Covid - 19 Update

Scotland, England, Wales and Northern Ireland have all implemented new measures to fight against the spread of the transmission of COVID-19. The following breaks down the new measures in each country within the UK:

England

A three-tier system of local lockdown measures are in place. The three-tier system comprises of Local Covert Alert Levels of Medium, High and Very High. The local COVID alerts level are implemented depending on the local infection rates for every area throughout England.

Tier 1 - Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

·         Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.

·         Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated and must close between 10pm and 5am.

·         Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

·         Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.

·         Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.

·         Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.

·         People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors.

Tier 2 - High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

·         People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

·         People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.

·         Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.

·         Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated and must close between 10pm and 5am.

·         Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

·         People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

·         Schools, universities and places of worship can remain open.

·         Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.

·         Exercise classes and organised sport can continue outdoors. Indoors can only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport.

Tier 3 - Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

·         Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

·         Wedding and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed

·         People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.

·         Schools and universities will remain open.

·         Places of worship will remain open however, household mixing is not permitted.

·         People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.

·         People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

·         Exercise classes and organised sport can continue outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with or for youth or disability sport. 

Additional measures for very high alert level areas that may be implemented after consultation with local authorities are:

·         Restrictions on the sale of alcohol in hospitality.

·         Closing all hospitality (except takeaway and delivery).

·         Closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions.

·         Closing leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity).

·         Closing public buildings such as libraries and community centres.

·         Closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities.

·         Closing performing arts venues for the purpose of performing to audiences.

Scotland

Scotland have introduced a new five tier system that will come into force from the 2nd of November to help fight against the spread of COVID-19. The five tiers of measures will be implemented depending on the local infection rates for every area throughout Scotland.

Level 0 – Nearly Normal

·         8 people from 3 different households can meet indoors.

·         15 people from 5 different households can meet outdoors.

·         No non-essential travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in the rest of the UK. There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.

·         Active travel is advised where possible e.g. walk, run cycle etc. Avoid car sharing with people outside extended households where possible. Face coverings compulsory on public transport.

·         Shops, public buildings and close contact services can remain open.

·         Stadiums can open with restricted numbers. Indoor seated events are permitted with restricted numbers. Outdoor events are permitted.

·         Indoor grouped standing is not permitted.

·         Hospitality can serve food and alcohol indoors and outdoors with possible time restrictions.

·         Places of worship are open with restricted numbers of 50.

·         Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can go ahead with restrictions of 50 persons.

·         Schools can remain open with standard protective measures in place.

·         Offices and call centres working from home still advised.

·         Sports and exercise all permitted.

·         Leisure and entertainment all open except for nightclubs.

·         Accommodation e.g. hotels B&Bs etc are permitted to be open but must adhere to the socialising rules.

Level 1 – Medium

·         6 people from 2 households can meet indoors and outdoors.

·         Hospitality can serve food and alcohol indoors and outdoors with possible time restrictions.

·         Accommodation e.g. hotels B&Bs etc are permitted to be open but must adhere to the socialising rules e.g. 6 people from 2 households.

·         No non-essential travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in the rest of the UK. There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.

·         Active travel is advised where possible e.g. walk, run cycle etc. Avoid car sharing with people outside extended households where possible. Face coverings compulsory on public transport.

·         Shops, public buildings and close contact services can remain open.

·         Stadia open with restricted numbers. Outdoor events seated and open space permitted with restricted numbers. Small seated indoor events permitted.

·         Outdoor grouped standing events are not permitted.

·         Places of worship are open with restricted numbers of 50.

·         Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can go ahead with restrictions of 20 persons.

·         Schools can remain open with standard protective measures in place.

·         Sports and exercise all permitted except 18 + indoor contact sports.

·         Leisure and entertainment all open except for nightclubs.

Level 2 – High

·         No indoor meetings with other households. 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

·         Hospitality can serve alcohol indoors only with a main meal. Alcohol can be served outdoors with possible time restrictions.

·         Accommodation e.g. hotels B&Bs etc are permitted to be open but must adhere to the socialising rules and the hospitality rules e.g. serving alcohol indoors with a main meal.

·         No non-essential travel to or from level 3 or higher areas in Scotland and equivalents in the rest of the UK. There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.

·         Active travel is advised where possible e.g. walk, run cycle etc. Avoid car sharing with people outside extended households where possible. Face coverings compulsory on public transport.

·         Shops can remain open. So can public buildings with protective measures and close contact services can remain open however, mobile close contact services are not permitted. 

·         Stadia is closed to spectators. Events are not permitted outdoors or indoors. Drive in events are permitted.

·         Places of worship are open with restricted numbers of 50.

·         Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can go ahead with restrictions of 20 persons.

·         Schools can remain open with enhanced protective measures in place.

·         Sports and exercise all permitted except 18 + indoor contact sports.

·         Cinemas, amusement arcades can remain open. Soft play, indoor bowling, theatres, snooker/pool halls, music venues, bingo halls, casinos and nightclubs must close.

Level 3 – Very High

·         No indoor meetings with other households. 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

·         Alcohol sales not permitted indoors or outdoors. Food sale is permitted with possible time restrictions.

·         Accommodation e.g. hotels B&Bs etc are permitted to be open but must adhere to the socialising rules and the hospitality rules. It is encouraged that non-essential (leisure/tourism) and for use of locals or essential work use.

·         No non-essential travel into or out of level 3 areas. There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.

·         Active travel is advised where possible e.g. walk, run cycle etc. Avoid car sharing with people outside extended households where possible. Avoid non-essential use of public transport, Face coverings compulsory on public transport.

·         Shops can remain open. So can public buildings with protective measures and close contact services can remain open but may be subject to additional protective measures. 

·         Stadia and events are not permitted.

