COVID-19 tier toughening continues apace across England

We reported on 23 November 2020 on the reaction of the hospitality and gambling industries to the UK Government’s COVID Winter Plan.

Today (26 November 2020, the Prime Minister’s statement on coronavirus (that you can download below) has confirmed that, with effect from Wednesday 2 December 2020, most of England will be within the top two tiers with the toughest measures, adding:

I know this will bring a great deal of heartache and frustration, especially for our vital hospitality sector, our pubs, our restaurants, our hotels, in so many ways the soul of our communities – which continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.

The full list of local restriction tiers with effect from 2 December is as follows:

Tier 1: Medium alert

South East

    • Isle of Wight

South West

    • Cornwall
    • Isles of Scilly

Tier 2: High alert

East of England

    • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
    • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
    • Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
    • Hertfordshire
    • Norfolk
    • Suffolk

East Midlands

    • Northamptonshire
    • Rutland

London

    • all 32 boroughs plus the City of London

North West

    • Cumbria
    • Liverpool City Region
    • Warrington and Cheshire

South East

    • Bracknell Forest
    • Brighton and Hove
    • Buckinghamshire
    • East Sussex
    • Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton
    • Oxfordshire
    • Reading
    • Surrey
    • West Berkshire
    • West Sussex
    • Windsor and Maidenhead
    • Wokingham

South West

    • Bath and North East Somerset
    • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
    • Devon, including Plymouth and Torbay
    • Dorset
    • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury)
    • Somerset (South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor)
    • Wiltshire and Swindon

West Midlands

    • Herefordshire
    • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin
    • Worcestershire

Yorkshire

    • City of York
    • North Yorkshire

Tier 3: Very High alert

East Midlands

    • Derby and Derbyshire
    • Leicester and Leicestershire
    • Lincolnshire
    • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

North East

    • North East Combined Authority:
      • County Durham
      • Gateshead
      • South Tyneside
      • Sunderland
    • North of Tyne Combined Authority:
      • Newcastle upon Tyne
      • North Tyneside
      • Northumberland
    • Tees Valley Combined Authority:
      • Darlington
      • Hartlepool
      • Middlesbrough
      • Redcar and Cleveland
      • Stockton-on-Tees

North West

    • Blackburn with Darwen
    • Blackpool
    • Greater Manchester
    • Lancashire

South East

    • Kent and Medway
    • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)

South West

    • Bristol
    • North Somerset
    • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

    • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
    • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
    • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

    • East Riding of Yorkshire
    • Kingston upon Hull/Hull
    • North East Lincolnshire
    • North Lincolnshire
    • South Yorkshire
    • West Yorkshire

UPDATES:

1. On 29 November 2020, the Government published its “Guidance for the Christmas Period” that you can also download below.

2. On 14 December 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 were published. Coming into force at 00.01 on Wednesday 16 December 2020, they amend the areas in Tiers 2 and 3 as follows:

Tier 2: High Alert

The following are removed from Schedule 4 Part 1 (Tier 2 areas):

    • Essex County Council;
    • Hertfordshire County Council;
    • Southend on Sea Borough Council;
    • Thurrock Borough Council.

The following areas are added to Schedule 4 Part 1:

    • Colchester Borough Council;
    • Dacorum Borough Council;
    • East Hertfordshire District Council;
    • North Hertfordshire District Council;
    • Stevenage Borough Council;
    • St Albans City and District Council;
    • Tendring District Council;
    • Uttlesford District Council;
    • Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

Tier 3: Very High alert 

The following areas are added to Schedule 4 Part 2 (Tier 3 areas):

1. East of England:

      • Basildon Borough Council;
      • Braintree Borough Council;
      • Brentwood Borough Council;
      • Broxbourne Borough Council;
      • Castle Point Borough Council;
      • Chelmsford City Council;
      • Epping Forest District Council;
      • Harlow District Council;
      • Hertsmere Borough Council;
      • Maldon District Council;
      • Rochford District Council;
      • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council;
      • Three Rivers District Council;
      • Watford Borough Council;
      • Thurrock Council.

2. London

The Government Guidance “Full list of local restriction tiers by area” has been updated accordingly.

