As England comes out of lockdown in 5 days, a stricter three-tiered system of local restrictions will come into place.
According to Downing street, more areas will be set to go into higher tiers to limit the spread of the virus.
Some tiers will also be strengthened to safeguard the lockdown progress.
Today, the government will identify the tiers that each area will be placed into.
Rishi Sunak told the BBC’s Andrew Marr that the closing time for pubs will be refined, now being extended to 11pm for pubs. It’s understood these rules will be relaxed to give people extra time to finish food and drinks after last orders.
The chief executive of UK hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said this would help businesses but could be ‘meaningless’ if people aren’t allowed to socialise with friends and family over the crucial festive period. According to the Daily Telegraph, there could be a period from 22nd to 28th December were the rules will be relaxed and groups of up to 3 households will be allowed to mix.
Prior to the second lockdown, there was evidence that Tier 2 and 3 were having an impact, but not Tier 1. Both tiers involved banning the mixing of households inside homes, so one option being discussed behind the scenes is introducing a ban across all tiers until winter is over.
The exception will, of course, be Christmas.
As expected, the lowering of restrictions across the festive period divides opinion but the government is aware people will most likely ignore the rules and industries cannot lose out on the fantastic festive income source.
Professor Calum Semple, from the University of Liverpool, hoped it would be possible to relax the rules over Christmas if the tiered system worked but warns that ‘there will be a price.’
Although, he told Sky news that there was ‘a lot to be optimistic about.’
He expects a mass vaccination to be available to the general population by next summer, giving ‘broad immunity’ and leading to a ‘return to normal.’
This would be the ideal outcome for most businesses, however, there appears to still be a long slog ahead.
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