Boris Johnson announced a new ‘tier four’ level of coronavirus restrictions on Saturday afternoon, which cancelled Christmas for people living in London, the east and the south east.
The major U-turn saw Londoners scrambling to escape the capital last night, before the restrictions came in on Sunday, though they will only be put to Parliament on Monday.
Millions of people – from London; to Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings in the South East of England and in Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring) in the East – will face the new restrictions.
Below we look at what you can still do under tier four, which is broadly the same as England’s second national lockdown
Can I meet people?
The rules are strict: you cannot meet other people indoors unless you live with them or they are part of your existing support bubble.
However, outdoors you can meet one person from another household in a public place.
What can I leave home for?
The Government says you must stay at home and only leave for a specific purpose or if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.
This includes going to work if it cannot be done from home, shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, attending education or training, using registered childcare, outdoor exercise and for medical reasons.
Can I still do Christmas shopping?
Your options are going to be limited.
In tier four, non-essential retail must close, including clothing and homeware stores, betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops.
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However, these stores can continue to operate click-and-collect systems, if goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises, and delivery services.
‘Essential’ retailers such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, off-licences and Christmas tree retailers can continue to open.
Can I still exercise?
Yes. You are allowed to take unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or one other person.
Indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms, must close.
Outdoor amateur sport is only explicitly referenced when the restrictions say: ‘Organised outdoor sport for under 18s and disabled people will be allowed’, implying other sport may be banned.
Can I leave tier 4?
Within a tier four area people can only leave home for work, education, caring responsibilities, to visit a support bubble or for medical reasons, and someone from a tier one, two or three area should not enter a tier four zone except for the same reasons.
Can I get food from pubs and restaurants?
The pandemic nightmare continues for the hospitality sector, with cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs having to stay closed under tier four.
They can, however, provide food and drink through takeaways until 11pm, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
Can children go to school?
The Government said schools and colleges will remain open during term-time in tier four areas, arguing that it is important for children and young people’s education and well-being to attend.
All secondary schools and colleges in England will be offered help to roll out free coronavirus testing from the first week of January.
However, this morning Health Secretary Matt Hancock refused to rule out shutting schools later in the pandemic, but stressed that was not the plan.
Can I visit an elderly relative at a care home?
Visits to care homes are allowed if arrangements are in place to protect residents via screens, visiting pods or behind windows.
However, the Government said ‘close-contact indoor visits supported by testing’ are not allowed in tier four. Updated guidance is due to be issued.
Can I go to church over the festive period?
The Prime Minister did specifically say last night that communal worship is permitted in tier four, but people should not mingle with anyone outside their household or bubble.
Are weddings and funerals allowed?
Funerals up to a maximum of 30 people can go ahead.
Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should only take place in exceptional circumstances – such as a ‘deathbed wedding’ – with these limited to six people.
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