New local restriction tier system announced in England
26th November, 2020
The current lockdown in England is due to end on Wednesday 2 December and will be replaced by new local restriction tiers.
The new tier system will replace the tier system previously in place prior to lockdown and will come into force from Wednesday 2 December.
Full details and guidance setting out what you can and cannot do in each tier was published on 23 November 2020 and can be found here.
The government has just today announced which tier each region will be placed into. Yorkshire and the North East, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Kent and parts of Essex will go into Tier 3. Most other areas, including Liverpool and London, will fall into Tier 2 restrictions. To find which tier your business falls into further details can be found here.
What do the tiers mean for employers?
All businesses that can re-open following the lockdown must ensure that they are continuing to follow COVID safe guidelines. We strongly recommend that employers check their COVID risk assessments and any updated guidance for their specific industry and put in place any new measures. The government guidance for making workplaces COVID-secure was updated on 9 November 2020. Further details of the Government guidance for “Working safely during coronavirus”, containing 14 guides to cover different industries, can be found here.
Which businesses can open?
The following businesses and venues can open from 2 December 2020, subject to any restrictions in force in each tier:
- Essential and non-essential retail (including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales)
- Provided social contact measures are in place relevant to the regional tier and the updated government guidance published on 6 November 2020 is followed, then the following leisure and sporting facilities can re-open:
- Gyms, sports courts and facilities
- Leisure centres
- Fitness and dance studios
- Golf courses
- Swimming pools
- Riding centres
Indoor group activities and classes for over 18’s are not permitted in tier 3, subject to limited exceptions.
- Personal care and close contact services, including Hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services and massage parlours and tanning salons.
- Public buildings, including libraries, community centres and halls, provided that private hire for social activities will not be permitted for those in tier 3.
- Allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets and car parks.
- Essential public services, including the NHS and medical services, courts and jobcentre sites
- Places of worship.
Can employees travel to work?
The government guidance remains the same for all tiers: if employees can work from home then they should continue to do so. Travel to work is permitted where an individual cannot work from home.
Specific rules for each tier are as follows:
Tier 1 and 2
- If you live in tier 1 or 2 and travel to a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there
- Avoid travel or overnight stays in tier 3 areas, unless necessary for work purposes
- Travel through a tier 3 area is permitted as part of a longer journey
- Travel to other parts of the UK should be avoided, including for overnight stays unless necessary for work.
- Travel through other areas is permitted as part of a longer journey
Restrictions for businesses in each tier
Full details of what you can and cannot do in each tier is set out in the link above, but the main impact for businesses is in respect of the hospitality sector as set out below:
Tier 1: Medium alert
- Business can remain open provided they are COVID secure, other than nightclubs which remain closed
- Hospitality businesses selling food and drink must:
- Provide table service only in serving alcohol
- Close between 11pm and 5am
- Stop taking orders after 10pm
- Early closure of 11pm applies to many businesses including casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, bingo halls and theme parks, save that cinemas, theatres and concert halls can remain open beyond 11pm to conclude performances which started before 10pm.
Tier 2: High alert
- Rules for hospitality services remain as tier 1 except that alcohol can only be served with substantial meals
Tier 3: Very High alert
- Hospitality settings, including bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close, but takeaway, drive-through and delivery services will be permitted.
- Hotels, B&B’s campsites and guest houses must close, subject to some exemptions where venues are required for work, training or education
- Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close, including (but not limited to) indoor play areas, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, cinemas, theatres and concert halls
If you would like advice on the new tier system and how it may impact your business, please contact Debbie Coyne.
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