Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that England will return to a three-tier system after lockdown ends on December 2, outlining his Winter Plan for controlling coronavirus.
Depending on the tier, certain businesses will be reopening once lockdown is lifted. In all tiers, retailers, places of worship and leisure centres – including gyms – will reopen.
What businesses and services will be reopening after lockdown?
During the month-long national lockdown, only “essential” businesses and services have been permitted to remain open.
This includes things like pharmacies, supermarkets, and DIY stores like B&Q.
After the lockdown ends on December 2, however, non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen regardless of what tier they are placed into.
This means that people will be able to do their Christmas shopping in person, as in previous years. Gyms are also being permitted to reopen, and personal care services like hairdressers can also open in all tiers.
In tiers one and two, indoor entertainment venues can reopen – but this is not permitted in tier three.
What businesses and services will be reopening in a limited way?
Pubs and hospitality businesses will be permitted to reopen in tiers one and two, with certain restrictions in place. Pubs and restaurants in tier three must close, but can provide takeaway service.
Pubs and restaurants in tier one must operate table service only, while in tier two, pubs must close unless they also serve “substantial meals”.
The 10pm curfew will be relaxed, with drinkers and diners permitted an extra hour - until 11pm - to finish up their food or drinks before having to leave. Last orders will remain at 10pm, however.
What businesses and services will not be reopening?
In tier three, pubs and restaurants must close. Pubs must close in tier two unless they serve “substantial meals”.
Will the new tier system be different from the old one?
The government is placing areas of England into the same three tiers as those that were in place before the lockdown: “very high risk”, “high risk” and “medium risk”.
However, the rules for each tier have been strengthened in order to preserve progress made by the four-week national lockdown – including asking pubs in tier two to close unless they serve “substantial” meals.
Details of which tier each area is being put into will be released on Thursday November 26, though it’s expected that most areas in England will be placed into the top two “very high risk” and “high risk” tiers.
What will happen over Christmas?
The government has not yet revealed full details around its plans to relax rules over Christmas, though they have stated that this is their intention. They have said:
"It will be important to allow families and friends to meet in a careful and limited way, while recognising that this will not be a normal festive period and the risks of transmission remain very real.
"There is a shared objective to facilitate some limited additional household bubbling for a small number of days. The public will be advised to remain cautious. Wherever possible people should avoid travelling and minimise social contact.”