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Coronavirus UK: Police warn Londoners against boozy ‘blow out’

Metropolitan Police has revealed the force is ramping up efforts to patrol pubs for ‘dangerous and reckless breaches’ and will stop any signs of a boozy ‘blow out’ tonight.

The warning comes on Londoners’ final night of freedom ahead of tighter restrictions preventing multiple households meeting for a drink in the pub when the capital is moved into Tier Two at midnight. At the same time, Blackpool will be plunged into Tier 3 restrictions – meaning all pubs will close.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard: ‘This is a critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus.’ More officers will take to the streets to put a stop to boozy gatherings that break the rule of six as well as to enforce the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. 

Twist added: ‘Frustratingly, we have seen a small number of dangerous and reckless breaches of the regulations and as the alert level in London increases, we are adopting our policing approach. 

‘Communities across London can therefore expect to see an increase in our efforts to deal with the most deliberate, harmful and flagrant breaches of regulations.’

Meanwhile, London’s transport network could grind to a halt this weekend after mayor Sadiq Khan demanded a cash injection to keep it running. Khan was accused of ‘playing games’ today after claiming ministers are demanding he extends the congestion zone to get a £1billion bailout.

He faced fury over suggestions the government made the move a condition of the latest extraordinary cash injection to keep Transport for London from grinding to a halt, amid fears that could happen as early as this weekend.

Further anger has stemmed from data revealing Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will face no lockdown rules when the capital moves into Tier Two tomorrow. 

Mayor Khan was accused of egging the Government on to toughen its stance in the capital. 

In other developments in the country’s coronavirus battle: 

  • Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country; 
  • SAGE member Professor Jeremy Farrar said the current base level of restrictions, which includes a 10pm curfew, were the ‘worst of all worlds’ as they inflicted economic damage while not going far enough to suppress the virus;
  • Another SAGE adviser has suggested that a series of ‘circuit breakers’ could be needed, planned around school holidays, to get the outbreak under control; 
  • Wales is preparing to defy the PM by bringing in its own ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown – as an ‘unenforceable’ travel ban on English people from coronavirus hotspots travelling to Wales comes takes effect tonight; 
  • London is in its last day before Tier Two restrictions come into force, meaning around nine million people will be banned from mixing with other households indoors;
  • Mr Raab said he took ‘very seriously’ allegations of a Russian disinformation campaign against the Oxford coronavirus vaccine, with pictures, memes and video clips depicting the British-made inoculation as dangerous.   

More officers will take to the streets to put a stop to boozy gatherings that break the rule of six as well as to enforce the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants. Pictured, most of the tables outside this pub in Soho were filled

A decision on moving Lancashire to a Tier 3 local lockdown was taken today. Pictured, revellers pose for the camera during their final night out in Blackpool before increased restrictions force pubs to close

A decision on moving Lancashire to a Tier 3 local lockdown was taken today. Pictured, revellers pose for the camera during their final night out in Blackpool before increased restrictions force pubs to close

A man was handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police van in Soho by police officers after the night descended into chaos when revellers were asked to go home

A man was handcuffed and bundled into the back of a police van in Soho by police officers after the night descended into chaos when revellers were asked to go home

People sit outside Comptons pub in Soho as they enjoy drinks with friends before the level of restrictions increase in the capital at midnight

People sit outside Comptons pub in Soho as they enjoy drinks with friends before the level of restrictions increase in the capital at midnight

As the sun set drinkers bought rounds of pints to ensure they had enough to drink before the clock struck 10pm and they were told to leave

As the sun set drinkers bought rounds of pints to ensure they had enough to drink before the clock struck 10pm and they were told to leave

A couple sat on seating by a pub in Soho as they enjoyed a night out together before restrictions set in at midnight tonight

A couple sat on seating by a pub in Soho as they enjoyed a night out together before restrictions set in at midnight tonight

At it reached 10pm protesters held up signs and gathered together to protest the curfew and increasing restrictions

At it reached 10pm protesters held up signs and gathered together to protest the curfew and increasing restrictions

One man laughed as he was dragged away by police officers after joining a protest in Soho, London, against lockdown measures this evening

One man laughed as he was dragged away by police officers after joining a protest in Soho, London, against lockdown measures this evening

Police officers marched through Soho as they tried to break up illegal gatherings of more than six people in central London

Police officers marched through Soho as they tried to break up illegal gatherings of more than six people in central London

Officers monitor drinkers ahead of the final night before London is plunged into a Tier Two lockdown. Revelers donned coats as they sat outside pubs in Soho

Officers monitor drinkers ahead of the final night before London is plunged into a Tier Two lockdown. Revelers donned coats as they sat outside pubs in Soho

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho despite chilly temperatures because of the latest coronavirus rules in the capital of the UK

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho despite chilly temperatures because of the latest coronavirus rules in the capital of the UK

