The Government will introduce a “rule of three” tiered system today in order to simplify local lockdowns in coronavirus hotspots.
To “simplify” the rules, Boris Johnson has ushered in a new model of “Local Covid Alert Levels” in England which will work as a traffic light system.
It will see different parts of the country placed into different categories based on the rates of infections.
In areas with particularly high levels of infection pubs, gyms and casinos could be forced to closed in order to stop the spread.
Why is this changing?
The Government recognises that local lockdown rules have become complicated and difficult to enforce so is attempting to simplify the system with the “rule of three”.
Under the system there will be three tiers – medium, high and very high. People will be able to put their postcode into the Gov.uk website and discover what the current restrictions are in their area.
Medium level/tier one
The medium level will cover most of the country and will consist of the current national measures. This means those in a tier one area must abide by the “Rule of Six” and the closure of venues at 10pm.
High level/tier two
This level is expected to reflect many current local restrictions. In such areas people will be prevented from mixing with other households indoors. Most areas already subject to local restrictions will move into high alert level.
The “Rule of Six” will continue to apply outdoors and in private gardens.
Very high level/tier three
This level will apply in areas where transmission rates are causing the biggest concern.
The Government will set a “baseline” of measures which need to be in place for this tier such as prohibiting social mixing indoors, in private gardens and closing pubs and bars unless they can operate as a restaurant.
People will be advised against travelling in and out of these areas.
But measures could go further…
The Government will discuss bringing in further measures for tier three, which could include the closure of parts of the entertainment sector or tourist attractions such as casinos or betting shops.
When will this come into force?
The measures are expected to come into effect on Wednesday and will be debated and voted on in Parliament. Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg is expected to lay the regulations for all three tiers this afternoon.
Where is affected?
Merseyside is expected to be among the areas subjected to tier-three restrictions – but there is still disagreement about a financial support package for the area should harsh measures be imposed.
A statement from seven local leaders, including Metro mayor Steve Rotheram and Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson said: “We made it clear we do not feel that the furlough scheme announced recently is adequate and that businesses in the region especially those in the hospitality sector and those serving it will be damaged and many will suffer long-term damage or close for good.”
Meanwhile, Manchester will be placed into tier-two restrictions.