Tier 2 rules: Can you meet outside in Tier 2?

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Once normal freedoms have been done away with in 2020 thanks to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. After a summer of relative respite, coronavirus cases are rising in various areas of the country, and along with it a slew of draconian measures.

Various areas of the UK are currently categorised into Tier 2, with the majority of them in the north of England, currently the worst hit part of the country.

More than half of England is currently under high or very high level restrictions, with Liverpool and Lancashire now under Tier 3 restrictions – the highest possible level at present.

Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Derbyshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear, Tees Valley, West Midlands, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire are all in Tier 2 as it stands.

London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash moved into Tier 2 on Saturday – meaning 25.2 million are now in high risk areas.

Can you meet outside in Tier 2?

In Tier 2, you cannot meet up with individuals outside of your household if you are planning on socialising indoors – but meeting outside is currently within the rules.

People are still allowed to mix outdoors in hospitality settings and in public spaces such as parks and beaches.

Social distancing should be adhered to at all times and the rule of six still applies, in public spaces and in hospitality venues.

Across all three tiers, meeting in large groups is against the law and anyone caught breaching the rules could be fined up to £10,000.

The rules regarding meeting across tiers are not entirely clear at this point, unless you live in Tier 3.

It remains to be seen if the new restrictions, brought in on Wednesday, October 14, will make a difference to the sharply rising rates of infection.

The Prime Minister has resisted calls for a national ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown against scientific advice, insisting local action is key to dampening the spread of the virus.

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This week the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) said the reproduction number, or R value, of coronavirus transmission for the whole of the UK now sits between 1.3 and 1.5.

Sage said there had been no change to the course of the pandemic in the last month, suggesting no effect from measures such as the rule of six.

However, at the Downing Street press conference, England’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said the R was not growing as fast as it would be without the measures people were following.

Nevertheless, he said he agreed with England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty that the “baseline” Tier 3 measures on their own would not be enough to get the number of infections down.

Tighter coronavirus restrictions are currently in place across the rest of the UK.

Northern Ireland has now implemented a circuit breaker lockdown of sorts, with hospitality venues now closed and schools closed for the next two weeks.

Welsh ministers are also meeting to discuss a potential circuit breaker for Wales.

In Scotland, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is said to be considering a similar tiered system.

Ms Sturgeon said the new framework will “strengthen our resilience to live with this virus” and will detail support for businesses in the future should they be the subject of further restrictions.

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