·         Places of worship are open with restricted numbers of 50.

·         Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals can go ahead with restrictions of 20 persons.

·         Schools can remain open with enhanced protective measures in place.

·         Indoor individual exercise only with exceptions for under 18’s. Outdoor contact sports is not permitted for 18+.

·         Entertainment venues must close e.g. cinemas etc.

·         Visitor attractions all open or only outdoors open depending on circumstances.

Level 4

·         No indoor meetings with other households. 6 people from 2 households can meet outdoors and in hospitality settings.

·         Hospitality business must close except for hotels. Takeaways are permitted for alcohol and food sales.

·         Accommodation open for essential only e.g. work related – no tourism.

·         No non-essential travel into or out of the level 4 area. If necessary, limits on travel distance. There are exemptions for essential travel for work, education, shopping, health etc; outdoor exercise; weddings and funerals; and transit through restricted areas.

·         Active travel is advised where possible e.g. walk, run cycle etc. Avoid car sharing with people outside extended households where possible. Non-essential use of public transport is not allowed, Face coverings compulsory on public transport.

·         Shops, public buildings, visitor attractions and close contact services closed.

·         Places of worship are open with restricted numbers of 20.

·         Weddings and civil partnerships are limited to 5 people. Funerals can go ahead with restrictions of 20 persons. No receptions.

·         Schools can remain open with enhanced and targeted protective measures.

·         Driving lessons not permitted.

·         Indoor gyms closed.

·         Permitted essential workplaces to remain open. Outdoor workplaces, construction and manufacturing to remain open.

Shielding

·         Level 0, 1 & 2 – If the persons at risk cannot work from home, the employer must carry out an individual workplace risk assessment and make necessary adjustments to protect the person at risk.

·         Level 3 - If the person cannot work from home, you must carry out the above and speak with the person at risk to ensure them that all appropriate protections are in place.

·         Level 4 – An automatic two-week fit note will be provided to people on the shielding list by the chief medical officer.

Wales

Wales have introduced a firebreak lockdown which came into force from the 23rd of October until Monday the 9 of November. This includes.

·         People must stay at home, except for very limited purposes.

·         People must not visit other households or meet other people they do not live with.

·         Bars, restaurants and most shops must close. Takeaways can continue.

·         You must work from home if you can.

·         All retail must close except food and drink shops, pharmacies, petrol stations, veterinary surgeries, post offices, vehicle rental services, car garages, high street banks, medical services. There is a full list available at https://gov.wales/coronavirus-covid-19-closure-businesses-and-premises-html#section-53815

·         Most assembly and leisure facilities must close except where it has been authorised by the local authority or the welsh ministers if needed to help facilitate a social purpose.

·         Primary schools will remain open. Secondary schools will be open to children in years seven and eight.

·         Places of worship are not open to the public, other than for weddings or civil partnership ceremonies or funerals. Weddings and funerals can only be attended by people who have been invited and the numbers who can attend indoors is limited by the capacity of the venue. Receptions and wakes are not permitted.

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland introduced new covid-19 restrictions on the 16th of October that are due to be in place for 4 weeks. These are:

·         Face coverings are mandatory on public transport, in shops and shopping centres, in hospitality settings (except when seated at a table), in places of worship (except when seated), when visiting government offices, in banks, building societies and credit unions.

·         Retail, transport and hospitality settings should now also wear face coverings in areas accessible to the public, unless they are protected by a partition.

·         Gatherings which consist from more than one household is not permitted indoors in private dwellings or self-catering holiday accommodation.

·         Up to 6 people from 2 different households can meet up outdoors.

·         Indoor and outdoor sporting events are banned except for elite athletes or members of the same household.

·         Marriages, civil partnerships and funerals are limited to 25 persons which includes children under 12 and the celebrant.

·         Close contact services must keep closed, this includes hairdressers, tanning, sports and massage therapy, beauty treatment establishments, tattooing and body piercing shops etc. This includes close contact services in people’s homes.

·         Cinemas, nightclubs, museums, galleries, bingo halls and conference facilities including those in hotels, funfairs, indoor amusement arcades, skating rinks and visitor attractions must all close. Theatres and concert halls must close except for rehearsals our live recordings however, there cannot be a live audience.

·         The hospitality industry must not sell or provide food or drink for consumption on its premises. Dancing and music in the hospitality sector is not permitted.

·         Libraries must cease to provide a service except to visitors who enter the premises of the library only to collect items ordered or to use the facilities of the library to access the internet.

·         Hotels, bed and breakfast or guest houses must not operate for tourism purposes, it can only be for people who were already resident on the date of this restriction came into place or residents for work-related purposes, or vulnerable people, or people who are unable to return to their private dwelling due to an emergency.

·         Hotels and guesthouses can provide food and drink (non-alcoholic) as part of their service for residents, whether or not in a restaurant on the premises.

·         Trades and professions that operate at home or within other people’s home can continue to do so.

·         People should work from home where possible.

·         Universities and further education should deliver distance learning to the maximum extent possible. Face to face learning should only occur where it is absolutely necessary and unavoidable as part of the course.

·         Construction, manufacturing and front-line services can continue.

·         Only travel where it is necessary and avoid using public transport where possible.

·         Outdoor exercise activities can take place as long as there is no contact between participants who are not from the same household. There is a maximum of 15 persons allowed to participate.

More information on Northern Irelands restrictions can be found here:

https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/Your%20guide%20to%20the%20COVID-19%20restrictions.pdf

As for businesses that can continue to operate during these times it is vital that a COVID-19 risk assessment has been conducted and that the appropriate control measures have been implemented throughout. This should include social distancing, thorough cleaning and disinfection programmes, good hand and personal hygiene practices, face coverings, sickness procedure and COVID-19 training for all staff.

 

 


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