Further anger has stemmed from data revealing Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will face no lockdown rules when the capital moves into Tier Two tomorrow. Pictured, a waiter brings customers' their drinks in Soho

Further anger has stemmed from data revealing Devon, Oxford and Coventry all have higher coronavirus infection rates than London but will face no lockdown rules when the capital moves into Tier Two tomorrow. Pictured, a waiter brings customers’ their drinks in Soho

Two women appeared to be enjoying themselves as they posed for photographs during a night out in Blackpool before the region goes into Tier 3

Both women donned luminous green dresses for their last night on the town before increased restrictions

Two women appear to be enjoying themselves as they pose for photographs during a night out in Blackpool before the region goes into Tier 3

Metropolitan police officers are already out monitoring the behaviour of revellers enjoying an evening out in Soho

Metropolitan police officers are already out monitoring the behaviour of revellers enjoying an evening out in Soho 

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho, in the West End of London on October 16, 2020, as new restrictions on social gatherings and movement are set to come into force

People enjoy their drinks outside at a bar in Soho, in the West End of London on October 16, 2020, as new restrictions on social gatherings and movement are set to come into force

Soho was packed with revellers making the most of the capital's final night in Tier 1 restrictions. Roads were covered in tables and chairs as customers were seated outside

Soho was packed with revellers making the most of the capital’s final night in Tier 1 restrictions. Roads were covered in tables and chairs as customers were seated outside

A police van parked on the side of the road in Soho. Police officers are out in force tonight to ensure social distancing is maintained and other coronavirus rules are adhered to

A police van parked on the side of the road in Soho. Police officers are out in force tonight to ensure social distancing is maintained and other coronavirus rules are adhered to

Revellers wore coats and jackets to keep warm as they enjoyed drinks outside Bar Soho in the centre of the capital tonight

Revellers wore coats and jackets to keep warm as they enjoyed drinks outside Bar Soho in the centre of the capital tonight

One pubs outdoor seating appeared to be completely full in Soho this evening as revellers headed into London for a few drinks with friends

One pubs outdoor seating appeared to be completely full in Soho this evening as revellers headed into London for a few drinks with friends

The tough social distancing rule mirrors what is in place in Covid hotspots in the North of England, where the country's second wave is running rampant. Pictured, people enjoying a drink in Soho

The tough social distancing rule mirrors what is in place in Covid hotspots in the North of England, where the country’s second wave is running rampant. Pictured, people enjoying a drink in Soho

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Khan yesterday confirmed a ban on people meeting in indoor spaces will begin at midnight tonight in the city. 

The tough social distancing rule mirrors what is in place in Covid hotspots in the North of England, where the country’s second wave is running rampant. 

But London’s infection rate is significantly lower than in those areas, and is below the average for the country as a whole, which is approximately 160 cases per 100,000. 

It is lower even than other areas that don’t have any extra rules at all, abiding only by social distancing and the rule of six, according to Department of Health statistics. 

While the 32 boroughs of London recorded an average of 99 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 people in the week up to October 10, the figure was 159 in Coventry and 154 in Oxford during the same period.

Not a single borough of London currently has an infection rate that high, with the 147 in Ealing the city’s highest. 

It stood at 146 per 100,000 in Bristol, in Bournemouth there were 139 cases per 100,000, in Bath 115 and in Devon – driven by an outbreak in the university city of Exeter, where the rate is nearly 400 – the average was 106. 

All those areas are in the South of England which is not facing any regional restrictions like the Midlands, North West and North East are, where some areas with lower infection rates are locked down to protect them from nearby outbreaks.

London's west end was teaming with life as people headed out to enjoy a final night of drinking before toughter restrictions come into force tomorrow

London’s west end was teaming with life as people headed out to enjoy a final night of drinking before toughter restrictions come into force tomorrow 

People queued for access to a bar in China Town this evening. Those seated outside were forced to wear coats in the harsh autumn weather

People queued for access to a bar in China Town this evening. Those seated outside were forced to wear coats in the harsh autumn weather

A group of six are served their drinks as they sit outside a bar in Soho, London, on the final night before restrictions are ramped up in the capital

A group of six are served their drinks as they sit outside a bar in Soho, London, on the final night before restrictions are ramped up in the capital

Tables and chairs are set up ahead of an expected busy night of drinking before Londoners are limited to socialising only in their households if sitting inside venues

Tables and chairs are set up ahead of an expected busy night of drinking before Londoners are limited to socialising only in their households if sitting inside venues

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met's lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard : 'This is a critical moment in London's fight against this deadly virus.' Pictured, police officers in Soho

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, the Met’s lead for the Covid-19 crisis, told the Evening Standard : ‘This is a critical moment in London’s fight against this deadly virus.’ Pictured, police officers in Soho

