The borough joins the rest of the Greater Manchester area on New Years Eve when the area is pushed into the toughest Tier 4 rules. Since the end of July the area has faced some of the toughest restrictions following the national lockdown which has severely impacted mental health, families being together, businesses and the hospitality sector. Following the Tier 4 change there has been no announcement as yet what additional support will be given to businesses who have been forced to close. The introduction of Tier 4 restrictions will be a devastating blow to independent businesses in Tameside which, like many others including the Hospitality sector, have taken a huge hit. I’m hopeful government and the local authority will have some meaningful support to all those affected by the impact of these latest restrictions.
Businesses and venues which must close
To reduce social contact, the regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The businesses required to close include:
• non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods – these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services
• hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery
• accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes
• leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls
• entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks
• indoor attractions at venues such as botanical gardens, heritage homes and landmarks must also close, though outdoor grounds of these premises can stay open
• personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes
• community centres and halls must close except for a limited number of exempt activities, as set out below. Libraries can also remain open to provide access to IT and digital services – for example for people who do not have it at home – and for click-and-collect services
Businesses and venues which can remain open
Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including:
• essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
• market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open
• businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services
• petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses
• banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses
• funeral directors
• laundrettes and dry cleaners
• medical and dental services
• vets and pet shops
• animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)
• agricultural supplies shops
• mobility and disability support shops
• storage and distribution facilities
• car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
• outdoor playgrounds
• outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities
• golf courses
• archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)
• outdoor riding centres
• places of worship
• crematoriums and burial grounds
The majority of public services will continue and you will be able to leave home to visit them. These include:
• the NHS and medical services like GPs and dentists. We are supporting the NHS to carry out urgent and non-urgent services safely, and it is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help
• Jobcentre Plus sites
• courts and probation services
• civil registrations offices
• passport and visa services
• services provided to victims
• waste or recycling centres
If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules below.
This means that you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.
If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.
You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local. For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (for example, from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services
You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.
You can leave home for education related to the formal curriculum or training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity, and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training. Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.
Meeting others and care
You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.
Exercise and recreation
People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities. You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing. You should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.
Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits
You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.
Communal worship and life events
You can leave home to attend or visit:
• a place of worship for communal worship
• a funeral or event related to a death
• a burial ground or a remembrance garden
• a wedding ceremony
However, weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend.
Meeting others safely
In general, you must not meet socially or carry out any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.
You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (for example, wearing a face covering).
You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.
You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place:
• by yourself
• with the people you live with
• with your support bubble
• or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household
Children under 5, and up to 2 carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit.
Public outdoor places include:
• parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
• public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
• the grounds of a heritage site
• outdoor sports courts and facilities
You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.
You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law.
You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.
Where and when you can meet in larger groups
There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:
• for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople. Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor place
• in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
• for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
• education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
• for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
• to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
• for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
• to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
• for birth partners
• to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
• to see someone who is dying
• to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
• for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
• to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
• for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people
• for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people
• to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
• for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
• to facilitate a house move
Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home. This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.
Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit – meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. These cannot take place in private dwellings.
Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.
Travelling within a Tier 4 area
If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse as indicated in the above text.
If you break the rules
The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.