What the coronavirus lockdown tiers mean for businesses

Claire Ralph
Policy Manager | Business West
26th November 2020

Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire have all been placed into the 'Very High' Tier 3 alert level. This means:

  • Hospitality venues - such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close, except for delivery and takeaway services
  • Spectator sports cannot resume
  • Indoor entertain venues - such as bowling alleys and cinemas - must close
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas – but permitted for work if can’t be done from home
  • Household mixing (the rule of 6) is only possible in outdoor amenity areas like parks and beaches, and not in pub beer gardens/private gardens
  • No household mixing indoors is allowed

All other areas of our region are to be in the 'High' Tier 2. This includes Swindon, Wiltshire, the county of Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset. The following restrictions apply:

  • Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal. They must close by 11pm
  • Sports can resume with up to 2,000 spectators, or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller)
  • Indoor entertain venues - such as bowling alleys and cinemas – can reopen (subject to being COVID-secure)
  • In tier two you can't socialise with other households indoors
  • The rule of 6 means household mixing is permitted outdoors including private gardens and beer gardens
  • There will be boundary issues for the parts of our region where Tier 3 and Tier 2 are next to each other: notably South Glos (T3) to Gloucestershire (T2). BANES (T2) to rest of West of England (T3).
  • The status of local authority tiers will be reviewed on 16th December
  • Government has committed to improving communications to ensure public awareness of Tier rules.

Commenting on today’s announcement Business West Managing Director Phil Smith said:

“Business West is disappointed with today’s news that most of the West of England region around and including Bristol has been placed into the highest level of restrictions, Tier 3 which will effectively continue the national lockdown for this area, with only Bath & North East Somerset in Tier 2. It is better news for the rest of the region including the counties of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire and Swindon, who have been placed in Tier 2, however restrictions here will stop many businesses from being able to operate fully.

“Grant support via the business rates system continues to be available for premises required to remain closed in Tier 3 areas, but that is small comfort compared to the lost earnings for those businesses. The full detail for other support is not clear, but many supply chain businesses and those mandated to close look like not being eligible for any further grants that have not yet been announced.

“The restrictions will have a chilling impact on the region’s economy and its ability to recover into the new year – and is very disappointing news for the many businesses for who the run up to Christmas is a vital time for earnings. The outlook for our hospitality and leisure sectors in the Bristol area is a very significant worry for political and business leaders across the region. We urge everyone to redouble their efforts to comply with social distancing, to allow us to get the virus under control and start to ease restrictions before Christmas and into the new year.” 

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