Revelers are brought to an outside table as a waiter asked them to give their details for Track and Trace. The decision to place London into a Tier Two lockdown today sparked fears around 200,000 people in the city's centre could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend

Revelers are brought to an outside table as a waiter asked them to give their details for Track and Trace. The decision to place London into a Tier Two lockdown today sparked fears around 200,000 people in the city’s centre could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend

People gearing up for a busy night of drinking and eating in soho, London. The sale of outside heaters has skyrocketed as pub owners hope to turn their car parks into seating

People gearing up for a busy night of drinking and eating in soho, London. The sale of outside heaters has skyrocketed as pub owners hope to turn their car parks into seating 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Khan yesterday confirmed a ban on people meeting in indoor spaces will begin at midnight tonight in the city. Pictured, people enjoying an evening out in Soho

Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Khan yesterday confirmed a ban on people meeting in indoor spaces will begin at midnight tonight in the city. Pictured, people enjoying an evening out in Soho

A barmaid hands out wine glasses as a group sits down outside a pub in Soho to enjoy a few drinks before the lockdown rules are worsened in London

A barmaid hands out wine glasses as a group sits down outside a pub in Soho to enjoy a few drinks before the lockdown rules are worsened in London

The entire of London may be heading into lockdown earlier than other areas – most of which have had significantly higher infection rates before facing new rules – because outbreaks can spread faster between boroughs because the population moves around so much.

The decision to place London into a Tier Two lockdown today sparked fears around 200,000 people in the city’s centre could lose their jobs in hospitality this weekend. An industry spokesman warned the drastic restrictions would see a ‘maximum squeeze on revenue and no support’. 

It comes as Lancashire heads into Tier 3 – meaning pubs and bars will be required to close with restaurants only allowed to serve customers who also order ‘substanial’ meals. The county has its last night of freedom before the rules are put in place at midnight.

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Thousands of venues are expected to be closed from midnight tonight, with casinos, betting shops and car boot sales given another 48 hours’ grace. 

The Department of Health said there would be a £12million support package in Lancashire as well as more money for an economic recovery ‘task force’ over the next six months. Local sources claimed in total it could be worth £30million. 

Meanwhile, sources close to Mr Khan said he was bravely resisting spreading the congestion zone to the North and South circulars, which would force up to three million citizens to pay £15 to use their cars. 

But senior Tories raged that actually the mayor went to the Treasury with a ‘begging bowl’. 

They said he was told he needed to find some savings to help balance the books after years of mismanagement. They insisted it was up to him how the money was found. 

It comes as Lancashire heads into Tier 3 - meaning pubs and bars will be required to close with restaurants only allowed to serve customers who also order 'substanial' meals. The county has its last night of freedom before the rules are put in place at midnight. Pictured, people having a drink on the promenade in Blackpool this evening

It comes as Lancashire heads into Tier 3 – meaning pubs and bars will be required to close with restaurants only allowed to serve customers who also order ‘substanial’ meals. The county has its last night of freedom before the rules are put in place at midnight. Pictured, people having a drink on the promenade in Blackpool this evening

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Pictured, a barman serves drinks at a weatherspoons pub on the Blackpool promenade

Lancashire joins Liverpool as the only areas in the top bracket, which means a ban on household mixing indoors and in gardens. Pictured, a barman serves drinks at a weatherspoons pub on the Blackpool promenade

A man wears a face mask against Covid-19 on the promenade in Blackpool, England. The Lancashire region will go into Tier 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from midnight

A man wears a face mask against Covid-19 on the promenade in Blackpool, England. The Lancashire region will go into Tier 3 of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions from midnight

A senior Conservative source said: ‘The fact of the matter is that he has been presented with a list of options. He is welcome to come up with his own.

‘But he needs to say how he is going to make savings. Instead he is playing games in the media.’

They added: ‘We have said how are you going to do it, these are some of the things you can do. He needs to find some ways of saving some money.’

The government has extended its emergency funding of TfL by two weeks to give more time to resolve the bitter wrangling over the huge sums needed to keep the transport system afloat.  

The squabbling has been going on for months, with London Tory MPs increasingly frustrated about Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ refusal to take on the mayor’s dire threats in public. 

In May Mr Khan accepted a £1.6billion funding agreement with Government, which came with the condition of a hike in the congestion charge to £15. But he branded the injection a ‘sticking plaster’ and is calling for a £5.7billion long-term solution for the next 18 months. 

However, government sources say they are determined that Mr Khan will not get a free pass after ‘bankrupting’ TfL with mismanagement during his tenure. 

Tube and bus drivers have been warned that crucial transport services may stop running if the impasse is not broken over the coming days.  

TfL staff have been given a Section 114 warning, meaning that London’s transport system could cease to function as early as this weekend, according to LBC.

A City Hall source told MailOnline TfL cannot simply ‘turn London’s transport system off overnight’.

