Essex is about to move into the high level alert tier to control the spread of coronavirus.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced this morning (Thursday, October 15) that Essex would be put in Tier Two of the government’s new lockdown system.
Initially, Essex had been put into Tier One – that was until the county council asked the government for further measures.
It means that everyone living in Essex, apart from Thurrock and Southend, will have to follow stricter rules from Saturday (October 17).
With restrictions constantly changing, it can be hard to understand what you are and aren’t allowed to do.
Here is everything you can and can’t do from Saturday:
Can my family come to my house?
The short answer to this is no.
Households are not allowed to mix anywhere indoors as of Saturday.
This means that those who you don’t live cannot come to your house.
There are a few exceptions, however, such as support bubbles and to provide care to vulnerable people.
Anyone found breaking the rules could be issued with a fine.
Can I go out for a meal with my friends?
From Saturday, you can only go to restaurants, pubs and bars with the people you live with.
You cannot meet friends and family who you don’t live with in these places.
Indoor social mixing is not allowed, so it also applies to cinemas and leisure centres.
Hospitality venues also still have to close at 10pm.
Can I go for a walk with someone I don’t live with?
Yes, as long as social distancing rules are followed.
Social mixing outdoors will be allowed as long as you follow the other laws.
You can’t meet in groups any larger than six, because of the Rule of Six.
Two metres distance should also be kept between anyone who does not live together.
Can I go to the gym?
Under Tier Two restrictions, gyms are allowed to stay open.
Gyms and leisure centres don’t have to close under Tier One or Tier Two, however under Tier Three it is down to the local authorities to decide.
Once again, social distancing rules must be followed, and you must keep a two metre distance from others.
Masks may also have to be worn in some areas.
Can I go shopping?
Shops don’t have to close under any of the new tiers.
Both essential shops like supermarkets and food stores as well as non-essential stores like clothes shops will be staying open.
Masks are still a requirement and shops may limit the number of customers in store at any one time.
Can my children go to school?
The government has said that schools will not be closing under any of the tiers.
Boris Johnson has said that it is a priority to keep schools and universities open.
Cases at schools should be reported to individual parents, and some students may have to self isolate after confirmed cases.
Some schools may have to partially close due to outbreaks, but parents will be informed.
Can I go on holiday?
There are currently no laws on leaving Essex to go on holiday.
However, it is recommended that you travel as little as possible.
You should also avoid travelling to areas in Tier Three wherever possible.
Do I have to work from home?
There is currently no law on employees having to work from home.
However, the government recommend that anyone who can should work from home.
Can I visit loved ones in care homes?
Despite being disappointing for many people, visits to care homes are not allowed.
Exceptions may be made in certain circumstances.
Can I get married?
Weddings are legally allowed to happen, but there are restrictions.
No more than 15 guests, including the bride and groom are allowed to attend the ceremony and reception.
Similar rules apply for funerals, however up to 30 people can attend.
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