SLOUGH Observer readers asked us questions they want answered about Tier 2 and what it means for them – here’s everything you need to know.
Yesterday (October 22), the government placed Slough in ‘high’ alert level as infections are rising at an ‘alarming rate’.
The new restrictions will come into force on Saturday morning at one minute past midnight, Slough Borough Council announced.
As a reminder, these are the Tier 2 rules:
- People mixing with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting is banned
- Family and friends can be met outside – but only in groups of six or less
- 10pm curfew for pubs, bars, and restaurants will continue. Venues will offer table service only
- Takeaway food can still be ordered after 10pm – but only if ordered online or by phone
- Face coverings must be worn on public transport and in taxis as well as shops, restaurants, and bars
- People should avoid travelling to areas under other Tiers
- Care homes will be closed to external visitors other than in exceptional cases
Here are the questions you asked us to answer:
My friends and/or family live in Tier 1, can I still visit them?
Areas placed in ‘medium’ alert level (Tier 1) have the least restrictive rules imposed and residents are required to follow national restrictions such as the rule of six and the 10pm curfew for restaurants, bars, and pubs.
You can still travel to places in Tier 1 – but you must still follow Tier 2 rules.
This means you can only socialise with friends and family in Tier 1 with a maximum of five other people (the rule of six) and outside in a public outdoor place.
You cannot stay overnight or mix indoors with them unless they are in your support bubble.
A spokesperson from Slough Borough Council put it: “You take your Tier 2 wherever you go.”
It’s also advised people in Tier 2 should reduce the number of journeys made.
The government has urged everyone who lives in Tier 1 or Tier 2 areas to avoid travelling to places under the ‘very high’ alert level (Tier 3), except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities.
Can my friends and/or family in Tier 1 visit me in Tier 2?
People in Tier 1 are able to travel to the ‘high’ alert level areas, such as Slough, but should follow the local guidelines once there, such as no mixing indoors.
Can I meet up with friends and family at a pub with those I don’t live with?
With the rule of six in place, you can only socialise with a maximum of five other people outside your home/support bubble – but only in outdoor public spaces such as a park.
You can still go to a pub, bar, or restaurant under Tier 2 rules – but only with the people that you live with or in your support bubble.
Different households can go to an outdoor pub or restaurant, as long as they are seated with a maximum of six people.
I live in Slough – but work in a Tier 1 area. Can I still go to work?
While working from home, if you can, is strongly encouraged by the government, you are able to travel to other areas for work purposes.
There are currently no limits to groups sizes when meeting for work purposes so long as the workplace adheres to the Covid secure guidance.
Are schools closed in Tier 2?
Slough Borough Council said schools are not affected by the new restrictions.
Who enforces these rules?
A spokesperson from Slough Borough Council said only Thames Valley Police can enforce these rules and fines.
People in England who refuse to self-isolate will be fined £1,000 for the first offence and could rise to £10,000 for repeat offenders including those who stop others from self-isolating.
Those aged 18 or over caught not wearing a face mask or not following the rule of six will be fined £100 – lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days – doubling on each repeat offence to a maximum of £3,200.
The council only has the power to take action on businesses who are not adhering to the Covid secure guidelines.
The spokesperson said the council has been granted funds from the government to deploy ‘Covid officers’ who will monitor hotspot areas and encouraging any groups of more than six people to disperse.
A start date for the ‘Covid officers’ is yet to be announced.
Can a plumber, electrician, cleaner, or builder still come to my house?
People working in homes are exempt from the mixing of households indoors rule in both Tier 1 and Tier 2.
Can I still go to/run a fitness class?
Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors.
They will only be permitted indoors if its possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a social bubble with.
Currently, gyms can remain open in Tier 2 lockdowns.
Can I still go on a staycation?
You can still travel to hotels and other guest accommodation – but only with the people that you live with or with your support bubble.
You cannot travel with people who you don’t live with or within your social bubble and more than five other people.
The government has strongly urged people in Tier 1 and Tier 2 to avoid travelling to places subject to Tier 3, ‘very high’ alert level, except for work, education, and caring responsibility reasons.
Why has Slough made the decision to go into Tier 2?
This was ultimately a government decision to place the borough in the ‘high’ alert level after the infection rate was rising at an ‘alarming rate’.
When the news broke on October 22 that Slough will enter Tier 2 on Saturday, the infection rate stood at 141 cases per 100,000 population.
Slough’s MP Tan Dhesi said all four key leaders, including himself and the council leader, wanted the borough to voluntarily go into Tier 2 due the rise in confirmed cases.
Government finally agreed after meetings were held to put the borough in the ‘high’ alert level where the Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed in Parliament Slough and other areas in Tier 2.
Councillor James Swindlehurst, leader, said Slough has not had a major outbreak so far in particular areas such as shops – but are arising from ‘community transmission’, which means the virus is being passed person to person in the community and can’t usually be tracked back to any one place or time.