As from Saturday, Sheffield, Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster will move to the highest tier
South Yorkshire will be the latest region placed into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions as Boris Johnson came under renewed pressure to increase financial help for areas under the toughest curbs.
The region will receive a £41 million package of funding, but Sheffield City Council’s leader Julie Dore pleaded with ministers to “do the right thing” and offer extra support to all Tier 3 areas.
The deal with South Yorkshire comes after bitter wrangling over money with Greater Manchester led to the highest level of restrictions being imposed from Whitehall without an agreement.
Under Tier three rules - currently only applied to Lancashire and the Liverpool City Region - pubs and bars not serving substantial meals have to close, while household mixing is banned indoors and outdoors in hospitality settings and private gardens.
Betting shops, casinos, bingo halls, adult gaming centres and soft play areas will also have to close, while there is guidance against travelling in or out of the area.
Here Dr Mike Tildesley, an expert in infection modelling from Warwick University, answers your questions.
If there’s a circuit breaker lockdown will I still be able to go to McDonald's?
It depends on how severe any new lockdown might be, says Dr Tildesley.
“If it’s going to be equivalent to Tier 3 rules, then restaurants could stay open. But if they decide to implement the same restrictions as the last lockdown, then all restaurants, including McDonald's, will close.”
I’ve booked a staycation holiday elsewhere in the UK for the half-term. If there’s a circuit breaker lockdown will I still be able to go?
Probably not. Dr Tildesley says: “If the model the Government follows is the same as the national lockdown in March you wouldn’t be able to go. But you won’t if it’s based on the rules of Tier 3 either, which advises against all non-essential travel.”
He added that there was doubt whether there was time to bring in a circuit breaker lockdown by the half-term holidays.
Can my kids still go trick or treating? And what about Bonfire Night?
It’s clearly not advisable to go knocking on doors during the pandemic.
Dr Tildesley says: “This is a really difficult one. It’s important that we find a way to do these events that are so important to our children. We need to come up with a form of Halloween that doesn’t bring us into contact with people we wouldn’t normally see.
“For Bonfire Night, there won’t be any big public fireworks displays this year, but you can still do one in your garden, as long as you adhere to the local rules.”
What’s going to happen at Christmas?
Decision-makers need to realise how important Christmas is, says Dr Tildesley.
“It’s when families come together. We know that loneliness is a problem at Christmas anyway, and with the Tier 3 rules there are going to be an awful lot of people who are going to be by themselves this Christmas, unless we do something about it.
“I’d like to see us make enough progress in the next few weeks that we might have a slight relaxation on the rules over Christmas, such as extending the rule of six to 10, regardless of tier. It’s another argument for a circuit breaker so we can get on top of it.”
If my area becomes Tier 3, am I still able to travel outside of it for work?
“Under Tier 3 rules you must avoid all non-essential travel,” says Dr Tildesley.
“If the purpose of that work trip can’t be achieved from home, then it would be regarded as essential travel.”
I’m in a Tier 3 area and I’ve got a holiday booked abroad. Can I still go?
The rules don’t explicitly ban travel abroad, says Dr Tildesley.
“But the quarantine advice is still in place, which means you may need to quarantine in the country you’re going to, as well as 14 days when you get back.
"In a Tier 3 area you are advised not to leave the area, but Government guidance doesn’t say whether it’s illegal and it’s unclear what the penalties are if you do.”
My boyfriend lives with flatmates. Will I still be able to see him?
“If you’re in Tier 1, you will be able to see him provided that, with you, there are no more than six people in that house. In Tier 2, you can see him outdoors, unless he and you are part of the same bubble. In Tier 3, you won’t be able to see him.”
I’m in Tier 2. Can I go and stay over at my mum’s in Tier 1?
“Unfortunately not, unless your mum is in your support bubble,” says Dr Tildesley. Someone who is the only adult in their home can form a support bubble with another household.
Can Tier 2 households holiday together in a Tier 1 area?
“No, because you are not allowed to mix between households, whether inside or outside your local area.”
If we leave a Tier 2 area for a Tier 1 area, are we allowed to socialise indoors?
No, because the rules you must follow are those from where you live, not where you go to.
My mum’s in a care home in Tier 3. Will I be able to see her?
Tier 3 rules advise against visiting a care home except in exceptional circumstances, such as end of life. Dr Tildesley says: “What is allowed is very much down to the individual care home. Regardless of tier, access is very carefully managed. You should talk to the care home to find out what rules they’ve put in place.”
My sister’s wedding is in a Tier 2 area, and I’m in Tier 3. Will I be able to go?
Dr Tildesley says: “Very sadly, that’s a no, unless your sister is in your support bubble, which given it’s a wedding is probably unlikely.
"As well as not being able to socialise outside their household, people in Tier 3 are advised against non-essential travel, and attending a wedding isn’t regarded as essential travel.”
In Tier 3 areas wedding ceremonies are allowed but receptions aren’t allowed. In Tier 2 receptions are restricted to 15 people.
Published: 21/10/2020 by Radio NewsHub