Non-essential retail and gyms to reopen next month under new tier rules

Boris Johnson has revealed details of the post-lockdown tier system and how it will affect businesses in England

Non-essential shops, personal care, gyms and the wider leisure sector in England will be allowed to reopen under the new tier system.

However, pubs and restaurants in tier three can operate on a takeaway-only basis while venues in tier two that serve alcohol can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals.

Boris Johnson has confirmed the new COVID-19 tier rules in his announcement today. These will come into effect when lockdown lifts on December 3 and most regions are expected to be put under level two and three restrictions (more details will be given on Thursday November 26).

There is a hint of good news for hospitality. The 10pm curfew is expected to change to 11pm. Last orders will be called at 10pm, giving customers an hour to leave the premises.

Shops can reopen in all tiers, along with gyms and places of worship. Recreational sports will also be making a comeback while spectator sports will be able to resume in tiers one and two with limits on attendance.

Cinemas can open in tiers one and two.

It’ll be a three-tier system as before. Restrictions of each tier are laid out in the table below:

How the new lockdown rules will affect your small business  
Tier 1Tier 2Tier 3
Non-essential retail to reopenNon-essential retail to reopenNon-essential retail to reopen
All businesses and venues not currently shut can stay openAll businesses and venues not currently shut expected to stay openAll businesses and venues to shut
Pubs and restaurants allowed to reopen, including those which don’t serve meals. Table service only.Pubs and restaurants are allowed to reopen but only if they serve substantial meals. Restricted to own household and table service only.Pubs and restaurants will be required to operate takeaway only.
Curfew to be extended, with last orders called at 10pm. Previously all customers had to leave by 10pmCurfew to be extended, with last orders called at 10pm. Previously all customers had to leave by 10pmPreviously were allowed to open if they provided substantial meals
Rule of six will apply indoor and outdoorsHousehold bubbles only allowed indoors, but rule of six to continue outdoorsHousehold mixing banned indoors and outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens; rule of six to continue in some public outdoor spaces
Gyms to reopenGyms to reopenGyms to reopen
Leisure centres to reopenLeisure centres to reopenLeisure centres to reopen
Personal care businesses (including hairdressing) to reopenPersonal care businesses (including hairdressing) to reopenPersonal care businesses to reopen (including hairdressing)
Cinemas to reopenCinemas to reopenCinemas will remain closed. Cinemas were previously allowed to open
Spectators allowed at sports events and live performances (limited numbers)Spectators allowed at sports events and live performances (limited numbers)Indoor entertainment venues closed

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, said the news was “far worse than anyone could have anticipated”.

She said: “This a cruel decision and it just feels as if the whole sector is being thrown to the wolves.

“If the tiers had stayed as they were until March, we were already expecting 94 per cent of businesses in Tier three and 74 per cent of businesses in Tier two to go to the wall. Now we have restrictions that are even worse.

“We make 25 per cent of our profits in the run-up to Christmas and the government is taking that away.

“This will have a catastrophic effect on a large number of businesses and all those jobs that were furloughed will now be lost. You are talking about the prospect of a million job losses and 30 to 40,000 premises closing their doors for good.”

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