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COVID-19 | Alert Level System

15th October 2020

On 12th October the government set out a three-tiered system of local COVID-19 Alert Levels in order to standardise rules around social distancing. The new system, in force from 14th October will consist of medium, high and very high tiers depending on factors such as infection rates, growth rates and hospital admissions in local areas.

What are the tiers? | Rosenblatt’s Financial Crime Team

The three tiers will encompass national measures that came into force on 25th September with additional restrictions largely aimed at reducing indoor transmission within households for those areas in the high or very high categories.

Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

  1. All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-19 Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  2. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  3. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  4. Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  5. Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  6. Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the rule of six is followed.
  7. People must not meet in groups larger than 6; indoors or outdoors.

High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  1. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  2. People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  3. People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

In addition, those living in an area classed as ‘High’ are prohibited from travelling outside that area in order to gather as a group of more than two indoors or more than six outdoors, subject to certain specified exceptions such as going to work, school, wedding receptions and funerals.

Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The additional measures in place are as follows:

  1. Pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main, lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  2. Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  3. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The rule of six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  4. People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  5. People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

In addition, those living in an area classed as ‘Very High’ are prohibited from travelling outside that area, for example to ‘Medium’ or ‘High’ tier areas, in order to gather as a group of two or more either indoors or outdoors, or gather as a group of more than six in a public outdoor area, subject to certain specified exceptions such as going to work, school, wedding ceremonies and funerals.

The government will work with local leaders in these areas to determine whether further restrictions are required, such as the closure of gyms. The Liverpool City Region was the first area to be placed in the very high category.

Enforcement | Rosenblatt’s Financial Crime Team

Breaches of the restrictions amount to a criminal offence. The statutory instruments setting out the tiered system contain provisions for enforcing the restrictions through fixed penalty notices and proceedings for an offence may be brought by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Rosenblatt can help

Rosenblatt has a wealth of experience in criminal law and is uniquely placed to support client’s crime needs during these unprecedented times, consistently ensuring a familiarity with the ever-changing Government guidance on COVID-19.

Contact us

Should you wish to discuss the services we offer further please contact Frances Murray from the Financial Crime team at frances.murray@rosenblatt-law.co.uk or +44 (0)20 7955 0880.