United Kingdom

Greater Manchester Tier 3 lockdown: what are the local restrictions?

What is the three-tier system?

Local lockdowns are automatically triggered by a three-tier Covid alert level system, which divides the country into different areas based on local infection rates, which dictates the severity of local lockdowns.

It works alongside the NHS Test and Trace app, where people scan a special QR code to enter and exit pubs, restaurants and bars. The app sends a message to the user about lockdown conditions when the coronavirus risk profile changes.

In England, there are currently zero areas in the UK that are considered low risk by the new app.

England has been divided into one of three tiers, each of which will have predetermined restrictions.

Tier one, or medium alert level, covers most of the country and consists of the current national measures, such as the rule of six and the closure of hospitality at 10pm.

Tier two, or high alert level, bans households or support bubbles from meeting each other indoors. However separate households can meet outdoors and in public gardens providing that the rule of six is followed. This tier includes London.

Tier three, or very high alert level, bans social mixing indoors and in private gardens altogether, and bars and pubs will be closed as a baseline. However, the Government decides with local authorities on whether further measures, including further restrictions on the hospitality, leisure, entertainment and personal care sectors. Retail, schools and universities will still remain open in these areas. Liverpool and Lancashire are in this tier.

Can I travel in the lockdown areas?

You should try not to share a car with those outside your household or social bubble. If you need to, the Government advises you to:

Can I visit my family in one of the lockdown areas?

If you are in a Tier 2, or high alert, area, then you cannot meet other households in any indoor setting. However, you can meet other households outdoors and in private gardens providing that the rule of six is followed.

People living in the Tier 3 lockdown zones must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The “Rule of Six” applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches. 

Should I shield?

Millions of people who shielded during the first lockdown will not be told to stay home this time, as health officials admit policy caused “harm” and “left people feeling imprisoned”.

But more than two million people who are considered “clinically extremely vulnerable” will be told to take practical steps to reduce exposure to the virus - such as only meeting others outdoors if possible. 

I'm a single parent. What about childcare?

Single parents with children who were under the age of 18 on June 12, 2020, and people who are living alone are allowed to form an alliance with one other household of any size, as long as nobody is shielding. This is called a "childcare bubble".

Someone in one household can provide informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. 

Government guidance states that each childcare bubble must always be between the same two households.

This can include people in your support bubble and registered childcare providers, such as nannies, and people in your childcare bubble.

Read more: Covid shielding: The latest government advice for vulnerable people, explained

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed on October 20 that Greater Manchester will move to the "very high" coronavirus alert level, Tier 3.

Speaking at a Downing St press conference, Mr Johnson said: "That means that pubs and bars must close, unless they are serving substantial meals, households can't mix in doors, or in most outdoor settings.

"In some public outdoor spaces groups must be limited to the rule of six.

"And, we strongly advise against travel into and out of the area."

The deputy chief medical officer for England, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, said coronavirus cases were rising among the over-60s, putting pressure on the NHS.

Heat maps" showing the spread of the disease showed "very significant areas of heat" across all ages in Greater Manchester.

"The infections that have seeded in the younger age groups are now penetrating the older age groups," he said.

"This is most concerning because it is the penetration of the disease into the older age groups that gives the NHS significant problems."

It comes after local leaders and the Government failed to reach an agreement on funding for Greater Manchester heading into Tier 3.

Mr Johnson said it would be unfair to give Manchester a £65m funding package, desired by mayor Andy Burnham, as it was "out of kilter" with other regions that have received support.

Mr Burnham has accused the Prime Minister of fracturing the country by failing to support his city. 

Downing Street says they will have access to other funds in the future, and Mr Johnson said his "door is open" for future negotiation. 

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