COVID-19 tier rules: How will new COVID-19 tiers affect New Year’s Eve?

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COVID-19 has taken over life in the UK and world beyond this year, putting a stopper on most special occasions which require significant gatherings. New Year’s Eve 2020 could end up the most dangerous such occasion, as it traditionally includes giant crowds of drunk revellers who could spur new outbreaks. The Government’s new tier system, which comes into effect on December 2, comes with policies to prevent this.

How will COVID-19 affect New Year’s Day?

The Government has introduced some brief respite for the tiered system between December 23 and 27 for Christmas.

Their rules will allow up to three households to form one Christmas bubble, without any specific limits on numbers.

Although the tiers still apply during this time, the new bubbles come with the same permissions until they expire.

Afterwards, people will have to abide by the rules which come into force on December 2.

These restrictions will impose varying curbs on social contact, which people have to abide by depending on their region.

Sadly, regardless of the area, people will have to forgo the New Year’s Eve parties this year.

Tier one, the least restrictive of the three, already comes with gathering limits.

The “rule of six” applies to all groups, prohibiting more than six people socialising at any one time.

Hospitality venues must also close between 11pm and 5am, preventing anyone from seeing in the New Year at the pub.

People need to obey the rules of the other tiers they travel to, which could complicate matters for people expecting friends of families from other regions.

Tier two, the “high alert” level, clamps down on the gatherings rule.

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Under this tier, the Government has asked people not to socialise with anyone else outside their household.

These measures apply in any indoor setting, while the rule of six still applies outside.

Anyone in tier two also carries their rules with them, meaning they cannot take advantage of relatively lax tier-one restrictions.

The Government has also asked people not to stay overnight in tier three areas unless necessary.

The “very high alert” tier three prevents indoors, and in most cases outdoors, gatherings.

People cannot socialise in outdoor “venues” such as public gardens.

They can still meet limited remaining places they can meet, such as public parks, beaches, the countryside or other locations, but once again limited by the rule of six.

Ultimately, these gatherings rules will prevent people from getting together in a meaningful way on December 31.

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