Currently self-isolating at Number 10, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently made the announcement that the UK would be entering a new three-tiered system to replace the lockdown that is set to expire on December 2. The new system will essentially be a more rigid version of the tiered system we had in October, but with some exceptions. There is also the prospect that the measures will be loosened for the Christmas break to allow people to visit their families.
The original version of the three-tier system said that areas under Tier 1, the least restrictive tier, included what was known as the "rule of six", which meant that groups of up to half a dozen people from different households could meet together. Pubs and restaurants could stay open but were forced to shut by 10pm, a decision that was widely criticised by the rest of the Conservative party. Under the new system, hospitality businesses can stay open until 11pm (but last orders must be made by 10). Spectator sports are allowed to resume, but with social distancing and a maximum capacity outdoors of 50% of the stadium or 4,000 people, whichever is smaller. Indoors, the maximum capacity is 1,000.
Under Tier 2 — which previously meant people were not allowed to mix indoors with other households and could only go to pubs and resturants with people from their own households, although outdoor meetings were fine — the new rules state that although pubs and restaurants will be able to open until 11pm as before, only those that serve "substantial meals" can operate. As before, social mixing outside of households or support bubbles will not be allowed indoors. The rule of six will still apply outdoors. Again, spectator sports are allowed to resume, but with social distancing and a maximum capacity outdoors of 50% of the stadium or 2,000 people, whichever is smaller. Indoors, the maximum capacity is 1,000.
The most strict tier, Tier 3, pubs, restaurants and hotels will all have to close, except for delivery and takeaway services. Outdoor sports will be allowed to continue, but not spectator sports. You will still not be allowed to mix socially indoors with other households, but up to six people can meet outdoors in some public places like parks.
Finally, shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector are set to reopen across all tiers. Collective worship and weddings — with a maximum of 15 in attendance — can also resume.
In an address to MPs on Monday afternoon, the PM said: "From next Wednesday, people will be able to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces, subject to the Rule of Six. Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, and shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen."