United Kingdom

Strictest tier of new lockdown restrictions ‘includes total ban on socialising’

Anyone living in a red zone area won’t be able to meet with friends or family in any setting

People will be banned from seeing any friends or family members they don’t live with under tough new lockdown rules being considered by the Government. 

Areas worst affected by coronavirus may be plunged back into the strictest form of lockdown seen since May, in a bid to get a handle on spiralling case numbers. 

A total ban on socialising will be one of the measures introduced for ‘red-zone’ places as part of a new simplified traffic light system for local lockdowns, Sky News reports. 

Citing a source who has seen the blueprints being drawn up for the new system, people living in ‘tier three’ places will be ordered not to have any social contact with anyone outside their household in any setting.

This is a step further than the current rules in cities like Newcastle and Liverpool where people are still allowed to meet others outdoors in limited circumstances.

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Red tier measures would also include the closure of all pubs and restaurants and restrictions on overnight stays, it has been widely reported. 

A traffic light system has been mooted for England for the last few weeks as a way of simplifying the ‘complicated’ series of measures currently in place across several different cities.

But ministers have not yet agreed what restrictions should be included in each of the red, amber and green categories. 

The chart gives an idea of what could be included in each category
Neighbours chat while social distancing during the lockdown in May (Picture: Getty Images)

A different source told Sky the tier two ‘amber’ restrictions would be similar to those currently in place in the north west and north east. 

This includes a ban on mixing with other households in private homes and hospitality venues. 

The lowest tier would mostly involve measures such as the rule of six that are already in place.

A source told Sky there is still ‘a lot of work to do’ to iron out the differences between cabinet ministers. 

Shoppers go out with face masks on in Sheffield (Picture: PA)
Two families chat at a home in Hampstead, north London Picture: PA)

The traffic light system was expected to be announced today but has now been pushed back to next week at the earliest. 

It’s believed cities like Manchester, Newcastle and Nottingham would be moved straight into the red tier because of their high infection rates. 

Enforced closures would be accompanied by fresh financial support from government, it’s been reported.

According to Government papers leaked to the Nottingham Post newspaper, the restrictions will be announced on Monday before they come into force on Wednesday.

Students get outdoors in Nottingham (Picture: SWNS)

But the leak suggested that, while levels one and two have been signed off, ministers are still debating the details of level three.

Regional leaders have continued to call for more of a say in deciding what restrictions are needed locally, after accusing the Government of imposing new rules with no consultation. 

Reacting to news that further restrictions are coming for his area, the Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham tweeted: ‘No discussion. No consultation. Millions of lives affected by Whitehall diktat. It is proving impossible to deal with this Government.’

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said it was ‘deeply disappointing’ he hadn’t been consulted on potential pub closures and called for financial support ‘on a similar scale’ to during the national lockdown imposed in March.

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