New coronavirus tier restrictions explained

With Suffolk expected to return to Tier 1 next week as the English lockdown ends, we explain the new rules and restrictions.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed this afternoon that counties will be categorised in the three-tier system which was in place before this lockdown.

MORE: Covid lockdown to end next week as tier system returns

With infection rates much lower than the national average, Suffolk is expected to return to the lowest level of measures which will allow non-essential businesses to reopen.

From next Wednesday, people across England will be allowed to leave their home for any reason and meet up with others both indoors and outdoors – subject to the rule of six.

However, in the two highest tiers people will not be able to interact with anyone outside of their household or support bubble indoors.

Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will be given the green light to start up again, alongside shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector.

People in Tier 1 will still be asked to work from home if they can and minimise their travel where possible.

MORE: Covid infections declining in all but one area of Suffolk

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In neighbouring Essex, residents were previously living under Tier 2 restrictions before lockdown.

The new ‘tougher’ Tier 2 will mean pubs and restaurants will have to call for last orders at 10pm and close by 11pm – only being allowed to serve alcohol with a ‘substantial meal’.

In both Tier 1 and 2 outdoor sports fans will be able to return to events with venues being able to host up to 4,000 fans or 50% of their capacity.

It is in the toughest tier that entertainment and hospitality sectors have been hit worst.

Pubs, restaurants, hotels and theatres will all close and only delivery or takeaway services will be allowed.

In a victory for fitness, gyms and leisure centres will remain open even in Tier 3.

The Prime Minister clarified that whilst last time the tiers differed between areas, this time there would be no negotiation and the rules will be the same for each tier across the country.

The tier for each area is due to be announced on Thursday.

Plans for Christmas are expected to be finalised by the end of the week and Mr Johnson said the stricter tier measures will hope to allow families and friends the chance to see each other more over the festive period.

MORE: Pubs and restaurants devastated by ‘crushing blow’ of new tier rules

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