The Government has announced new post-lockdown restrictions.
The Government has outlined how England will emerge from lockdown on 2nd December into a new regional tier system, with shops, leisure centres and gyms reopening.
The three-tier system is labelled Medium, High and Very High. In all cases, it encourages those who can work from home to work from home. Childcare bubbles will still be possible and childcare and school settings will remain open unless there are outbreaks in the settings. The rule of six will apply.
The main differences between the different tiers relate to household mixing. In the Medium setting, up to six people can mix indoors and outdoors outside of support or childcare bubbles. In Tier Two [High], no households can meet indoors outside of childcare and support bubbles, but six people can meet outdoors. In Tier Three [Very High], there is no mixing of households indoors or outdoors, although up to six people can meet in some specific outdoor settings, including parks and public gardens.
Bars, pubs and restaurants can open in Tier One, but must close by 11pm and operate in a Covid secure way; in Tier Two, pubs and bars can only stay open if they operate as restaurants; and in Tier Three they can only operate for takeaways. Entertainment venues can open in Tiers One and Two, but indoor venues cannot open in Tier Three.
There is also detailed information on travel, exercise and overnight stays.
The Government says the tiers are designed to suppress the spread of infection and areas will be able to move down the tiers, based on infection rates and local NHS capacity.
It also announced a time-limited change to UK social restrictions over the Christmas period with up to three households allowed to meet indoors at home or outdoors in public places and stay overnight for five days from 23rd December. The Government will announce which tier each region will be in on Thursday.
Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, said: “As before, the government are continuing to encourage homeworking across all Tiers, with guidance now being strengthened to state that this should be permitted where possible. Indeed, new guidance released in conjunction with the Prime Minister’s statement outlines that the government wish to be ‘very clear’ those that can work from home should do so. Businesses across England who had started to bring staff back into the office due to changing restrictions will now need to take this on board, at least until the new year.
“While many businesses can reopen from next week, there are still some that will need to remain closed depending on the Tier, most notably hospitality venues in Tier 3 that cannot serve takeaways. If a business is told to stay shut, they will need to consider the continued use of the furlough scheme, if possible, to retain jobs through this period. If a previous agreement to place employees on furlough specified that this would end when national restrictions did, employers will need to seek a separate agreement with them to extend it.”