The three-tier system has been in place for two weeks, since 2 December, in a bid to keep suppressing coronavirus case numbers throughout the winter months.
Boris Johnson had previously said it would be a “bumpy road to Christmas” and that coronavirus rules are “under constant review” and now, after an initial two-week period in the allocated tiers, regional reviews are taking place on 16 December.
It has already been confirmed that tier 3 regulations will begin in parts of Essex, London and Hertfordshire from 00:01 GMT on Wednesday, when 99 per cent of England will be tier two and three.
This is a result of increasing coronavirus case numbers in those regions. The adjustment to more serious measures has led to questions about the suitability of the five-day Christmas bubble window next week.
What does this mean for pubs and restaurants?
In the tier system – hospitality can reopen in tier one and two, but not in tier three where only deliveries and takeaways may continue.
Tier one: Table service only, rule of six on mingling indoors and outdoors and wearing face masks when not seated at your table. For example, being seated or visiting the bathroom.
Tier two: No household mixing indoors. Maximum of six people mixing outdoors and can only be served alcohol if alongside a “substantial meal”.
Tier three: Hospitality will remain closed (other than takeaway or delivery) until the region moves out of tier three.
The tiers will be reviewed by law every 14 days and will lapse in March, if no other system is put in place in the meantime.
Is there a new curfew?
In the previous tiered-system there was a 10pm curfew, which meant all hospitality not only couldn’t serve after 10pm but had to be empty of customers – people couldn’t, for example, loiter on the premises.
That has been reviewed. Mr Johnson said of the new system curfew: “From the 10pm closing time we’re going to change that so last orders [is] at 10 o’clock with closing at 11 in tiers one and two”.
This of course does not apply to tier three.
Is my area affected?
This week’s tier changes will affect all 32 London boroughs, 11 Essex counties, and four Hertfordshire counties.
To see if your area is affected visit gov.uk and enter your postcode.