Wednesday, 21 Oct 2020

Can I see my boyfriend, girlfriend or partner in Tier 2?

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Coronavirus restrictions across the UK have taken a new, regional form as the Government uses its “whack-a-mole” strategy to protect people in localised hotspots. These hotspots have varying case levels, and officials have implemented a tiered response system which can tighten or loosen measures depending on severity. Ranging from Tier 1 to Tier 3, they will curb social interaction both within and between regions.

Can you see your boyfriend, girlfriend or partner in Tier 2?

The Government’s tier system introduces three levels of restrictions, with the first the least invasive and the third the most.

The second tier combines national measures with some additional curbs on the general public.

Under the tier, people cannot meet with other households indoors unless they have formed a support bubble.

Support bubbles may only include one household mixing with another single-adult household.

They can also include one household and a single adult with children.

Once people have established a bubble, it must remain exclusive, meaning people cannot switch their chosen household with another.

As such, people residing somewhere like a house-share will have to choose which member establishes a bubble while others must forgo meeting their partners indoors.

They can still see them outdoors under Tier 2, however, as restrictions permit non-bubble partners to meet in a garden or outside venue.

But the permission does not extend to inside spaces, currently exclusive to single households and bubbles only.

The rules put a dampener on potential dates, as they rule out restaurants, bars and other similar venues.

Pub gardens and other public places such as parks still qualify as acceptable dating venues.

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But Downing Street said Tier 2 restrictions meant that while couples living apart could see each other outdoors, social distancing restrictions meant they would not be able to have physical contact.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The rules on household mixing in Tier 2 set out that you should mix with your own household only unless you have formed a support bubble and that obviously does apply to some couples.

The spokesman confirmed couples not in support bubbles and living apart could meet outside but should “follow social distancing and the hand, face, space rules”.

Asked why an exemption for “established relationships” was not written into the law for those in Tiers 2 and 3, he added: “Because the purpose of the measures we’ve put in place is to break the chain of transmission between households and the scientific advice is that there is greatest transmission of the virus indoors.”

Experts have criticised the hospitality plans for Tier 2 regions, saying they will end up tricky to enforce.

Peter Down, chair of Bradford Campaign for Real Ale, said pub workers would have trouble identifying whether or not people reside in the same household.

He said: “Trying to manage single households and social bubbles is going to be really difficult. It puts the pub workers in a really difficult position.

“How do they know people coming into their premises are a single household or a social bubble? What happens if a couple comes in?”

The following areas are currently under Tier 2 measures:

  • Cheshire
  • Greater Manchester
  • Derbyshire
  • Lancashire
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire
  • Durham
  • Northumberland
  • Tyne and Wear
  • Tees Valley
  • West Midlands
  • Leicestershire
  • Nottinghamshire

These areas will enter Tier 2 lockdown on October 17:

  • London
  • Essex
  • Elmbridge in Surrey
  • Barrow in Furness
  • Cumbria
  • York
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Chesterfield
  • Erewash, Derbyshire

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