3. On 17 December 2020, a written statement by the Health and Social Care Secretary to the House of Commons (a copy of which you can download below) was published, giving an update on local restriction tiers in England. You can download below the duly updated list of local restriction tiers by area that will take effect from 19 December 2020. This has the effect of:

  • ‘downgrading’ Herefordshire from Tier 2 to Tier 1 but
  • greatly expanding the areas within the Very High Alert Tier 3, so that the full list of areas within that tier with effect from 19 December 2020 will be as follows:

Tier 3: Very High alert

East of England

    • Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
    • some local authorities in Essex (Basildon, Braintree, Brentwood, Castle Point, Chelmsford, Epping Forest, Harlow, Maldon, Rochford, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock)
    • some local authorities in Hertfordshire (Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Three Rivers and Watford)
    • Peterborough

East Midlands

    • Derby and Derbyshire
    • Leicester and Leicestershire
    • Lincolnshire
    • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

London

    • All 32 boroughs plus the City of London

North East

    • North East Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland)
    • North of Tyne Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland)
    • Tees Valley Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees)

North West

    • Greater Manchester
    • Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool

South East

    • Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor and Maidenhead, and Wokingham)
    • Buckinghamshire
    • Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth
    • Hastings and Rother
    • Hertfordshire
    • Kent and Medway
    • Surrey (excluding Waverley)

South West

    • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

    • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
    • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
    • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

    • East Riding of Yorkshire
    • Kingston upon Hull/Hull
    • North East Lincolnshire
    • North Lincolnshire
    • South Yorkshire
    • West Yorkshire

4. On 19 December 2020, the Prime Minister gave a statement at a coronavirus press conference (that you can download below), in which he stated that:

  • a new variant of the Covid-19 virus “may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant” and
  • as a consequence, with effect from 20 December 2020 the Government “will introduce new restrictions in the most affected areas – specifically those parts of London, the South East and the East of England which are currently in tier 3. These areas will enter a new tier 4, which will be broadly equivalent to the national restrictions which were in place in England in November”
  • meaning that “residents in those areas must stay at home, apart from limited exemptions set out in law. Non-essential retail, indoor gyms and leisure facilities, and personal care services must close”.

You can also download below the Government’s “Tier 4 Stay at Home Guidance”. It states that, to reduce social contact, new regulation (in relation to which see Update 5 below) will “require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services”. These include:

  • non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, and market stalls selling non-essential goods – these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
  • hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
  • accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for homeless people, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
  • leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor tennis and basketball courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor climbing walls
  • entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks

5. At 7am on 20 December 2020, The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers and Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force, creating a further Tier 4 of restrictions (including those set out at Update 4 above) and placing the following areas within that Tier:

Tier 4:

London

    • The City of London
    • All 32 London Boroughs

The South-East

    • Kent County Council
    • Medway Council
    • Buckinghamshire Council
    • West Berkshire Council
    • Bracknell Forest Council
    • Reading Borough Council
    • Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead
    • Wokingham Borough Council
    • Slough Borough Council
    • Elmbridge Borough Council
    • Epsom and Ewell Borough Council
    • Guildford Borough Council Mole Valley District Council
    • Reigate and Banstead Borough Council
    • Runnymede Borough Council
    • Spelthorne Borough Council
    • Surrey Heath Borough Council
    • Tandridge District Council Woking Borough Council
    • Hastings Borough Council
    • Rother District Council
    • Havant Borough Council
    • Gosport Borough Council
    • Portsmouth City Council

The East of England

    • Hertfordshire County Council
    • Bedford Borough Council
    • Central Bedfordshire Council
    • Milton Keynes Council
    • Luton Borough Council
    • Peterborough City Council
    • Basildon Borough Council
    • Braintree District Council
    • Brentwood Borough Council
    • Castle Point Borough Council
    • Chelmsford City Council
    • Epping Forest District Council
    • Harlow District Council
    • Maldon District Council
    • Rochford District Council
    • Southend-on-Sea Borough Council
    • Thurrock Council

6. On 23 December 2020, in a statement on coronavirus (that you can download below) the Health and Social Care Secretary announced that from one minute past midnight on Boxing Day:

  • Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4, Waverley in Surrey, and Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton, but with the exception of the New Forest, will be escalated to Tier 4
  • Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset, including the North Somerset Council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, New Forest and Northamptonshire, as well as Cheshire and Warrington, will be escalated to Tier 3
  • Cornwall and Herefordshire will be escalated to Tier 2.

7. On 30 December 2020, in a written statement to Parliament (that you can download below), the Health and Social Care Secretary announced that because infection rates of the above-mentioned new variant of the Covid-19 virus have increased faster than expected, with effect from 00.01 on 31 December 2020, most of England is to be placed in Tier 4 and almost all of the country in Tiers 3 and 4. You can also download below the government’s full list of local restriction tiers by area from 31 December 2020.