The second national lockdown is to end soon but exactly when?
Boris Johnson confirmed that England’s coronavirus lockdown measures would finish on Wednesday, December 2 when the nation will immediately enter a new three-tier system.
This is the legal endpoint of the measures, and any extension would have to be passed by Parliament vote.
In his address to MPs on Monday afternoon the Prime Minister indicated that the new restrictions would come into force immediately after lockdown ends at 12.01am on December 2.
That means certain businesses which have been closed, such as gyms and non-essential shops, will be able to open their doors on December 2 depending on what local restrictions are in place.
The truly burning question is what tier Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire will end up in.
After being one of the worst areas for the infection rate, it seems likely Stoke-on-Trent will end up in the toughest Tier 3.
Although the rate is going down it does appear it will not be enough to save the city from the toughest tier.
Staffordshire’s position is harder to judge although current infection rates perhaps suggest Tier 3 is the most likely.
Whether the Government opts for a borough-wide, county-wide or regional approach could well be crucial in deciding which tier Newcastle borough, Stafford borough and the Staffordshire Moorlands ends up in.
A decision is due to be announced on November 26.
Tier 3 rules include:
- Not meeting socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of their household or support bubble
- You can continue to see friends and family in groups of six or less that you don’t live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in certain outdoor public spaces but not in a private garden or pub beer garden.
Pubs will have to close except for takeaway, click and collect, drive-through and delivery.
People should try to avoid travelling outside the Tier 3 area they are in, or entering a Tier 3 area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit
Wedding receptions will not be permitted but couples can get married with a maximum of 15 people at the ceremony while funerals can be attended by up to 30 people.
Schools and universities will remain open although a move to greater online provision is encouraged
Places of worship are open but this subject to gathering limits
Hairdressers and beauty salons can remain open as can gyms but guidance is against indoor exercise classes taking place
- Libraries, museums and retail can remain open