Earlier today it was announced that Hertfordshire will exit national lockdown and enter into Tier 2, meaning we are on High Alert along with most areas of the UK.
Unfortunately, pubs and bars must close unless they serve substantial meals with drinks. For venues that can open, last orders will be at 10pm with doors closed by 11pm. For businesses that are not required to close but will be severely affected by Tier 2 restrictions, Local Authorities will receive further government funding enabling them to make grants of up to £2,100. Any businesses requiring further information are more than welcome to contact me.
On a more positive note, shops, gyms, hairdressers and cinemas can re-open. Golf and tennis can also resume, which given the number of emails I have had regarding this will be welcome news for many! I am also delighted that communal worship can resume for all faiths, something I know that is important for many in the lead up to Hanukah and Christmas.
The rules over Christmas will be different regardless of which Tier we are in. Across a 4-day period starting on the 23rd December, three households will be allowed to form a ‘Christmas bubble.’ All bubbles will be fixed, so we cannot mix with two households on Christmas Day and two different ones on Boxing Day. Households that we form a Christmas bubble with cannot be in other bubbles either. Joining loved ones over Christmas will be a "personal judgement" and people should still consider the risks to themselves and others.
These Tiers are designed to reduce transmission and keep the R rate below 1. So, if we all continue to follow the guidance we could be placed into Tier 1 - allocations will be reviewed by 16th December.
As more of us will be heading out to do Christmas shopping and eat in restaurants, it is more important than ever that we wear face coverings when required, regularly wash our hands and maintain social distancing.
2020 has been a tough year, but the news of a number of potential vaccines gives us reason for cautious hope that there is light at the end of this tunnel, and I would like to thank everybody that has had to make tough sacrifices already this year.