England’s lockdown is due to end tomorrow, 2nd December. Four weeks of lockdown have gone by and it has now been announced that a new, stricter tier system will be put in place in England to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as society opens up once again.
As we return to this same-but-different tier system, far more areas of England have entered Tier 3, which has the toughest restrictions. Bath and North East Somerset remain in Tier 2, but what do the new tiers mean, and how will they affect any Christmas celebrations that students may have planned in Bath?
From 2nd December, COVID-19 restrictions will no longer require people living in Bath to stay at home whenever possible. However, the government have advised the public to reduce the number of journeys they make and to avoid travelling into Tier 3 areas unless absolutely necessary.
Those who had hoped to do some Christmas shopping in Bath will still be able to, as all retail outlets will reopen on 2nd December, allowing students to take part in some limited Christmas festivities. Gyms and leisure facilities will also reopen, and as of Tuesday 1st December, students can pre-book slots at the Student Training Village.
The ‘rule of six’ now prohibits meetings indoors but students can still meet six people outdoors, either in private gardens or public spaces. Unfortunately, this means that any plans to go to pubs and bars with people outside of your household are prohibited, but, unlike the pre-lockdown rules, bars and pubs will be allowed to stay open until 23:00. It was announced that pubs would only be allowed to open if they operate as restaurants, however, Minister George Eustice stated that a Scotch egg counts as a ‘substantial meal’ in Tier 2, so enough venues should be open for students to go out for a drink, without spending too much money.
Rules around bubbles are potentially the most significant restriction for those staying in Bath on their own over Christmas, as support bubbles between one adult and one other household can now be formed, preventing anyone from spending the holidays alone.