New COVID alert levels: Greater Manchester moves to 'VERY HIGH'

The government introduced a new set of local COVID alert levels last week, bringing localised restrictions - but what does 'Very High' mean for Wigan & Leigh?
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In England, the government has introduced a new set of local COVID-19 alert levels.

These are used to set out information for local authorities, residents, and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area.

These local alert levels are also known as 'tiers' or as a 'local lockdown'.

The three levels are:

  • Medium
  • High
  • Very high

The whole of England is automatically set to the 'medium' COVID alert level, but some areas are on the 'high' or 'very high' alert levels. These impose further restrictions on top of the 'medium' alert level restrictions, which are:

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed

The restrictions for 'high' alert levels are:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

Greater Manchester: Very High

Greater Manchester is currently set at the ' very high' local COVID alert level (Tier 3), so residents of Greater Manchester (including Wigan Borough residents) must adhere to the local restrictions that this alert level imposes, on top of the 'medium' and 'high' restrictions listed above.

These restrictions are:

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • pubs and bars must close; they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal, and they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees; however, wedding receptions are not allowed
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors; these will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport
  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area you are in or entering a very high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere

However, this is only at a minimum. The government may advise additional interventions in consultation with local authorities. These could include:

  • restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (except takeaway and delivery)
  • closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
  • closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth and childcare activities and support groups)
  • closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
  • closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

You must wear a face covering in areas where this is mandated (unless you are exempt).

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

We're here to help

It's important that you stay updated on which COVID alert level Greater Manchester currently is. We will keep you updated, but it's important to also check the gov.uk website regularly.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us.

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