Saturday, 5 Dec 2020

Coronavirus Manchester: How life will change under Tier 3 lockdown

Life in Tier Three: From meeting relatives to going to the gym, how life will change for Mancunians dragged into the toughest lockdown

Boris Johnson today confirmed that Greater Manchester will be plunged into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions at midnight on Friday after local leaders caved to the Government’s demands.

The region is being moved into the ‘very high risk’ ranking from its current Tier 2 status as public officials scramble to suppress Covid-19. Regulations will be reviewed every 28 days and expire after six months. 

Andy Burnham, the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester, has been bounced into accepting the tough shutdown measures after an ill-fated attempt to get more bailout money from the Treasury. 

Justifying why No10 has forced Greater Manchester into a Tier 3 lockdown tonight, Mr Johnson said action is needed to reduce the R rate and control the virus in the North, where the disease is most prevalent. 

Mr Burnham refused to accept the PM’s advice because he was unhappy about the financial support on offer for local businesses. As well as forcing the rules onto Manchester, Government ministers are also considering tougher lockdown rules for Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and the North East.

So how will life change for Mancunians as the region is slapped with more draconian curbs on society and the local economy? MailOnline has the answers for you here:

National Portrait Gallery artwork mural of a nurse wearing a face mask as Greater Manchester is set to enter Tier 3 lockdown

People make their way to work past an electronic Covid-19 warning sign as Manchester is set to enter Tier 3 lockdown

A quiet bar in the Northern Quarter of Manchester as the region hurtles towards a Tier 3 lockdown this week

WHAT IS THE TIER SYSTEM?

England is currently divided into three tiers, allowing officials to impose restrictions with varying degrees of severity on Covid-19 ‘hotspots’ without needing to plunge the country into a blanket lockdown.

Tier 1 (‘medium risk’ alert) covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures including the Rule of Six, the 10pm hospitality curfew, social distancing and face coverings.

Tier 2 (‘high risk’ alert) bans households or support bubbles from meeting indoors, though separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens provided they keep two metres apart.

Tier 3 (‘very high risk’ alert) bans different households from meeting indoors and in private gardens.

Pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed as a baseline, though the Government and local authorities can decide if further restrictions on hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors will be needed.

Schools and universities will stay open in these areas.

Tier 3 bans different households from meeting indoors and in private gardens (pictured, police in Platt Fields park)

HOUSEHOLDS

Under Tier 3 rules, people are not allowed to mix with people from other household indoors, while non-essential travel should be reduced instead of being banned outright. 

This applies to visiting friends or family at home, as well as public indoor settings such as hospitality and entertainment venues – from pubs and restaurants to cinemas and theatres.

Only tradespeople like electricians, plumbers and plastered can visit other people’s homes, with the sole purpose of carrying out work.

Households are not allowed to mingle in most outdoor settings, including beer gardens and private gardens.

People can still meet friends and family in a public park, on a beach or in a forest, but they are expected to follow the Rule of Six.

Places of worship remain open, but residents of a Tier 3 area should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK. 

People eat and drink outdoors in Manchester city centre as the region hurtles towards a Tier 3 lockdown this week

PUBS, BARS AND RESTAURANTS

Pubs and bars will be forced to close completely from midnight on Friday under Tier 3. However, they will not have to close if they serve ‘substantial meals’.

The regulations refer to a ‘table meal, and the meal is such as might be expected to be served as the main midday or main evening meal, or as a main course at either such meal’. 

They add ‘a table meal is a meal eaten by a person seated at a table, or at a counter or other structure which serves the purposes of a table and is not used for the service of refreshments for consumption by persons not seated at a table or structure serving the purposes of a table’.

Alcohol could be served as part of these and it will be the police and councils job to enforce what passes as a ‘substantial meal’. However, this does not include bar snacks. 

If pubs serve ‘substantial meals’, they will be subject to the 10pm hospitality curfew like in Tier 1 and Tier 2. 

Responding to Tier 3 measures set to be placed on Greater Manchester today, the British Beer and Pub Association claimed that pubs face devastation from the restrictions.  

BBPA called for more support to save the region’s 1,900 pubs and 32,000 sector jobs as it said a stronger package of financial support is vital not just for pubs, but also brewers and their wider supply chain in Greater Manchester, if they are to survive the further severe trading restrictions or full closure they face. 

Emma McClarkin, its chief executive, said: ‘Tier 3 restrictions will have a devastating impact on pubs, brewers and their wider supply chain in Greater Manchester unless a proper support package is available to all businesses impacted. 

A quiet restaurant at lunchtime in Manchester city centre, as the region hurtles towards a Tier 3 lockdown this week

‘Pubs in Greater Manchester were already struggling with the 10pm curfew, rule of six, lower levels of consumer confidence and a huge drop in domestic and international tourism.

‘These additional tier three measures mean pubs in Greater Manchester can only remain open if they serve substantial meals, but with even more restrictions including no mixed household groups either inside or outside and only being allowed to serve alcohol with a substantial meal. 

‘This will kill the business model of more than 600 food led pubs. The remaining 1,300 pubs who don’t serve substantial meals will be forced to close completely. The survival of all pubs in either of these categories is hanging perilously in the balance.

‘Thousands of jobs will be lost too if the Government doesn’t take action. We are a people business – our staff and customers are everything – we are nothing without them. In Greater Manchester alone, 32,000 livelihoods are supported by these local pubs.

‘Government must now do the right thing and provide our sector with a job retention scheme that will truly protect jobs. 

‘Now Greater Manchester has been placed in Tier 3, the restrictions must be reviewed on a frequent basis – at least every two weeks – and re-categorised as soon as deemed appropriate. 