But former head of buses and surface transport at TfL Leon Daniels disagreed and warned services could be stopped in a worst-case scenario.

He told LBC: ‘As it would be with any business if you can’t pay your obligations, can’t pay for staff or contracts, can’t pay your energy bill then you have to bring it to a halt, and that’s the situation we’re in now.’ 

Both Government and the Mayor say they are working urgently to thrash out a solution, but are at loggerheads over the conditions.

A sign warns pedestrians to 'maintain social distance' because of the coronavirus pandemic in Blackpool. It comes as the region is put into Tier 3 restrictions from midnight

A sign warns pedestrians to ‘maintain social distance’ because of the coronavirus pandemic in Blackpool. It comes as the region is put into Tier 3 restrictions from midnight

A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a display rack featuring Christmas jumpers in Blackpool ahead of its move to Tier 3 restrictions

A woman wears a face mask as she walks past a display rack featuring Christmas jumpers in Blackpool ahead of its move to Tier 3 restrictions

Pedestrians wear face masks and shields as they walk along the Blackpool promenade. Very few people appeared to visit the coastline amid rising coronavirus cases

Pedestrians wear face masks and shields as they walk along the Blackpool promenade. Very few people appeared to visit the coastline amid rising coronavirus cases

A single Budweiser bottle was left on an outside bench on the Central Pier in Blackpool earlier today. From tomorrow all pubs and bars will be forced to close

A single Budweiser bottle was left on an outside bench on the Central Pier in Blackpool earlier today. From tomorrow all pubs and bars will be forced to close

During the peak of the crisis TfL's revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell. It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

During the peak of the crisis TfL’s revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell. It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

A source close to Mr Khan told MailOnline: ‘Conditions such as extending a £15 congestion charge to the North and South Circular and taking free travel away from children and older people would be totally unacceptable to the Mayor and he would not ask Londoners to accept them in these exceptionally difficult times.’

Extending the congestion zone to the North and South Circular would hit the pockets of millions of Londoners, and has also come under fire from Conservatives. 

Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey said the only reason such revenue raising measures were being floated was because of financial mismanagement by City Hall.

Mr Bailey said: ‘Khan has near bankrupted TfL and hung a closed sign over London.’ 

What are ministers’ conditions for a £1bn TfL bailout? 

A source close to Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has suggested the Government has set strict conditions in the event of any TfL bailout:

1. Expanding the congestion zone to the North and South circular. 

The current congestion zone is marked by the inner London ring road and covers central London, including the City and West End.

If expanded to the North and South Circular, it will affect millions more people. The North Circular between Chiswick and Woolwich, stretching as North as Barnet. The South Circular stretches almost as far South as Streatham. 

2. Taking away free travel for children and older people.

Currently children get free travel on London buses, while there is also a Freedom Pass for older people to get around the capital. 

 

He added: ‘Under no circumstances would I back an extension of the congestion charge zone, regardless of who proposes it… 

‘Any extension would hit hard working Londoners in the pocket and be a death knell for small businesses.’ 

Tory MP Bob Blackman told MailOnline: ‘He’s going with a begging bowl to the Treasury. He’s wanting £5.6billion to keep TfL running over the next months.

‘At which point, what? Is there a magic money tree? It is just ridiculous what he is asking for.’

TfL’s finances have long been of concern, with the DfT reportedly drafting in KPMG to audit their accounts. 

Mr Khan maintains that TfL’s financial woes are down to plummeting passenger numbers during the pandemic.

During the peak of the crisis TfL’s revenues dropped 95 per cent as people were instructed to work from home and footfall on carriages fell.

It has risen slightly since lockdown was initially eased after the first wave, but today Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future.

He told LBC: ‘I said back in May the deal we had for six months will be a sticking plaster, we need a sustainable deal.

‘For the foreseeable future there will not be five million journeys on our Tube, five-and-a-half million on our buses.’ 

The Mayor added that the Government should not punish Londoners for ‘doing the right thing’ and avoiding public transport – especially when such conditions have not been imposed on private rail providers.

He said: ‘The facts are that the Government gave the privatised rail operators 18 months funding with no strings attached, but is saying to TfL we’ll give you a six-month deal with strings attached.’ 

Mr Khan’s spokesman urged ministers to recognise that ‘singling out Londoners for punishment is unacceptable and makes no economic sense’.

He added: ‘We continue to discuss the next emergency funding package with Government and fight for a fair deal for London.’ 

His opposition was echoed by head of roads policy for the RAC Nicolas Lyes, who said: ‘Expanding the Congestion Charge zone to the north and south circular areas would encompass a huge geographical area and would hit drivers and businesses hard in the pocket at the very worst time, with the pandemic severely impacting travel habits and finances. 

‘Drivers in London have already faced hikes in the existing Congestion Charge zone this year, as well as an increase in its hours of operation, so the introduction of further charges is totally unreasonable.’ 

