And just as we were getting into our Tier 2 rhythm, the outlook for London has changed again. From Wednesday December 16, Londoners will see some of their freedoms taken away yet again, and just two weeks after lockdown. From 00.01, the capital will enter Tier 3 – as a result of rising case numbers across the boroughs – with hospitality and leisure venues ordered to close in the run-up to Christmas.
The measures will last for at least the next two weeks, taking us through to Christmas and right up to New Year’s Eve. Here’s what it means for your movements around London in the coming days. May we suggest you update that Zoom quiz with a Christmas round?
You can socialise in groups of up to six, but only in public outdoor settings. This means the park might be the place for your Christmassy catch-ups.
You can’t have people round to your house. Not even to your garden, now. Unless they’re in your support bubble.
Hospitality venues must close. This is a new, revised rule for the second coming of Tier 3. It’ll deliver a crushing blow to the capital’s restaurants, pubs and bars in what is usually their busiest time of year. The one silver lining is that they can still operate for takeaways.
You can still grab a takeaway pint or takeaway mulled wine.
You can do all your Christmas shopping. London’s retail venues remain in business. Phew!
You can still go to the gym. But not for group exercise classes.
You can go to hair and beauty salons.
Cinemas will be ordered to close.
Theatres will also have to close their doors. That festive panto outing is looking unlikely this season.
Art galleries and museum exhibitions will also have to close to the public.
You can use public transport for journeys to work, school and other activities. But people are being asked to reduce the number of journeys ‘where possible’.
You can visit places of worship. But keep up the social distancing.
Weddings and funerals can go ahead. With capacities of 15 and 30 respectively.
You should avoid travelling outside of London. There’s more on the current travel guidelines right here.
People who can work from home should do so.
It’s worth bearing in mind that London can easily move down a tier according to infection rates. And that there’s a five-day window over Christmas when you can socialise indoors with up to two other household bubbles.
The tier system is expected to continue until around next spring, when a vaccine rollout should see more freedoms returned. But for now, life in London feels like a bit of a rollercoaster ride.
Find ways to support London’s restaurants and bars.
Check out these Christmas markets, still open and socially distanced.