The Government has confirmed that Oxfordshire will move into the high COVID-19 alert level (tier 2) from Wednesday, December 2. This means changes to the rules around working, socialising and running a business. Until that date, the national lockdown restrictions remain in place.

From next Wednesday, the following will apply:

  • People must not meet socially 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 six outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • Non-essential shops can reopen, as can personal care businesses such as hairdressers, gyms and the wider leisure sector. All businesses and venues that reopen must have COVID-secure measures in place.
  • Hospitality venues will be allowed to stay open until 11pm – with last orders at 10pm. However, only those that serve substantial meals can operate, and alcohol can only be served with substantial meals.
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume, with restrictions in place.
  • Everyone who can work from home should continue to do so.

Further information is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/local-restriction-tiers-what-you-need-to-know.

COVID cases in Oxfordshire

The week up to 20 November saw a drop in infection rates across the county, with a total of 671 confirmed cases – an equivalent of 97 per 100,000 residents, and a decrease from 1,171 the previous week.

Ansaf Azhar, the county council’s Director for Public Health, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has adhered to the national restrictions during November. As the recent fall in COVID cases shows, by people playing their part and sticking to the rules, we can stem the spread of the virus in Oxfordshire.

“However, I must caution that this is just one week’s data and the situation could easily reverse. We can’t afford to be complacent. National lockdown may be lifting next Wednesday, but we are still in the middle of a pandemic. It’s critically important that we all stick to the new local restrictions.