Following a general increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 in the city and its surrounding boroughs, London has today entered the Tier 3 level of lockdown – the most restricted version of lockdown in England’s controversial tiered system. Having spent that last two weeks in Tier 2, the news is bound to come as a blow to Londoners, who will now have to face a new series of restrictions over the festive period. Find exactly what those restrictions are, how they have been received and how long London is expected to face them, below.
The Current Covid-19 Situation in London
Londoners enjoyed the last fortnight under the more liberal Tier 2 restrictions, as photographs of busy shopping streets, restaurant diners and fans in football stadiums were shared on the internet, much to the chagrin of those suffering in other parts of the country in Tier 3. However, their freedoms have come to an end for now.
London’s current coronavirus statistics show clearly why the city will be kept under the most severe restrictions afforded to the government. London’s seven-day infection rate is the worst in the country, with 270.5 cases per 100,000 reported in the past week. Yesterday saw 4,238 people in London all test positive for the virus, with London as a whole registering 210,803 cases of Covid-19 so far. By implementing the Tier 3 restrictions onto the capital, the government is hoping to limit the spread of the virus and to ease the burden on hospitals in the city.
Tier 3 Restrictions – What Are They?
London’s Tier 3 restrictions are the most severe in England’s tiered lockdown system.
Under Tier 3, all hospitality venues must close, so restaurants, bars and pubs will be unable to welcome patrons through their doors like they were able to do under Tier 2 rules. Instead, only takeaway and delivery services will be available to Londoners. Entertainment venues such as cinemas, arcades and indoor play areas must also stay closed throughout London’s time in Tier 3. The government has advised people to work from home where possible and to limit travel to only essential journeys.
There are also limits imposed on who you can or can’t meet. People under Tier 3 restrictions cannot meet socially with those they don’t live with or have a support bubble with, either indoors or outdoors. There are some outdoor public places where it is possible to meet up to six people, such a parks, beaches and playgrounds. However, rules have been relaxed between the 23rd and 27th December, where those in Tier 3 can form a “Christmas bubble” with people from three different households.
Reaction to the Decision
Despite having the highest infection rate in the country, many businesses have complained about the decision to move London into Tier 3.
Given the proximity to Christmas, many restaurants that were planning to welcome diners over the festive period will instead be forced to shelve their plans, leading to millions of pounds worth of food waste. Senior arts figures have also warned that the decision would be devastating for the artistic industries, whilst those in hospitality have suggested that now thousands of jobs will be at stake.
Decisions based on tiers are reviewed every 14 days, so London may be able to control the virus and move up to Tier 1 or 2 before the end of the year.
What Does This Mean For Travelers?
Though they may be strongly encouraged by the government to stay home, those living in London are still able to travel abroad during this period.
Whilst many enjoy a trip to London for shopping or sightseeing during the festive season, the capital’s designation as a Tier 3 city means that it should be avoided unless absolutely essential – which would also be a smart call given the number of shops and attractions closed.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories