Boris Johnson tonight warned against “over-optimism” as he said many areas face going into tougher Tiers after December 2nd than they were in before the blanket lockdown… He braced the public in England for difficult months before the ‘cavalry’ of science comes to the rescue and finally ends the crisis. And he said that although the national lockdown will finish next Wednesday, large sections of the country will still be under harsher measures than before it began on November 5th. Mr Johnson said “things will look and feel very different after Easter, with a vaccine and mass testing”. But he cautioned that the months ahead “will be hard, they will be cold, they include January and February when the NHS is under its greatest pressure”. He added: “Tis the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be jolly careful, especially with elderly relatives.”
The new tier system is jolly careful indeed. The Telegraph as more on its implications for pubs, shops and services.
For church services
The Prime Minister confirmed on Monday that church services including Christingles and midnight mass will be able to take place in all three tiers. The number of people permitted to attend church together is also set to be determined by the level of restrictions on household mixing.
Pubs and restaurants in tier three areas will be limited to takeaway and delivery services only from next month as part of a tightening of regional restrictions… Diners and pub-goers will be given more time to finish their meals and drinks under the new system. Venues in tiers one and two will have to abide by a new closing time of 11pm, with last orders called at 10pm.
Outdoor sports such as golf and tennis will restart in all tiers, as will amateur team sports such as Sunday-league football…
For non-essential retail
Christmas shopping will be given the greenlight this year as the Government attempts to give hard-up highstreets across the country a major boost. Non-essential retail, including fashion, toys and gadget stores will reopen their doors when the second lockdown ends on December 2nd.
Restrictions on household mixing will stay largely the same. Under the original tiered system, people living in tier one areas were required to comply with the rule of six both indoors and outdoors. However, Government sources suggested last week that tier one could be brought closer in line with tiers two and three due to concerns among scientists that measures in the lowest level are proving ineffective.
Worth reading in full.
The Telegraph has also helpfully whittled it all down to a handy graphic.
It is hard not to refer back Ross Clark’s piece which we flagged in yesteday’s round-up. This is…
a rebadged lockdown. While it will be described as a return to tiers, those tiers will be made tougher and more of us will find ourselves shunted into the top tiers. The result is that most people will be forbidden from mixing with family and friends until Easter – save for a brief truce over Christmas.
It is exactly, in other words, as I predicted. A semi-free Christmas is being used as the thin, dangling carrot which is supposedly going to help us resign ourselves to many months of isolation.
As always, Ross Clark is worth reading in full, if you haven’t already.
Stop Press: The Government is still working with devolved administrations on the plans for a “semi-free Christmas”, but we learnt from Nicola Sturgeon’s daily press conference yesterday that they will not in Scotland include Hogmany. Who would have thought we’d see an SNP First Minister axing a Scottish tradition? Best pass over to Alan Cochrane on this in the Telegraph.
Stop Press 2: MailOnline reports that fans may soon be able to return to stadiums, albeit in limited numbers. Manchester United v PSG will likely be the first match to welcome them back but there could still be rules to be followed on singing, shouting and drinking
Stop Press 3: Worth taking a look at how total deaths in England and Wales in 2020 compare with previous years. Second wave struggling to gather any momentum.