COVID-19 Winter Update

25 November, 2020
Nick Pursey

On the 23rd of November 2020, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new measures to bring England out of its second lockdown whilst keeping the “R” rate at an acceptable level.

These measures centre around a return to the Tier system that was in place prior to the latest national lockdown, but with stricter measures for each Tier. Areas will have their initial Tiers announced shortly, and unlike the previous systems there will be no possibility for local authorities to negotiate on these.

Spectator sports are being given the go ahead to reopen, with limited capacity, in tiers one and two.

A curfew still remains in place for hospitality venues that, subject to their Tiers regulations, are able to open - but this has been extended to last orders being called at 10pm with businesses closing their doors at 11pm.

The Rule of Six will be reinstated in terms of Tiers where mixed socialising is permitted

Tier One will now mean that people will be encouraged to work from home where possible.

Changes to Tier two requires that pubs & bars are to close unless operating as a restaurant. Substantial meals are to be available with drink. Unlike the previous rules, the Government have offered some guidance on what should be classed as a substantial meal stating, “eg full breakfast, main lunch or evening meal” which could mean they no longer class light bites as substantial. Full clarity on this has yet to be provided.

Within Tier Three regions all hospitality is to close except for delivery, take away and drive through services. Hotels and other accommodation providers are also to close except for guests who are working or who cannot return home. Indoor entertainment is to close.

Tiers One and Two now sees spectator sports and business events resume inside and out, with capacity limits and social distancing measures in line with theatres and concert halls.

Unlike previous guidance it looks as though Retail; both essential and non-essential, Personal Care services and indoor leisure centres are to remain open in each Tier.

The Prime Minister reassures the public that all devolved Governments are working together on a plan to try and ensure a Christmas where families can socialise, however he warned:

"This virus is not going to grant a Christmas truce, it doesn’t know it’s Christmas.”

As well as discussing the measures put in place across our industries the following were also key and interesting points in the guidance published on November 23rd 2020:

  • The Government intends to both ramp up community testing in the New Year: as currently being trialled in certain areas, as well as offering those who have had close contact with someone who has tested positive the option to have regular tests themselves as opposed to having to isolate.
  • They have secured 350 million doses of the vaccines between now and the end of 2021. If all vaccines are given as a double dose this is the equivalent of 175 million people vaccinated by Winter 2021.
  • On the 25th of November the results of the spending review is due to be published alongside financial plans for 2021-2022.
  • Steps are to be announced shortly on the isolation period for international arrivals.
  • New legislation is being passed to give more power to Local Authorities to allow them to take swifter and effective action against businesses and premises’ that are found not to be Covid compliant.
  • Nurseries, schools and colleges have been advised not to change their Christmas holidays or to close early this term.
  • Care Homes are trialling rapid visitor testing to allow physical contact between guests and visitors.
  • Also in Care Homes legislation is being passed to restrict all but essential movement of staff between settings to reduce rates of transmission.
  • Although leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres and outdoor playgrounds can remain open in all Tiers, certain group activities and classes should not take place in Tier 3, further details on this is due.
  • As well as the early closure of 11pm applying to hospitality venues this also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert venues are permitted to stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.
  • Weddings and funerals are once again permitted to go ahead with restrictions on number of attendees. 15 people can attend ceremonies, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies and in Tiers 1 and 2 up to 15 people can attend wedding receptions. Wedding receptions are not permitted to take place in areas that are Tier 3.

For the full Winter Guidance document please click here:

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