The eternal question of ‘is my area in lockdown?’ was finally given an final answer this week as the government launched their new lockdown system.
Referred to as the ‘three tier system’ under a new initiative to try and curb the infection rate of Covid-19, areas in England will now be classed as ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ risk and restrictions imposed in each region accordingly to reflect the level of infection risk. There are some major differences between tier 2 and 3 lockdown but those in tier 1 will also still find themselves under some restrictions. Determined by the number of positive cases in each area, the new system works alongside the NHS contact tracing app to pinpoint the areas of rising coronavirus cases around the country.
But if you don’t live in the centre of one of these cities, it can be difficult to know what the rules are. This is the easy way to find out…
Is my area in lockdown?
Currently, Liverpool is the only area to take on the highest level of restrictions as they were entered into tier 3 earlier in the week. This means that those living in the city and surrounding areas are no longer allowed to meet anyone from outside their household, indoors or outside, and they have been discouraged from travelling outside of the area. But now, Lancashire is set to take on new restrictions and will move into tier 3 at the weekend.
London was the first city to be moved up to a higher restriction level, after less than a week sat on the lowest tier 1. As of Friday October 16 at midnight, those living in different households will not be able to mix indoors in any environment, businesses will still have to close at 10pm and the government has advised that any necessary travelling is done either on foot or by bike. Other major cities such as Nottingham have also been put under tier 2 restrictions, with the promise that if infection rates in the area don’t decrease dramatically, then there will be more measures put in place to restrict activity.
Areas moving into tier 2 on Saturday include:
- London (all boroughs)
- North East Derbyshire
Areas moving into tier 3 on Saturday include:
Similar to how we’ve seen localised lockdowns emerge over the last few months, the new three tier system will see certain areas going into lockdown rather than a total national lockdown. In defence of the new measures, which some describe as harsh due to the damage it will have on the hospitality industry in particular, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said it’s necessary to prevent us heading into another lockdown. Addressing the House of Commons on October 12, he said, “The number of cases has quadrupled in the last three weeks. There are now more people in hospital with Covid than when we went into lockdown on March 23 and deaths are already rising.
“Of course there are those who say that on that logic we should go back into a full national lockdown of indefinite duration, closing schools and businesses, telling people again to stay at home as we did in March, once again shuttering our lives and our society. I do not believe that would be the right course.”
But with the rules changing every day and now there are even discussions around a circuit breaker lockdown, so how do you know if your area is in lockdown?
How to find out if your area is in lockdown
The government has a handy postcode system that let’s you check what the restrictions are where you live. To find it, simply head over to the gov.uk website for ‘find coronavirus local restrictions’, type in your postcode and the system will tell you what tier of lockdown your area is in.
Just above the search box is a list of areas that are soon to have their COVID-19 alert level changed, so you can also check there for changes to your wider area.
The latest changes to the three tier system mean that as of Friday October 16 at midnight, more areas will be going into lockdown. These include: Barrow-in-Furness, Chesterfield, Elmbridge, Erewash, Essex, London (all boroughs), North East Derbyshire and York. Previously, all these areas were on the ‘medium’ level of restrictions so they just had to follow national guidelines.
What are the restrictions in tier 2 and tier 3 of lockdown?
In tier three lockdown restrictions, residents are currently seeing limited movement and some restrictions go back to similar measures enforced in March. There is no mixing allowed between households, no matter whether you’re indoors or outdoors. Bars and pubs are only allowed to stay open if they can serve plates of food considered big enough to be a main meal, but these must still close at 10pm and alcohol cannot be served unless it’s with a meal. Wedding receptions are also not allowed, but ceremonies can still take place with a maximum of 15 people.
In tier two, which many cities will find themselves in from Saturday morning, there is no mixing between households indoors. This means that you cannot visit someone else’s home and can now only go to a pub or restaurant with the people you live with. Other national measures are still being followed, such as the rule of six people outside and the 10pm curfew.