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What is the three-tier system and how will it work?
It is understood the UK prime minister, Boris Johnson, will unveil on Monday a new three-tier lockdown system for England in a fresh attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus, as cases rise and scientists warn NHS capacity will be stretched within weeks, possibly days, in some parts of the country.
Any details of the plan are based solely on leaks to the media over the last week, including a document dated 30 September that was seen by the Guardian.
The draft traffic-light-style plan is designed to simplify the current patchwork of localised restrictions, which apply to about a quarter of the UK.
Here we take a look at what could be in store for the country ahead of confirmation of the details on Monday.
How will a region’s tier be determined?
The tier system will reportedly be determined by the rate of infection, although the rate of increase could be an important factor, as well as total number of cases.
Various reports suggest the infection rate for tier 1, which would have the least restrictions, could be less than 100 cases per 100,000 people of the population.
Tier 2 would then be triggered when cases went over 100 per 100,000 people.
The most severe level, tier 3, which would see the highest number of restrictions put in place, would come in when tier 2 measures have failed to reduce transmission.
In the seven days to 8 October, Nottingham had the highest rate of confirmed cases of coronavirus in England with 734 per 100,000, followed by Knowsley in Merseyside (572), Liverpool (528), Newcastle upon Tyne (487) and Manchester (427). Places with fewer than 100 cases per 100,000 in that period included the City of Bristol (97), Cambridgeshire (51) Cornwall and Isles of Scilly (27).
In tier 1, residents could expect restrictions to mirror the current national measures in place including the rule of six, that is, no more than six people permitted to gather together indoors or outdoors.
In this tier, wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and services could have up to 15 attendees, while funerals are likely to be able to have 30 attendees only.
Organised sport would only be allowed outdoors.
In tier 2, the restrictions step up. This would likely see an end to households being able to mix indoors in private dwellings, including gardens, unless you have formed a support bubble under established guidelines.
A ban on mixing households would be extended to hospitality, leisure and retail settings.
It is also likely that under tier 2, people will be advised only to visit care homes in exceptional circumstances. However, people could be permitted to holiday outside of their area but only with the people they live with or have formed a support bubble with.
Weddings may be permitted to have 15 attendees but receptions may be banned, while funerals could have their attendance capped at 15 attendees.
In tier 3, the most severe restrictions would be in place and could see no social contact with another household in any setting, including outdoors. There may also be restrictions placed on overnight stays away from home.
However, places of worship would remain open and there are currently reportedly no plans to close schools in any of the tiers.
What could the tiers mean for businesses?
In tier 1, it is expected all sectors which are permitted to open by law can remain so providing they meet Covid-19 secure guidance.
Face coverings and/or screens for all workers in indoor hospitality, and customers apart from when seated, will be mandatory.
The curfews on business operating hours would remain with leisure and entertainment venues to be closed between 10pm and 5am. Food and drink venues would continue to be table service only.
The government’s advice on working from home where possible would continue.
There has been little reporting on how tier 2 might differ for businesses but the additional restrictions on social contact at this level – no mixing of households – would extend to hospitality and retail settings.
In tier 3, it has been reported that hospitality and leisure businesses could be completely shut down.
Source: The Guardian
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