Tier 2 restrictions set to replace local lockdown rules in Newcastle

Joe Molander on the new lockdown system announced today

Joe Molander
12th October 2020
Image: Number 10 on Flickr
Newcastle is to be subject to Tier 2 restrictions under the government’s new three tier lockdown system, which was unveiled today. As such, mixing households indoors and meeting in groups of more than six whilst outdoors will both be banned.

Two households will be able to meet outdoors, including in private gardens, provided the rule of six and social distancing guidelines are adhered to.

Reporting from The Mirror suggests that all three tiers of the regulations are set to expire after six months. Regulations imposed under Tiers 2 and 3 are set to be reviewed every 28 days.

Boris Johnson told MPs that the three tier system is intended to “simplify and standardise” COVID-19 regulations. As such, it will replace the local lockdown rules that were imposed on Newcastle in mid-September.

Chris Whitty has said he is “not confident, and nor is anybody confident” that Tier 3 restrictions are enough to curtail the spread of coronavirus on its own. Speaking at a press conference, he emphasised that local authorities would be able to impose additional restrictions with guidance from local directors of public health.

The new lockdown system was announced amidst rising tensions between the government and local leaders in the North. The government plan to pay two thirds of the wages of those working for businesses forced to temporarily shut down was also met with criticism.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, accused the scheme of being “too limited”, for not considering the suppliers of affected businesses. He also pointed out that a de facto two thirds furlough was lower than the 80% furlough introduced earlier in the year.

As the new furlough would disproportionately benefit hospitality workers, Burnham said that accepting the new furlough “would be to accept that hospitality workers are somehow second class citizens, and we won't accept that”.

Meanwhile, MP for Wigan and Shadow Foreign Secretary Lisa Nandy claimed on Twitter she wasn’t invited to a briefing about the new lockdown system for Greater Manchester MPs. She suggested this is because members of government “don’t know where Wigan is”.

The three tiers are officially named Local COVID Alert Levels, with Tier 1 restrictions applying to areas with a medium risk of transmitting COVID-19. Meanwhile, Tier 2 restrictions apply to areas of high risk, and Tier 3 restrictions to areas of very high risk.

The entire North East has placed under Tier 2 restrictions, including Sunderland and Durham.

The only location in the UK to be placed under Tier 3 restrictions is the Liverpool City Region. The region includes Halton, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens, and Wirral, as well as Liverpool itself.

Under Tier 3 restrictions, no mixing of households is permitted, with pubs and bars forced to close. However, restaurants will be able to remain open, and pubs and bars will be allowed to remain open if they operate as a restaurant.

Local politicians are also able to decide if a range of other businesses – from hairdressers to casinos – will remain open. Travel outside the area will also be discouraged.

These tiers are distinct to the tiers reported on by the Courier last Wednesday.

The city has been placed under Tier 2 restrictions, as set out by the government’s three tier lockdown system. Newcastle University is also at Tier 3 of a different set of restrictions that were issued by the government earlier, specifically for education providers.

Featured Image: Number 10 on Flickr

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AUTHOR: Joe Molander
Head of Current Affairs and co-founder of The Toon Lampoon. Politics, interviews, satire and the Courier's leading authority on frosted tips. @JoeMolander on Twitter and full portfolio available on Muckrack.

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