Edmund King, AA president, said the furore over the congestion charge ‘blows away once and for all any pretence that the charge is related to environmental improvement or reducing congestion’. ‘It is simply a tax,’ he added.

‘It is highly ironic that this comes as many people are avoiding public transport due to Covid and some London boroughs have increased congestion with badly thought out road restrictions which are now causing a residents’ revolt.

‘Pushing through this excessive and socially regressive congestion tax which hits the poorest hardest will be a poll tax on wheels.’

Commuters wear face-masks during morning rush hour on the Victoria Line of the London Underground in central London today

Commuters wear face-masks during morning rush hour on the Victoria Line of the London Underground in central London today

Tube and bus passengers are rising, but Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

Tube and bus passengers are rising, but Mr Khan said passenger numbers will not return to pre-pandemic levels in the immediate future

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

Coronavirus positive tests in London have increased dramatically since the beginning of September but changes in recent weeks suggest the rate of rise is slowing down, with a 37 per cent increase in the seven days to October 7, compared to the almost double 84 per cent in the third week of September

A TfL spokesman said: ‘We continue to discuss our immediate funding requirements with the Government and hope these discussions can be concluded successfully soon, so we can help London through this next phase of the pandemic.

‘We are doing what we can to minimise costs and aim to continue operating a full service across our network while our funding discussions continue.’

The Department for Transport refused to disclose the details of its funding offer but stressed that negotiations with the Mayor are underway. 

A DfT spokesperson said: ‘The Government continues to engage with Transport for London and the Mayor on the impacts of Covid-19 on TfL’s finances. 

‘These discussions are ongoing and will ensure London has a safe, reliable network while delivering a fair deal to UK taxpayers.

‘Discussions are underway, and it would be inappropriate to disclose further details at this stage.’ 

It comes as Department of Health statistics, released yesterday afternoon, show huge variations in infection rates within the capital, but all will face the same ‘high’ lockdown rules from midnight tonight.

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged

Liverpool City Region is still the only part of the country in the toughest Tier Three restrictions, after cases surged 

In Ealing and Richmond upon Thames, for example, there were more than 140 cases per 100,000 people in the most recent week where data is available for – this is the standard way of measuring a place’s infection rate – while in Bexley the rate is just 69 per 100,000.

A third of English councils saw a FALL in coronavirus cases last week 

Almost a third of England’s councils saw a drop in coronavirus infections last week amid calls for a second circuit-breaker lockdown and tightening restrictions across the country.

As many as 41 out of 149 councils recorded a fall in their Covid-19 infection rates in the week ending October 11, according to Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report. For comparison, only two saw a dip last week.

And only eight registered a surge in cases of more than 50 per cent – more than 13 times less than the week before when 109 local authorities saw major spikes, suggesting the second wave may be slowing down.

The biggest dip was recorded in the city of Manchester – which the Government is threatening with a tier three lockdown – with a 22 per cent fall in infections from 557.8 to 433.8 cases per 100,000 people.

Southend-on-sea saw the second largest fall, with a 20.5 per cent dip from 42.6 to 33.9 cases per 100,000 people. Slough, outside London, came third with a 19 per cent drop in infections from 86.9 to 70.2 per 100,000.

But many areas still recorded rises in infections – although none saw rates double compared to the 52 areas that recorded this surge last week.

Matt Hancock’s department yesterday claimed cases in the city are ‘rising sharply’ but local politicians have hit out at the decision to tar the whole city with the same brush.

Bob Blackman, the Tory MP for Harrow in west London – where cases are at around 121 per 100,000 people and where 304 people were diagnosed in the week to October 10 – said yesterday: ‘[Sadiq Khan] is going to be standing for re-election saying I am the mayor who closed London and threw the jobs under the train.

‘I don’t see that as a great approach. He’s going to the Treasury with a begging bowl… It is ridiculous what he is asking for.

‘Andy Burnham [Mayor of Manchester] is trying to protect and preserve Manchester, and understandably so. Sadiq Khan seems to want to take London into Tier Three. I don’t know what the mad rush is to do it.’  

Bromley and Chislehurst MP Sir Bob Neill said the ‘one-size-fits-all approach’ for the capital was a mistake.

The senior Conservative told Sky News: ‘I think it’s a mistake. I think it’s disproportionate for the whole of London.

‘I can see some parts of London the test is met, but… there is a cluster of south-east and southern London boroughs where the rates are very much lower.’

Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond said he was surprised that the Tier 2 measures were being imposed across the capital.

‘Yes, London infections are rising but they are rising at different rates in different parts of London, different levels of hospitalisation,’ the senior Tory told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.

‘You are taking a very, very broad sweep and it’s not clear that the Government has actually made the case that there should be a complete London-wide lockdown.’

