As part of today’s Tier review Buckinghamshire will be moving to Tier 3 from one minute past midnight (00:01) on Saturday 19 December.
Oxfordshire, Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset will remain in the tier 2 ‘high’ alert level for the next two weeks as part of the national system of restrictions in place to combat the virus. The next review of the tier system is expected to take place on 30 December.
What does tier three mean?
Full details about all of the Tier 3 restrictions are available on the Government website, but for reference some of the main restrictions include:
- You must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues, unless a legal exemption applies
- You must not socialise in a group of more than six in some other outdoor public spaces including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility. This is called the rule of six. You can continue to meet in a group larger than six if you are all from the same household or support bubble, or another legal exemption applies
- Shops, gyms, personal care services and leisure centres can stay open; but group exercise classes should not go ahead
- Bars, pubs and restaurants must stay closed except for delivery and takeaway
- Indoor entertainment venues must stay closed, including cinemas, bowling alleys and theatres.
- People are advised not to travel to and from tier 3 areas
What does tier 2 mean?
- There should be no mixing of households indoors apart from support bubbles. The rule of six applies outdoors.
- Pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and must close by 11pm.
- People should reduce the number of journeys they make and walk or cycle if possible.
- Everyone who can work from home should do so
Ansaf Azhar, Oxfordshire County Council’s Director for Public Health, said: “Christmas is now close. It is a time for enjoyment, but we need to adapt so that we can enjoy ourselves without giving COVID-19 the chance to join the party. We have seen that this virus thrives on human contact – the rules exist to stop it spreading.
“Unless we all take personal responsibility as individuals and families throughout the coming weeks, we risk creating a situation in January that will see steeply rising numbers of cases at exactly the time of year when viruses thrive. This means putting even more pressure on our NHS at its busiest time of year. We need to protect ourselves and the NHS as we enter 2021.
“The vaccine continues to be a source of good news and we have seen people in Oxfordshire begin the process of being vaccinated. However, it will be some way into the new year before this begins to provide protection to larger numbers of the population and make a material difference to the overall situation.
“We therefore all need to be extra vigilant in the run-up to Christmas and to think carefully about our plans over the festive period. It is up to all of us to stop the spread.”