Large parts of England, including Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Kent, Newcastle, Hull and Wolverhampton have seemingly been placed in the top tier of new coronavirus restrictions, amid a bungled government announcement of the rules.
Before the formal statement announcing the tiers was published, the government launched a web page where people could check their tier status by postcode – which promptly crashed.
But some people were able to check the postcode finder before it crashed, and reported that Greater Manchester, Birmingham, Kent, Newcastle, Hull and Wolverhampton were in tier 3, with London and Liverpool in tier 2.
Prompting a likely battle with Conservative MPs over the rules, which come into force once the England-wide lockdown lapses on 2 December, large sections of the country will apparently see very limited households mixing, and pubs and restaurants limited to takeaways.
London and Liverpool are believed to be in tier 2, which has slightly looser restrictions. The tiers will be reviewed every fortnight, with the system scheduled to be in place until the spring.
Under the tiers, non-essential shops in all areas can reopen, as can gyms, hairdressers and other personal care businesses, with the formal instruction to stay at home coming to an end. The “rule of six” will again apply for outdoor gatherings.
In tier 1, the rule of six will be the same both indoors and outdoors, allowing people from across households to see each other indoors. In tiers 2 and 3, such meetings will only be allowed outdoors, and in the top tier, this can only happen in parks or public gardens. In the two higher levels, no household mixing will be permitted inside, beyond the expected relaxation of rules over Christmas.