One expert told MailOnline that the reason the whole city was lumped together may be because people are so interconnected it is impossible to separate the boroughs.  

‘We face such huge challenges for fairness and equity when considering lockdown,’ Dr Ilan Kelman, an expert in health disasters at University College London said.

‘London is especially hard due to its size and large rate of mobility via public transport. We also now have university students moving between their dorms and universities, even though university-related infections have been occurring around the country. 

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Hospital admissions in London increased 51 per cent in the fortnight between September 25 and October 9 – from an average 33 per day to 50 – which was half the rate of increase of the national measure for England

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

Deaths in London remain low at an average of four per day, compared to 60 daily across England as a whole. The measures, however, is always the last to rise and lags around a month behind infections

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

There are currently 77 patients on ventilators in intensive care in London, up from a low of 10 on August 7. For comparison, there are 135 ventilated patients in the North West, 116 in the North East and 468 across England as a whole

‘We are in a no-win situation with too many losing so much. What we can do is to be fair to each other and act to help as many as possible, no matter what the tiers or the local variations.’

Sadiq Khan had suggested earlier in the week that a case rate of 100 positive tests per 100,000 people per week would be a ‘trigger’ point for sending an area into a Tier Two lockdown.

But numerous areas of the country have a rate higher than this and remain in Tier One, while London has been thrust into Tier Two as a precautionary measure despite the rate not yet hitting that level.  

London Tube, train and bus staff are told to prepare for total shutdown of network THIS WEEKEND 

Londoners are braced for the capital’s transport system to grind to a halt this weekend as cash-strapped TfL burns through the last of its funding.

Eleventh-hour talks for a £1billion bailout between ministers and Sadiq Khan have stalled because of sticking points involving the Government’s conditions for a deal.

The Mayor is understood to be refusing to sign up to an expansion of the congestion zone to the North and South Circular in particular.

But rivals say he has been backed into a corner after ‘bankrupting’ TfL with mismanagement during his tenure in City Hall.

In May, Mr Khan was forced to hike the congestion charge to £15 as part of a £1.6billion funding agreement with Government.

As that money prepares to dry up tomorrow, Tube and bus drivers have been warned that crucial transport services may stop running if negotiations remain deadlocked.

It appears to be the first place in the country where a lockdown has been brought in before a local crisis rather than as a reaction to one, and is the first time an entire region has been swept up in one move.

Places with rates higher than 100 but no local lockdowns, according to the most recent Department of Health data, include: Exeter (397); Coventry (159) and surrounding parts of Warwickshire including Rugby, Warwick and Stratford-on-Avon; Oxford (154); North Lincolnshire (150); Bristol (146); Bath (115); Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (139); Windsor and Maidenhead (114) and East Hertfordshire (102).

Many of the areas are in the South West which has been the least affected part of the country so far during the epidemic, likely because it has so few cities and the population is spread more thinly over rural areas.

Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash are also being placed into the same Tier Two category from Saturday. All have higher infection rates than London, with rates above 100.

Under the new rules, household mixing will be strictly limited but offices and public transport can remain open, although the government’s general advice to work from home where possible stands. 

Former Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith yesterday demanded to know whether London was being sacrificed to demonstrate the South was not being treated more leniently amid complaints from those in the North. 

Manchester’s Mayor Andy Burnham yesterday bemoaned that his city and the surrounding region were being treated like ‘canaries in the coalmine’ for the tougher local lockdown rules.

‘London is huge,’ Iain Duncan Smith said. ‘Whether people like it or not it is very diverse and each of the boroughs, many of them are bigger than most of the towns in the rest of the UK,’ he said in the Commons.

‘Surely we need to look again at the nature of this London-wide Tier Two position because there could even be regional areas that could be taken out, there are big disparities.

‘Please think again, otherwise, as one constituent has literally rang me today has said – is this in fact a London-wide Tier Two to stop the North/South divide argument running?’

Health Secretary Matt Hancock replied: ‘No, just on the last point, absolutely not. The decision has been taken on the basis of the data across London.

‘And we did consider the borough-by-borough approach that he understandably advocates, but the decision that we came to is because the cases are rising throughout the capital therefore it was right for the capital to move as a whole – and that was supported by the cross-party team who are working on this at a London level.’ 

London’s Tory Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey said: ‘Sadiq Khan’s constant calls for lockdowns are hugely irresponsible. It’s as if he wants people to focus on anything except his poor record as Mayor.

‘I back the government’s decision to put London into Tier 2. It’s a sensible move that may help us avoid a lockdown while keeping Londoners safe.

‘In the meantime, Sadiq Khan needs to stop governing by press release and start doing his job. That means reversing his congestion charge hike, sorting out his LTN schemes, and getting people safely back into central London.’

WHAT ARE THE THREE TIERS? 

