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What the three-tier system means for your business

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a raft of new measures on Monday (12 October) in a bid to curb the second wave of coronavirus.

Liverpool is one of the cities hardest hit by the new lockdown measures. (Photo: iStock)

The measures are based on a sliding scale of severity. A three-tier system of local lockdown measures for England will be rolled out. The levels are “medium”, “high” and “very high”, and will be implemented depending on local infection rates.

The rules for each level are as follows:

Tier 1 (Medium)

10pm curfew for bars, pubs and restaurants

Gatherings of more than six people banned, apart from some settings such as funerals and weddings


Tier 2 (High)

Mixing of households indoors not allowed

Two households can meet in a private garden – rule of six and social distancing rules apply


Tier 3 (Very High)

Pubs and bars to close, but restaurants and pubs serving “substantial” food menus can stay open. Drinks can only be ordered with food.

No household mixing indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens

Local politicians will decide if gyms, betting shops, casinos, hairdressers and beauty salons should close

Non-essential shops, schools and universities to remain open

Avoid non-essential travel

Travel outside area advised against


At the moment, the majority of regions in the UK fall under the “medium” level bracket, however, London mayor Sadiq Khan said it could move up to a higher alert later this week.

“As of today, London is at ‘medium’ in the government’s new alert levels,” said a spokesperson for the mayor’s office.

“However, Londoners should understand that this could change very quickly – potentially even this week.”

Areas of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Warrington, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the North East, West Midlands, Leicester and Nottingham have all been placed in Tier 2, while Liverpool has been moved to Tier 3.

Bars and pubs in Liverpool have been instructed to close from Wednesday 14 October and will receive financial support.

But venues in high alert areas will lose footfall if households can’t mix indoors. On top of that, there is expected to be a downturn in trade thanks to the government “undermining consumer confidence”, according to Nik Antona, the chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale. A quarter of UK pubs, he added, could close for good by Christmas if measures aren’t relaxed.

“We desperately need a proper sector support package to help pubs and breweries at all alert levels with costs they are struggling to meet – or we risk losing our locals altogether.”

These latest measures are “a bitter blow to pubs and bars who have worked hard – and invested dwindling resources – to ensure their businesses are safe,” Miles Beale, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said.

Steven Finch, the founder of London wine bar chain Vagabond, told the drinks business he doesn’t expect sales to become manageable again until April next year.

“With each additional tier that comes into force, the industry will lose further customers at the margin, and that’s on top of all the other restrictions and excessive climate of fear,” he said.

“And for how long? It’s going to be ugly until April at the earliest.”

Although some bar owners are being offered financial aid, Beale has “serious concerns” that producers who supply the hospitality sector are being overlooked.

Ian Fozard, the chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers, said small breweries need a “comprehensive package of support” just as much as pubs.

“While pubs that are legally closed are being offered financial support this does not seem to apply to small breweries that will lose more than 80% of their sales.”

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