A lot has happened over the last couple of months, especially in the North West. Since then most of the country has seen things return back to normal thanks to the reopening of most businesses and the introduction of support schemes like 'Eat Out To Help Out' put in place to boost business in this crucial recovery period.
However, with this, we have seen a steady rise in cases in more densely populated areas like manchester and Liverpool which has lead to the government implementing a new local alert system to stop the spread in these most affected areas.
You must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble
You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside,
Schools, colleges, universities and places of worship remain open
You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should minimise travel as much as possible
if deemed necessary the government will be working with local councils to tighten restriction in an effort to slow the spread of the virus
Preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality venues (except takeaway and delivery)
Closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
Closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
Closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth and childcare activities and support groups)
Closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
Closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences
In short, no, the tier system has been made to keep the economy going while slowing the spread of the virus. However, most of the North West is now labelled as a high-risk area, with Greater Manchester and Liverpool being under tighter restrictions since 14th October we could see more restriction being introduced if the rate of infection doesn't slow done.
A circuit breaker lockdown is the next step at stopping this virus. Areas, where this has already been enforced like Wales and Scotland, have been put under a short 2-week lockdown forcing all businesses to close and for people to stay home like we did back in March.
Coming out of lockdown and the re-opening of most businesses across the country has seen the second wave of cases start to form. Caused a need for a new 'tier' system to stop the spread of the virus in areas with a high number of new cases.
There's been lots of talk of a second wave of COVID-19 hitting the UK and it seems like we're well on the way as more areas across the UK have implemented stricter regulations in response to rising cases. First Leicester which saw a complete return to lockdown pre 4th of July forcing businesses to close doors once again and urging people to stay home. To now in the North West, in particular, the Greater Manchester area where stricter rules have now been put in place, seemingly out of the blue.
As you can see in this graph the actions that the government has taken aren't unjustified as Manchester has seen a steady increase in Covid-19 cases over the month. But exactly how are they planning to combat it?
Luckily, the North West will not be seeing a return to a full-blown lockdown like in Leicester. Instead, a ban has been put in place making it ‘illegal’ for 2 and more groups of households to gather indoors including pubs and restaurants while still allowing it at homes as long as it doesn't exceed the 30 people rule.
To enforce this the government will be giving the police and council the resources and power to enforce the new regulations and are encouraging business owners to do the same. This new change could be just the start if the numbers of cases keep rising and could see the North West meet a similar fate as Leicester did just over a month ago which is just now starting to come out of lockdown and too will fall under this new set of regulations as more businesses are opening for the second time.
There isn't a set date when this new ruling will be reversed but in a statement, by Andy Burnham, he told the British public measures could be removed more quickly “by not acting selfishly”. But the question remains exactly how will this be enforced and what impact is it going to have on business as the new change directly contradicts the government message to consumers that its safe to return pubs and restaurants.