TIER 1/MEDIUM

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors 
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am 
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is a take-out service 
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees 
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors with the rule of 6

TIER 2/HIGH

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport 
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible 

TIER 3/VERY HIGH:  

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park 
  • pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals 
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted  
  • weddings (but not receptions) and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees 
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area

Can I still meet friends in a pub garden? Should I cancel half-term trip to Cornwall? Your questions answered as Londoners are plunged into Tier 2 lockdown with parts of Essex, Surrey, Yorkshire, Cumbria and Derbyshire

By Mark Duell for MailOnline

Nine million people in London are set to face tougher coronavirus restrictions banning households mixing indoors – including in pubs – from 0.01am on Saturday.

And London is not the only area which will be hit with the Government’s second-harshest lockdown level at midnight tomorrow. 

Residents in Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow-in-Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash will also have the new restrictions imposed on them. 

Tier 2 rules includes a ban on meeting socially with friends and family indoors and weddings will be limited to 15 and funerals to 30. 

Gyms, shops, schools, universities and churches will stay open.

You can find out the current alert level in your area with the Government’s postcode checker by clicking here, but note it may change this weekend.

Here, MailOnline looks at what it will mean for all regions under Tier 2 lockdown from Saturday:

Can I still go to my friends’ house on Thursday or Friday night?

Yes. Friday will be the last day when you can visit a friend’s house for now, but you must ensure no more than six people gather – and you leave before midnight.

Can I have my friends over from Saturday?

No. People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

Can I see my friends inside a pub or a restaurant?

No. You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. 

This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants. 

Can I meet my friends in a pub garden?

Yes. You can gather in groups of six outside at venues which are following Covid-secure guidance, including pubs, restaurants, shops, leisure and entertainment venues and places of worship.

At least one person in the group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS Covid-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday - and not indoors

Drinkers outside a pub in Westminster last month. You will only be allowed to have a drink with friends from a different household at the pub outdoors from Saturday – and not indoors

Can I see friends outside?

Yes. You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. 

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. 

Do children count in the ‘rule of six’ outdoors?

Yes. This limit of six for meeting people outdoors includes children of any age.

Can I still meet inside with people from my support bubble?

Yes. You will still count as one household who can meet together indoors or outdoors.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. 

Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together. 

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles (see below).

Is the support bubble affected by London changing tier?

No. Your support bubble is still valid despite London going into a higher tier, so you can continue to function as one household. 

Can my friends visit if they are from outside London?

No. If you live in a ‘tier two’ area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area, unless exceptions apply (see final question below). 

Can I go to stay at a hotel or Airbnb home within London? 

Yes. You can still travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

You can only stay in a private home – which includes self-catered accommodation such as holiday cottages, apartments or boats – with members of your own household or support bubble.

You can stay in a hotel or similar accommodation (for example, a hostel or bed and breakfast) with another household.

However you should avoid sharing rooms with people you do not live with or otherwise socialising indoors, for example in each other’s rooms, in reception areas, or in restaurants and bars.

Can I still go on holiday outside London?

Yes, with exceptions. You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Can I still go on holiday to Wales? 

Probably not. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford is proposing a travel ban on visits to Wales by people living in areas of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland with high levels of Covid-19 from Friday. 

He said police in Wales could use number plate technology to catch people from UK coronavirus hotspots who illegally enter the country. 

Can I still go on holiday to a tier three area like Liverpool?

No. You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels.

Can I still move home or look at a house in London?

Yes. You can still move home. Estate and letting agents and removals firms can also continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings. 

Do I have to end my current holiday outside London if it’s with another household?

No. At the time that the new local restrictions are brought in, if you are currently on holiday with another household outside London, but are from London, and are staying in a private home and it is not reasonable for you to curtail your stay, you should finish your holiday as planned. 

The Government advises that until the end of this holiday you should ‘make every effort to reduce socialising indoors outside of your household and follow local regulations and guidance’.

Can I still use public transport?

Yes, but with restrictions. The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’. 

If you need to travel, the Government encourages people to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel. 

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

People wearing face masks pass by market stalls at Covent Garden in Central London today

Do the tier two rules follow me if I travel outside my area? 

Yes. The rules are based on the highest tier level out of a) where you live and b) where you are visiting. 

Therefore, if you live in London, you must abide by London’s rules wherever you go.

But if you are from a tier one area and are visiting London, you must abide by the rules for London.

Can I visit my parents in an area outside of London?

Yes. However you must follow the rules applying to where you live, so you would have to meet them outside and ensure there is not a group of more than six people.

Can I still commute into London if I live in a tier one region outside the capital? 

Yes. The Government says people can continue to travel into a high alert area for work, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Are the exceptions to the rule of six for children? 

Yes. There are exceptions from legal gatherings limits for registered childcare, education or training, and supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups. 

This means you can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders, after-school clubs and nannies. 

Who can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens?

