Can I go to the pub? Will there be a curfew? Are gyms allowed to open? Your questions answered as Boris Johnson reveals his post-lockdown plan for England
Boris Johnson today set out plans for a strengthened three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions to replace the national lockdown in England.
The Prime Minister paved the way for a limited relaxation at Christmas as he detailed his winter strategy this afternoon in the House of Commons.
Appearing via videolink from his test and trace-ordered quarantine, he also announced major rapid testing programmes for all areas forced into the highest tier of restrictions.
He said England will face tiered coronavirus restrictions until the end of March, despite the latest successful vaccine trials and rapid tests presenting a ‘route out of the pandemic’.
As the lockdown ends on December 2, more parts of England are expected to be placed into higher tiers than they were before the national restrictions were imposed.
Mr Johnson also said the new tiers would be tougher than their predecessors, after scientific advisers said the previous regime did not do enough to tackle the virus.
Here are some of the questions we now know answers to, following Mr Johnson’s announcements today:
Will the lockdown end next week?
Yes. Boris Johnson has confirmed today that the lockdown will end on December 2 – next Wednesday – and it is thought this will come into effect at 00.01am that day.
What will replace the lockdown?
The lockdown will be replaced by a system of regional restrictions in three tiers, which is expected to last until the end of March 2021.
Christmas decorations adorn St Christopher’s Place in London today, as England continues in its four-week national lockdown intended to curb the spread of coronavirus
Can you see friends outdoors again?
Yes. The Prime Minister said that from next Wednesday, anyone will be allowed to leave their home for any purpose and meet others in outdoor public spaces, subject to the rule of six.
What else will return?
Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, the Prime Minister said without giving further details.
He added that personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector can reopen.
Can non-essential shops open in all three tiers?
Yes. Mr Johnson has confirmed all shops can reopen, whatever tier their area is placed into, in what is a major boost for retailers during the festive period.
What will this mean for working from home?
Mr Johnson said people in tier one should work from home wherever possible. This is different to the more relaxed arrangement under tier one before lockdown.
Will pubs in tier two be allowed to stay open?
Yes, with new restrictions. Alcohol may now only be served in hospitality settings as part of a ‘substantial meal’.
This is different to before, when all pubs were allowed to stay open in tier two, whether or not they served food.
Will pubs in tier three be allowed to stay open?
No, apart from takeaways. Mr Johnson has ordered the closure of indoor entertainment, hotels and all forms of hospitality, except for deliveries and takeaways.
This is different to before, when tier three pubs could open but only when serving alcohol as part of a ‘substantial meal’.
Will the 10pm curfew rule be eased?
Yes, Mr Johnson has unveiled a plan so that while last orders must be called at 10pm, people will get an extra hour to finish their food and drinks, with opening hours to be extended until 11pm.
A woman walks past Christmas decorations outside a wine shop in London’s Mayfair today
When will you know which tier your area will be put in?
This Thursday, when Ministers will announce which tier each area will enter based on scientific analysis of the local prevalence of Covid-19.
Will rules within tiers vary between areas?
No, the Prime Minister said tiers will now be a uniform set of rules. There will be no negotiations on additional measures between each region.
Will my area still be in the same tier as before?
Not necessarily. More areas are expected to enter the higher end of the tiered-system next month, the Prime Minister said.
Can you see your family at Christmas?
Possibly. Mr Johnson has set out the basis of plans to allow a small number of households across the UK to mix over a limited number of days around Christmas.
He has not yet given the specifics and said families must make a careful decision on whether to mix with those who are vulnerable.
Will we find out more about the post-lockdown plans tonight?
Possibly. Boris Johnson will hold a TV press conference at 7pm, with Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty and Director of Oxford Vaccine Group Andrew Pollard.
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