Today the Government have announced the proposed new tiers for local authorities across England. In a change from the previous tiered system, the new tiers will apply to Surrey as a whole, and will mean all of Runnymede and Weybridge will enter Tier 2 restrictions on 2 December when national restrictions are lifted, if approved by Parliament next week.
Tier 2 restrictions mean the area remains on high alert. Restrictions do remain, and the following rules will be in place:
- You must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting
- You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside (the rule of 6)
- Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
I know it will be a disappointment to many that we will not be in the lowest Tier, and any restrictions will continue to impact our personal freedoms, livelihoods and businesses. This is a significant step in the right direction as unlike under national restrictions, most businesses and venues will be able to continue to operate, in a COVID-Secure manner.
In summary, pubs and bars can remain open if operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals, but will be able to remain open until 11pm. Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is allowed again, with capacity limits in place, including attendance at spectator sport and business events.
Places of worship can reopen for religious services, weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees. Gyms can reopen and organised outdoor sport and physical activity and exercise classes can continue. Further information on the tier 2 restrictions, including full details of the restrictions on pubs and retail premises, are available here.
We all wish that no restrictions were needed and it is important that these decisions continue to be evidence based and decisions can be reviewed as circumstances change. I continue to work with colleagues in Parliament to scrutinise the data on which these decisions are based. This morning in Parliament I called on the Government to ensure the data and reasons behind the decisions are published and there is clear communication for what we need to do to further reduce these planned restrictions.