Registered childcare providers including nannies, people in your support bubble or people in your childcare bubble.

What is the definition of a childcare bubble? 

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household. 

For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same two households.

Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare. 

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. 

Can I meet with a household from another flat inside the property where I live? 

No. The Government’s definition of a household is one person living alone, or a group of people (not necessarily related) living at the same address who share cooking facilities and share a living room, sitting room or dining area. 

A household can consist of a single family, more than one family or no families in the case of a group of unrelated people. 

Therefore people who live in different self-contained flats cannot meet with each other.

Can I visit my grandparent in a care home?

No, with exceptions. You should not visit a care home except in exceptional circumstances, for example to visit an individual who is at the end of their life. 

Will shops still be open?

Yes. Non-essential retail as well as essential stores will remain open for customers.

Will I be fined if I am caught having a meeting in a group that is illegal? 

Yes. Meeting in larger groups is against the law, although there are certain exceptions (see final question). 

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups, which includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fixed penalty notice fines.

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. 

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 - the that weddings were once again permitted

The newly married Lucy and James Bone after their wedding at St Michael and all Angels Church in Ingram, Northumberland, on July 4 – the that weddings were once again permitted

Can I attend a wedding? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 15 people can attend weddings or equivalent ceremonies and receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and ‘taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus’. 

But receptions should be sit down meals to ensure people can keep their distance from each other, and must not take place in private homes. 

Can I attend a funeral? 

Yes, with restrictions. Up to a maximum of 30 people can attend a funeral. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present, but these cannot take place in private dwellings. 

Where food or drink is consumed, this should be in the form of a sit down meal. 

Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, reception, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit. 

People living outside of London in a tier one area can travel to the capital to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household indoors. 

Can I still go to church?

Yes. You can still attend places of worship for a service in London. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.   

Can I attend an indoor exercise class? 

Yes, with restrictions. Indoor exercise classes and other activity groups can only continue provided that households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead. 

There are exceptions to enable disability and youth sport and physical activity indoors, in any number.

Can I still take place in sports activities outdoors?

Yes. In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

Can I still have a street party?

Yes, but as long as it is outside and no more six people gather, following Covid restrictions. 

Can a tradesperson come into my house? 

Yes. A tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the rules if they are there for work.  

What if I am clinically vulnerable?

The Government advises that those aged 70 or over, pregnant women or those with an underlying health condition can go outside as much as they like but ‘should still try to keep your overall social interactions low’.

Should I share a car with someone from outside my household?

No, in most cases. The Government says it is difficult to socially distance during car journeys and transmission of coronavirus can occur in this context. 

So you should avoid travelling with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing. 

Does the 10pm curfew still apply to pubs and restaurants?

Yes. Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are still required to close between 10pm and 5am. 

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-through. Orders must be made via phone, online or by post. 

A group of women carry their drinks in London's Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

A group of women carry their drinks in London’s Soho after the 10pm curfew began last month

Are hospitality venues at motorway services still exempt from the curfew? 

Yes. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.  

Can I still go to work in the office?

Yes, with exceptions. The Government advises that ‘office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter’. 

It adds: ‘Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so.’

Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

The Government also says that ‘anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work’. 

Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is Covid-secure, but should still work from home wherever possible.

Can I still go to school or college?

Yes. The Government says it has ‘prioritised ensuring all children can attend school safely, to support their wellbeing and education and help working parents and guardians’.

Can I still go to university? 

Yes. Universities have welcomed students back and students are allowed to move home and travel to go there.

However those in tier two areas must not move backward and forward between their permanent home and term time address during term time – subject to limited exemptions.

Students living at their university term time address in a high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area. 

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Pupils wear protective face masks on the first day back to school at Outwood Academy Adwick in Doncaster on September 2 as schools in England reopened to pupils following the lockdown

Can I commute into London or another high alert level area to go to university?

Yes. Commuter students – defined as those who live at a family home and travel to/from university each day – should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, for education purposes.

However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home inside the area, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

You can also not host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in the affected area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble

You must also not meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of the area, unless they’re in your childcare or support bubble.

If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high alert level area, unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble.

Will Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph go ahead?

Yes, with restrictions. Remembrance Sunday at the Cenotaph on November 8 will take place but will be closed to the public.

Crowds will not be allowed to go to the service and will be asked to mark the day at home. The usual Royal British Legion march past has also been cancelled.

It is expected that members of the Royal Family and dignitaries will still attend to lay wreaths to remember the fallen. 

What are the exceptions on people from different households gathering?  

  • in a legally permitted support bubble or childcare bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
  • protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance

How long will the rules be in place?

The Government must review which areas are subjected to the rules at least once every 14 days, with the first due to be carried out by October 28.

The restrictions themselves must be reviewed every 28 days, with the first due to be carried out by November 11. The rules themselves expire in six months. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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