‘To do this the Government must clarify what criteria the decisions for transitioning in and out of the tiering system will be based on. We urge the Government to work closely with our sector on this.’ 

A quiet pub at lunchtime in Manchester city centre, as the region hurtles towards a Tier 3 lockdown this week

WORK

Tier 3 regulations state that people should work from home where they can, though key workers – including emergency workers and teachers – are exempt.

The Government has gone back and forth on its guidance about getting people back to their desks as shutdown measures imposed in March inflict huge damage on the UK economy. 

Official figures for the fall in GDP during the three months to June have been revised down from 20.4 per cent to 19.8 per cent. However, the scale of the drop still makes it the biggest on record. 

And the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has also concluded that UK plc performed worse during the first quarter of the year.

The economy contracted 2.5 per cent between January and March, compared to previous estimate of 2.2 per cent. 

Overall GDP is now 21.8 per cent smaller than at the end of 2019 – underlining the threat to millions of jobs as Boris Johnson struggles to balance getting the country back up and running with tackling a rise in cases.

There have been some signs of hope, with the Bank of England suggesting the recovery has been better than expected so far.  

People are required to wear face masks in supermarkets, post offices, on public transport, at railway stations and airports, in hospitality venues and where social distancing is not possible in Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas.

Young children, people with medical conditions including asthma, and those who find wearing coverings distressing are exempt from wearing masks.

CCTV that blocks people from entering a shop if they are not wearing a face covering is being set up across the UK. 

The cameras use artificial intelligence to determine whether a person walking towards the shop doors is wearing a mask in a bid to help staff tackle ‘difficult’ customers.

A screen fitted outside the shop’s doors will display a green or red message to automatically allow or deny access to the person.

Customers who aren’t wearing a mask will be refused entry automatically and the doors will remain shut. 

CCTV.co.uk, who install CCTV systems across the UK for both home and commercial clients, said the technology will protect staff from difficult shoppers or ‘potentially worse’. 

But it has not been specified how the technology will work around those who are exempt from wearing a face mask. 

gyms are allowed to remain open in Tier 3 as fitness enthusiasts insist that exercise will build up people’s immune systems and prevent falling ill with Covid-19 (pictured, people working out at a gym in Manchester)

LEISURE FACILITIES

Indoor leisure facilities such as casinos, bingo halls and betting shops will also be forced to shutter under Tier 3 regulations.

Childrens’ soft play areas must also close, in a move that is sure to disappoint parents who may be required to work from home.

However, gyms are allowed to remain open in Tier 3 provided they are Covid-secure, as fitness enthusiasts insist that exercise will build up people’s immune systems and prevent falling ill with Covid-19. 

A Liverpool gym owner who is refusing to close down during the city’s Tier 3 lockdown issued a new rallying cry to supporters, claiming he has now won the support of ‘police, fellow fitness bosses, the mayors and MPs’.

Nick Whitcombe defied the Government’s tougher lockdown rules and refused to close Bodytech Fitness in Moreton, saying ‘he won’t have one to come back to’ if he did. 

But he was quickly slapped with a £1,000 fine, after a member of the public reported the gym was still open, before armed officers turned up at the gym to demand he close it.

The gym boss then launched a campaign in which he vowed to stay open to members despite the threat of fines and closure.

A petition, which has now been signed more than 400,000 times, was launched, while a GoFundMe page, which was set to help pay any fines, has since topped £50,000. Mr Whitcombe has since revealed the money will go to mental health charities if the fines are overturned. 

Under both Tier 2 and Tier 3, 15 guests can attend wedding ceremonies but receptions are banned. Funerals can have up to 30 mourners, with only 15 people allowed at the wake (pictured, a bride in Russia ahead of her wedding)

WEDDINGS AND FUNERALS

Under both Tier 2 and Tier 3, 15 guests can attend wedding ceremonies but receptions are banned. Funerals can have up to 30 mourners, with only 15 people allowed at the wake.

Restrictions on funerals have been blasted as heavy-handed after the shocking moment a member of staff at a crematorium interrupted a funeral in order to berate mourners for being too close together was caught on camera.

Craig Bicknell, from Milton Keynes, revealed he had moved his chair in order to comfort his mother at the funeral of his father Alan Wright on 2nd October at Crownhill Crematorium, before other mourners followed suit.

But it wasn’t long before a member of staff interrupted the service by waving his arms and shouting at the mourners to ‘move the chairs back’.

Craig said he and his brother Paul were left devastated by the ‘telling off’, as they grieved the loss of their father who died from a heart attack in September. 

Writing on Facebook he said: ‘I can sit in a restaurant, I can sit in a pub, I can live at her house, I can travel in a limousine to the crematorium with 6. But when I want to give my mum a cuddle at dads funeral, a man flies out mid service shouting stop the service and makes us split… A devastating day made even worse.’ 

A spokesperson for Milton Keynes Council said: ‘We are sorry to have upset this family. We don’t usually step in if a guest needs to be comforted by another family member and in this instance should have taken a more considered approach.’

Schools and universities are all remaining open under Tier 3 restrictions, though universities are mostly moving towards online teaching (pictured, a demonstration of the Smartschool Life distance learning lesson)

SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES

Schools and universities are all remaining open under Tier 3 restrictions, though universities are mostly moving towards online teaching.

Thousands of students across the UK have complained of being confined to their halls of residence by university authorities clamping down on Covid-19 outbreaks.

The vast majority of Covid-19 cases in recent weeks have been among young people, which coincides with the start of the new academic year.

Universities have taken drastic measures to suppress Covid-19 as public health officials claim that asymptomatic carriers are likely to pass the virus on to the elderly.

Mass social gatherings on university campuses are banned across all three tiers, with some ministers having told students not to have sex with their peers.

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