Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the introduction of a new three tiered lockdown alert system in England at a Downing Street press conference on 12 October.
He explained that the new approach would be “simpler and standardised”, with each tier coming with different levels of restrictions.
Previously, local outbreaks have been tackled with targeted restrictions which avoided the need to apply national lockdown procedures. However, over time this has led to different rules in different parts of the country, with restrictions becoming complex and difficult to enforce.
The new tiered lockdown system will come into play at midnight on Wednesday 14 October.
What tier is Sheffield and South Yorkshire in?
The government outlined the full list of local Covid-19 alerts by area, and said that the majority of England was under a ‘medium’ alert, except for a few specific places.
South Yorkshire, which includes Sheffield, as well as Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster, came under the ‘high’ alert level.
The only area that came under the ‘very high’ alert was the Liverpool City region, including Liverpool, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton.
What are the lockdown rules for each Tier?
The three tiers are split up into the following categories: medium, high and very high.
With each tier, there comes different regulations and measurements.
The medium tier is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.
- All businesses and venues can continue to operate (in a Covid-19 secure way), other than those which are to remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
- Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premise are required to close between 10pm and 5am
- Businesses and venues sell food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm, as long as this is through a delivery service, click and collect or drive through
- Schools, universities and places of worship can continue to operate
- Weddings and funerals can go ahead under restriction on the number of attendees
- Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue, as long as they follow the ‘rule of six’
- People cannot meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors
The high alert level is for areas with a higher level of infections, which would see the implementation of the following rules:
- People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
- People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space
- People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible - if they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead to avoid busy times and routes on public transport
This is the highest level of the new system, and is for areas with a very high level of infections.
The government has set a baseline of measures for any areas in this alert level, however consultation with local authorities will determine any additional measures.
The baseline measures are:
- Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
- Wedding receptions are not allowed
- People must not meet with anyone outside of their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks or beaches
- People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, or entering into a ‘very high’ area, other than for things like work or education
- People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are a resident in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘very high’ area if they are a resident from elsewhere
How to check the Covid-19 restrictions in a local area
The government has introduced a postcode checker on the government website which allows you to check the restrictions in a certain postcode.
Simply enter your postcode and you’ll be taken to a webpage that tells you the alert level in that area, and offers a link to more in depth information about what you can and cannot do in said alert level areas.