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Large swathes of England face the toughest lockdown restrictions of the tier-based system which comes into force on December 2. A total of 23.3 million people will be in Tier 3 – that’s 41.5% of the population of England, with 119 local authority areas. Of these, Swale in Kent currently has the highest rate of new cases per 100,000 people. In Tier 2, which affects 41.5% of the population, Havering in London has the highest rate at 342.9.
Health secretary Matt Hancock appeared in front of MPs in Parliament today to unveil the raft of new restrictions.
He said that while England’s second national lockdown will end on December 2, further restrictions are needed to halt the spread of this deadly virus.
Mr Hancock said: “As tempting as it may be, we cannot simply flick a switch and try to return life straight back to normal.
“Because if we did this, we would undo the hard work of so many and see the NHS overwhelmed, with all that that would entail.
“We must keep suppressing the virus, while supporting education, the economy and of course the NHS, until a vaccine can make us safe. That is our plan.
“We will do this by returning to a tiered approach, applying the toughest measures to the parts of the country where cases and pressure on the NHS are highest, and allowing greater freedom in areas where prevalence is lower.
“While the strategy remains the same, the current epidemiological evidence, and clinical advice, shows we must make the tiers tougher than they were before to protect the NHS through the winter and avert another national lockdown.”
The key message of the new rules are as follows:
- In tier 1 if you can work from home, you should do so.
- In tier 2, alcohol may only now be served in hospitality settings as part of a substantial meal.
- In tier 3, indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close, along with all forms of hospitality, except for delivery and takeaways.
Mr Hancock told MPs: “I understand the impact that these measures will have but they are necessary given the scale of the threat that we face.”
The tier allocations will be reviewed on December 16, with weekly revisions thereafter.
But if you’re in an area that faces Tier 2 rules from December 2, what does this mean for you – and your social life?
Express.co.uk reveals the latest rules and answers the big questions you want to know – including if you can meet your friends for dinner.
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Can I meet friends in a restaurant in Tier 2?
Tier 2 is for areas with a higher or rapidly rising level of infections and has the second strictest rules to follow.
For those hoping to meet friends for dinner once the second lockdown lifts, you will be disappointed.
Unfortunately, the rules state “you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place”.
This includes in pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants.
However, there is a glimmer of hoping for those hoping to be reunited with friends and family.
The restrictions for Tier 2 state you can meet people outside, including in a garden or a public space, as long as you follow the Rule of Six.
So, therefore, you can visit restaurants with outdoor seating with people you don’t live with.
Be warned though – pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants. In other words, you must buy a “substantial meal” with your alcoholic drinks.
All venues must operate with table service only and must take last orders at 10pm with closing times at 11pm.
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