A Strict New Four-Tier System Could Be Implemented As Soon As Lockdown Ends

Laura Rogan Laura Rogan

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Just when we were getting used to the current lockdown measures.

A new four-tier lockdown system could be introduced once the November lockdown is over, reports suggest. Confirming that England would return to last month’s tiering system once the measures are lifted, Boris Johnson has already outlined that the areas still affected by high infection rates will need to follow stricter measures after December 2. And now, government insiders suggest these could be tougher than the regulations we’ve seen already.

Speaking to The Telegraph about the upcoming changes, a source said: “There is a desire to simplify the system, and having lots of different tiers within a relatively small area can be confusing. A region by region approach certainly makes a lot of sense.

“What we are worried about more than anything else is compliance. It would be better to have a good system that everyone followed than a perfect system that everyone ignored.

“Lots of people are talking about ignoring the rules over Christmas, so it’s clear that fatigue is setting in. We have to design a system that makes sense to people and that they will be willing to follow.”

Rumours of the new “Tier 4” restrictions grow following comments by Chief Medical Officer Professor Chris Whitty, who advised that even the “base line” Tier 3 restrictions may not be enough to bring the infection rates down in highly affected areas – which currently includes cities such as BristolManchester, and Liverpool. Rishi Sunak’s extension of the furlough scheme up until March 2021 has also caused a rumble, with many suspecting there are more drastic measures to come.

A Whitehall source told The Telegraph: “It seems likely as things stand that an extra tier will be introduced, whether that is called ‘tier four’ or ‘tier three plus’.


“It would mean we could keep pubs and restaurants closed in the top tier, then areas would come down through the tiers as the infection rates come down. But nothing has been decided yet. These discussions are still at an early stage.”

Boris Johnson has insisted that England will be released from the current lockdown regulations on December 2, however, it is currently unclear what measures will be in place for Christmas, or what the government has planned for ‘very high alert’ regions such as the North West and Yorkshire. It remains to be seen what will happen in Birmingham, where 327 cases per 100,000 were recorded during the first week of the lockdown, and where the number of cases is lower than some Northern cities but there are some concerns for West Midlands areas too. However, cases are slowly decreasing across the board as lockdown continues.

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Here’s an overview of the October tiering system, which was in place prior to the November lockdown:

Tier 1: Medium Alert

  • 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants
  • Rule of Six applies for social gatherings

Tier 2: High Alert

  • No household mixing, except for outdoors
  • Rule of Six applies for outdoor social gatherings
  • Avoiding non-essential travel advised

Tier 3: Very High Alert

  • Pubs and bars not serving food must close
  • 10pm curfew applies to businesses operating as a restaurant (i.e. with “substantial meals)
  • No household mixing in any setting
  • Avoid travel outside of the local area
  • Avoiding non-essential travel advised
  • Some businesses, such as gyms, casinos, soft play areas required to close (depending on the local council)
  • No overnight stays outside of the area

Birmingham were set to move into Tier 3  just last month as cases began to rise, but did not make the move from Tier 2 to Tier 3 as England was forced into a national lockdown.

In other news, mass coronavirus testing will be rolled out across England this week, with Birmingham included in the trial.

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