, colleges and universities can stay open
  • ensure that as many people as possible can continue to work

On Thursday 5 November these national restrictions replaced the Local Covid Alert Level measures.

The new measures will apply nationally for four weeks up to and including Wednesday 2 December. At the end of that period, we will return to a regional approach, based on the latest data.

These measures will be underpinned by law. Police and other authorities will have powers to give fines and break up gatherings.

You can help to protect your friends and family by downloading the NHS COVID-19 App to keep updated on the latest guidance from Thursday 5 November

There is separate guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection.

You must not leave or be outside of your home except for specific purposes. A specific purpose includes:

Work and volunteering

You can leave home for work purposes, or to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot do this from home.

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops which are permitted to open. For instance to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items - including food or drink - ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (e.g. from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).

You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property.

Education and childcare

You can leave home for education (formal provision, rather than extracurricular classes such as music or drama tuition) or training, registered childcare and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart.

Meeting others and care

You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child. People can also exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place (see section 3).

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

You can leave home for any medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse), or for animal welfare reasons – e.g. to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

Events

You can leave home to attend a place of worship for individual prayer, a funeral or a related event for someone who has died, to visit a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a deathbed wedding. A list of what constitutes a ‘reasonable excuse’ for leaving home can be found in the regulations.

In general, you must not meet with another person socially or undertake any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public, outdoors space with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household - meaning the people you live with - or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (e.g. wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight in each other’s households, and visit outdoor public places together.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor space:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble
  • or, when on your own, 1 person from another household

Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care, are not counted towards the gatherings limit on two or more people meeting outside.

There is further guidance on what exercise and other physical activity can continue during the period of national restrictions.

Public outdoor places include:

  • neighbourhood streets, parks, beaches, and the countryside
  • public gardens and grounds (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • outdoor playgrounds

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

Face coverings are required by law to be worn in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport.

Businesses and venues which must close

To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. These include:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods. These venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (before 10pm; and not including alcohol), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites. Except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts, golf courses, fitness and dance studios, climbing walls, archery, driving, and shooting ranges
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, soft play centres and areas, circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks. Indoor attractions at botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. It is also prohibited to provide these services in other peoples’ homes
  • Community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities as set out below Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services - for example for people who do not have it at home - and for click-and-collect
  • Places of worship, apart from for the purposes of independent prayer, for funerals or funeral commemorative events, to broadcast an act of worship, to provide essential voluntary services or urgent public support services, for registered childcare, and to host permitted gatherings.

These businesses and places will also be permitted to be open for a small number of exempt activities, including:

  • education and training (for schools to use sports, leisure and community facilities where that is part of their normal provision)
  • childcare purposes and supervised activities for children
  • hosting blood donation sessions and food banks
  • to provide medical treatment
  • for elite sports persons to train and compete (in indoor and outdoor sports facilities), and professional dancers and choreographers to work (in fitness and dance studios)
  • for training and rehearsal without an audience (in theatres and concert halls)
  • for the purposes of professional film and TV filming

Businesses and venues which can remain open

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods, including:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, hardware stores, building merchants and off-licences.
  • Petrol Stations, car repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses.
  • Banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
  • Funeral directors
  • Laundrettes and dry cleaners
  • Medical and dental services
  • Vets and pet shops
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas.
  • Outdoor playgrounds

Public Services

The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:

  • the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
  • Jobcentre Plus sites
  • Courts and probation services
  • Civil Registrations Offices
  • Passport and Visa Services
  • Services provided to victims
  • Waste or Recycling Centres

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people. Linked funeral ceremonial events such as stone settings and ash scatterings can also continue with up to 15 people in attendance. Anyone working is not counted in the 15 or 30 person limit. Social distancing should be maintained between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies will not be permitted to take place except where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover (‘deathbed wedding’). These weddings are limited to 6 people.

 

To help contain the virus, everyone who can work effectively from home should do so. Where people cannot do so - including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing - they should continue to travel to their workplace. This is essential to keeping the country operating and supporting sectors and employers.

Public sector employees working in essential services, including childcare or education, should continue to go into work.

Where it is necessary for you to work in other people’s homes - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople - you can do so. Otherwise, you should avoid meeting for work in a private home or garden, where COVID-19 Secure measures may not be in place.

The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if COVID-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk.

Advice for people who buy care and support through a direct payment, as well as local authorities, clinical commissioning groups and those who provide care and support.

Work and financial support

Via 10 Downing Street Press update:

We’re giving children and families extra support this winter with a £170 million package to support children, families and the most vulnerable over winter.
- The Holiday Activities and Food programme, which provides healthy food to disadvantaged children, will be expanded.
- We’re also pledging £16 million of additional funding for food distribution charities.
- And we’re raising Healthy Start scheme payments from £3.10 to £4.25 a week from next April.

On 2 December, across all of England, regardless of tier:

  • the stay at home requirement will end, with travel being permitted again subject to guidance in each tier
  • shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector will reopen
  • collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume
  • people will no longer be limited to seeing only one other person in outdoor public spaces -  the rule of 6 will now apply outdoors as it did in the previous set of tiers

However, the virus is still present and if we aren’t careful it could quickly get out of control again before vaccines and community testing can have an effect. That would put in jeopardy the progress the country has made and once again risk intolerable pressure on the NHS and squeezing out non-Covid patients from vital operations.

This is why, on 2 December, England will move back into a regional, tiered approach – because it is right to target the toughest measures in the areas where we are seeing higher rates of infection.

A summary of each of the tiers is below:

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for meeting friends and family.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for bars, pubs and restaurants.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for retail and personal care (open across all tiers) and entertainment (indoor venues closed in tier 3).

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for travel, where a different set of rules and guidance apply in each tier.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for overnight stays and accommodation.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for work and business, education and places of worship.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for weddings and funerals.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for exercise.

A table showing the different restrictions across the regional 3-tier system in England. This shows the rules for  indoor leisure e.g. gyms and swimming, and large events - elite sport, live performances and business.

Stronger measures will be introduced in each tier to keep the virus under control:

  • in tier 1, the government will reinforce the importance of working from home wherever possible
  • in tier 2, pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • in tier 3, all hospitality will close except for delivery, takeaway and drive-through; hotels and other accommodation providers must close (except for specific exemptions, including people staying for work purposes or where they cannot return home); and indoor entertainment and tourist venues must also close

The government will also refine the previous tiers:

  • the 10pm closing time for hospitality has been modified to last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm. This allows customers to depart gradually and provides greater flexibility
  • in tiers 1 or 2, spectator sport and business events can now resume inside and outside with capacity limits and social distancing, providing more consistency with indoor performances in theatres and concert halls
  • the government is expanding eligibility of ‘support bubbles’ - this will help mitigate the impacts of the restrictions on parents of children aged under 1 (or under 5 and with a disability that necessitates continuous care) and for those households where a single adult cares for someone with a serious disability

These tiers are designed to suppress the spread of infection and therefore support areas to move down the tiers. The government will determine the tier each area will go into on 2 December and how areas move between tiers thereafter. This will be based on clear indicators of the level of the virus, the rate of increase and capacity in the NHS.

While less restrictive than the current national measures, the government recognises how tough these measures are for people and businesses that will be in tier 3, especially those parts of the country which have been under some form of restriction since the summer. This is why the government will offer Local Authorities the opportunity to work together on whole community testing  and more targeted testing to high risk settings, in addition to scaling up the core testing regime. When accompanied by self-isolation of those testing positive, this substantial expansion of testing is a vital new tool to help areas get out of the toughest measures.

The impact on the economy and individuals’ livelihoods has been severe, despite the government’s actions. This is why the government has moved swiftly to support the economy and protect jobs across the four nations of the UK with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, Self-Employment Income Support Scheme as well as a number of support schemes for businesses.