Tier 2 restrictions: your questions about North East lockdown measures answered

The introduction of the ‘three tier’ lockdown system announced on 12 October has prompted a number of questions about what is and is not allowed

Tuesday, 13th October 2020, 1:53 pm
Boris Johnson announced a new "three tier" lockdown system in England (Photo: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP via Getty Images)

With a new ‘three tier’ lockdown system introduced on 12 October, many people across England were left feeling a little confused.

If you live in the North East, you may be unsure how the new Tier 2 restrictions affect you. These are the answers to some of your questions.

If my son doesn’t live with me, can he still come and stay with me?

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Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households without breaching the rules.

The government states: “You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. This limit of six includes children of any age.”

You cannot meet with anyone outside of your household or support bubble in an indoor setting, such as homes.

Meeting in larger groups is against the law.

When meeting friends and family, you should follow social distancing rules and limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time.

The High alert tier guidelines stipulate that you must not:

- Host people you do not live with in your home or garden

- Meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas

- Meet with people who you do not live with in indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas

Your household is defined as the people you live with.

You could create a support bubble, which is where a household with one adult joins another household on an exclusive basis. Households within a bubble can continue to visit each other, stay overnight and visit public places together.

Can we travel to other parts of the county for a holiday?

All non-essential travel should be minimised if you are travelling into, within or out of affected local areas.

Examples of essential travel include getting to and from work, to collect essential food or medical supplies, to support someone who is vulnerable, and to attend school or college.

“You can still go on holiday outside of the affected local areas, but you should only do this with people you live with,” the government states.

You must wear a face covering on public transport, taxis, private hire vehicles and in enclosed areas of transport hubs.

What is the plan for Christmas?

Talking at the Downing Street conference on Monday 12 October, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the rules around Christmas would depend on the public being able to stick to the governments Covid-19 guidelines.

He said, “We’ll do our absolute best to try to make sure we can get life back to as close to normal as possible for Christmas.

“But that is going to depend, I’m afraid, on our success in getting this virus down and our ability as a country to follow through on the package of measures.”

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden told Sky News that the point of the three tier system was to hopefully get the virus under control by the New Year.

Downden said, “The purpose of doing this is to ensure that we get the virus under control so that by the time we get to after Christmas we are in a position where it’s under control. Indeed I hope it will be sooner than that.”

Are we still able to mix households with grandparents for childcare?

"You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. This limit of six includes children of any age,” the government explains.

You cannot meet with anyone outside of your household or support bubble in an indoor setting, such as homes.

If you live in High category affected local areas, you must not:

- Host people you do not live with in your home or garden

- Meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas

- Meet with people who you do not live with in indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas

Your household is defined as the people you live with.

For grandparents looking to provide childcare for their grandchildren, you could form a childcare bubble.

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household can provide informal (unpaid and unregistered, such as a grandparent) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. This must occur on an exclusive basis - so once you have created a childcare bubble with another household, you cannot switch to a different household.

The government states that friends or family who are not part of your support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

How long will the restrictions last?

The new rules will be implemented from midnight on Wednesday 14 October.

The government announced that the regulations would be kept under “constant review”, including a “four week sunset clause for interventions in ‘very high’ areas.”

Can people in established relationships, but from different households, continue to meet up?

While it had previously been announced that people in “established relationships” no longer needed to socially distance themselves from each other, the most recent Covid-19 announcements state that those in affected areas cannot meet up with others outside of their household in indoor settings, with no mention of those in established relationships.

Again, you could create a support bubble with your significant other which would permit you to see each other. However, if you and your partner both live with other people, you are not eligible to create a support bubble.

You can form a support bubble with another household of any size that is not part of a support bubble with anyone else if you:

- live by yourself (even if carers visit you to provide support)

- are a single parent living with children who were under 18 on 12 June 2020

What support is there for self employed people?

For self employed people struggling due to the Covid-19 pandemic and with the new lockdown restrictions, there are grants you can apply for to help you.

Applications for the first grant under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme closed in July, but a second taxable grant worth 70 per cent of your average monthly trading profits is available for those who apply before 19 October.

You can claim this grant if you’re a self-employed individual that has been adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. To make a claim for this secondary grant, you or your business must have been affected on or after 14 July 2020.

All of the following must also apply:

- You traded in the tax year 2018 to 2019 and submitted your Self Assessment tax return on or before 23 April 2020 for that year

- You traded in the tax year 2019 to 2020

- You intend to continue to trade in the tax year 2020 to 2021

To find out more about applying for the Self Employment Income Support Scheme, you can do so on the government website.

Alternatively, you can apply for Universal Credit if you’re on low income, out of work, or you cannot work.

If you’re self-employed and also employed, your Universal Credit payment will be calculated based on your combined earnings from self-employment and employment.

You can find out more on the government website.

If the North East was later placed into the third tier of restrictions, would Hartlepool fall under North East or Tees Valley?

According to the government website, it appears that Hartlepool would fall under the Tees Valley category.