Around 10.8 million people will be plunged into tier three lockdown at the stroke of midnight as the Government places London and the south-east under ‘very high alert’.
This means at least 61% of England’s population will have to follow the toughest coronavirus restrictions over much of the festive season.
With the five-day Christmas relaxation period coming up, many people are likely to be left confused as the rules change once again.
So, what exactly can people in tier three areas do over Christmas? Will pubs and restaurants reopen for the five days? What about other businesses? Can people still form a three-household Christmas bubble?
Can pubs in tier three open over Christmas?
Pubs and restaurants in ’very high alert’ areas must follow the same tier three rules over the Christmas period.
This means they will remain closed, aside from take-away and delivery options.
Can people in tier three still form a temporary Christmas bubble?
People in tier three areas are still able to form a temporary Christmas bubble between December 23 and December 27, along with the rest of the country.
The bubble permits up to three households and must stay fixed once it is formed.
It does not matter how many people live in each household, meaning there is no limit to the amount of people that can form one bubble.
Existing households are able to split apart to form temporary Christmas bubbles, before coming together as a single household again once the five-day window has ended.
Existing support bubbles can count as one household and children under 18 with parents who live apart can be in two separate bubbles.
If a care home resident is unable to leave, they may form a bubble with only one other household. However, people who are self-isolating will not be able to join a bubble.
People are able to meet their bubble in homes, gardens, places of worship and outdoor public spaces.
What can I do in tier three?
All shops, as well as nail salons and hairdressers, can remain open in tier three areas, as can public buildings such as libraries.
However indoor entertainment venues including casinos, cinemas and bowling alleys must close.
Gyms can stay open but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms will close.
Weddings are now allowed in tier three areas, although only 15 people can attend ceremonies and wedding receptions are still off the cards. Funerals have a limit of 30 attendees.
Which areas are in tier three now?
- Derby and Derbyshire
- Leicester and Leicestershire
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- North East Combined Authority:
- County Durham
- South Tyneside
- North of Tyne Combined Authority:
- Newcastle upon Tyne
- North Tyneside
- Tees Valley Combined Authority:
- Redcar and Cleveland
- Blackburn with Darwen
- Greater Manchester
- Kent and Medway
- Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
- North Somerset
- South Gloucestershire
- Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
- Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull
Yorkshire and The Humber
- East Riding of Yorkshire
- Kingston upon Hull/Hull
- North East Lincolnshire
- North Lincolnshire
- South Yorkshire
- West Yorkshire
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