COVID-19 update 12th October 2020 – England

  • Today the Prime Minister gave a statement in Parliament which outlined a new three-tier system of local COVID alert levels in England. The system is due to be debated by Parliament tomorrow and will become law from Wednesday. Every part of England will be designated as one of the following three Alert tiers:
  • Medium Tier – Most of England will be in this alert level and is a continuation of the measures that are currently in place, such as the rule of Six, 10pm curfew, the need for table service, test and trace requirements and face coverings away from tables.
  • High Tier – This tier will introduce more stringent restrictions on household interactions, with people being prevented from mixing with other households or support bubbles in indoor hospitality venues. The Rule of Six will continue to apply outdoors, in public spaces and private gardens. Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the high alert level. As a result of rising infection rates, Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into this alert level.
  • Very High Tier – These restrictions will apply to areas where transmission rates are causing the most concern. Wet-led pubs and bars will be required by law to shut in these areas, with all social mixing indoors to be banned. In addition to these baseline requirements, the Government and local government leaders in each very High Alert area will agree on other specific additional measures which could include further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment or personal care sectors. But retail, schools and universities will remain open.
  •  It was announced that Merseyside would be classified as a very High Alert area and in addition to the baseline requirements, gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close from Wednesday.
    It was also announced that Government engagement with local leaders in the North West, the North East and Yorkshire & Humber was continuing suggesting that these areas may also be designated as Very High Alert soon.
  • The regulations for closure for ‘high tier areas’ has just been published, replicated below and we will get more clarity on how this will operate:

    ‘Requirement to close businesses selling alcohol for consumption on the premises:
  •  A person responsible for carrying on a business of a public house, bar or other business involving the sale of alcohol for consumption on the premises must cease to carry on that business, unless paragraph (2) applies.
  • This paragraph applies if alcohol is only served for consumption on the premises as part of a table meal, and the meal is such as might be expected to be served as the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at either such meal.
  • For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1) — 
    • alcohol sold by a hotel or other accommodation as part of room service is not to be treated as being sold for consumption on its premises;
    • an area adjacent to the premises of the business where seating is made available for customers of the business (whether or not by the business), or where customers gather to drink outside the business, is to be treated as part of the premises of that business.
  • For the purposes of this paragraph, a “table meal” is a meal eaten by a person seated at a table, or at a counter or other structure which serves the purposes of a table and is not used for the service of refreshments for consumption by persons not seated at a table or structure serving the purposes of a table.

 Post code checker – The Government will shortly be launching a postcode checker website that will show what alert level any particular areas is in.