Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

Last big night out before millions across England plunged back into lockdown

Young Brits in Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle made the most of what could be their final night of freedom before a new three-tier system plunges millions of people back into lockdown.

Many were seen enjoying a night out in the major student cities before the 10pm curfew hit with the threat of pub and bar closures looming.

Boris Johnson is today expected to unveil the ‘traffic light’ system of restrictions which will see pubs, bars and gyms forced to close in England’s hardest-hit areas.

The PM will also ban overnight stays in Covid-19 hotspots, while an order for all-but-essential travel in and out of those areas will be reimposed.

Northern leaders are said to have been invited to an emergency COBR meeting with Mr Johnson this morning after warning his plans will ‘shatter’ their ‘fragile economies’ and affect millions of lives.

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Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Leeds are some of the areas expected to be hit with the toughest measures.

Around 10 million residents are expected to be put under the stricter measures to curb soaring infection rates in the coming days. It is not yet known how long the restrictions will remain in place, but the idea of four-week blocks has been suggested.

England will be split into three with areas labelled as medium, high, or very high risk and such titles will inform the public and officials of the ‘appropriate interventions’ needed.

Any area categorised under Level 3 – or very high risk – will see the harshest measures imposed.

Liverpool’s leaders have today issued a joint statement calling for clarity on what exactly the restrictions will mean as the city face being placed into Tier 3.

Steve Rotheram, mayor of the Liverpool city region, said discussions on new measures expected to be announced today had been going on ‘all night’.

He told BBC Breakfast: ‘We’re still continuing to try and find the fine detail that will give us some comfort that, one, we can go to our nearly two million residents in the Liverpool city region and explain to them what it is that we’ve negotiated on their behalf, but also we wanted some surety from national government that if we hit some of the milestones we can come out of Tier 3 very quickly.’

What is the three-tier system?

Areas in Tier 1 will see measures mirror England’s current restrictions: social distancing measures, the six-person rule and a 10pm pub curfew.

Tier 2 measures are set to be significantly tighter than Tier 1. They are likely to include the above, but will also put a ban on the mixing of households, reduce funerals to 15 people and only allow visits to care homes under exceptional circumstances.

The most severe restrictions will be imposed on those in Tier 3, where some parts of the UK may face measures similar to national lockdown rules in an attempt to curb the rise in cases across the UK.

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