THE Cheshire West and Chester area has been placed in Tier 2 of the Government's revised coronavirus regulations.

The announcement was made on Thursday, November 26, by Health Secretary Matt Hancock in the House of Commons.

The new restrictions will take effect once the current England lockdown ends on December 2.

Some of the new restrictions are tougher than the Cheshire west borough was in prior to lockdown, particularly in the hospitality sector, where in Tier 2 pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants.

Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals and venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and must close by 11pm.

The restrictions will be tough on a hospitality sector which would normally be enjoying its busiest time of the year with Christmas parties and get-togethers generating large sums of revenue.

However, sport events will be allowed to have a limited number of spectators once more.

This will be good news for Chester FC, which had already arranged a socially distanced seating plan for its season ticket-holders at the Deva Stadium prior to the beginning of the season, before the Government announced spectators would not be allowed to attend 'elite sporting events', which included all National League North fixtures.

Up until this point, Chester FC supporters have only been able to follow the Blues' season through watching a live stream the club had set up.

Indoor sporting fixtures will be allowed to have up to 1,000 fans, or 50 per cent of its usual capacity.

This will mean the likes of the Cheshire Phoenix basketball team in Ellesmere Port will be permitted to accommodate fans once more at the Cheshire Oaks Arena.

Indoor live performances can be held in the borough once again, which will be welcome news for Storyhouse, which aims to be the first theatre in the UK to host a Christmas show as soon as the England lockdown is lifted, with organisers saying "it's ready to go".

Chester Zoo will also be reopening, which would have been the case whatever Tier the borough was placed in, but it will also mean it can also host its popular Lanterns event.

Tier 2 means the Blue Planet Aquarium can also reopen its doors, something it would not have been able to do if Cheshire west had gone into Tier 3.

All stores can reopen once more, which will be vital for those wanting to welcome Christmas shoppers to their doors, and will mean the likes of Cheshire Oaks can be reopened.

The tiers will be reviewed on December 16 but experts have warned that people must continue to face restrictions ahead of the UK-wide easing of measures over Christmas.

Mr Hancock said: “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifice made by people up and down the country, we are able to move out of national lockdown and into more targeted local, tiered restrictions.

“I know for those of you faced with Tier 3 restrictions this will be a particularly difficult time but I want to reassure you that we’ll be supporting your areas with mass community testing and extra funding.

“By following the rules together we can get out of these tough measures.”

The Department of Health said decisions on tier levels were based on a number of factors, including case detection rates in all age groups and, in particular, amongst the over 60s.

How quickly case rates are rising or falling and the impact on local NHS services are also taken into account.

The final decisions were made by the Prime Minister at the Covid Operations Committee.

Mr Johnson, whose coronavirus self-isolation period has ended, is expected to hold a press conference later.

Areas placed in Tier 3 will be offered support from NHS Test and Trace and the armed forces will deliver a six-week rapid community testing programme, making use of rapid lateral flow tests which give results within an hour.

What can you do in Tier 2 (High alert)?

Those in Tier 2 will have to follow these rules:

  • Meeting friends and family: No mixing of households indoors, apart from support bubbles. Maximum of six outdoors.
  • Bars, pubs and restaurants: Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. Venues must stop taking orders at 10pm and must close by 11pm.
  • Retail: Open.
  • Work and business: Everyone who can work from home should do so.
  • Education: Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities will be open. Childcare, other supervised activities for children and childcare bubbles permitted.
  • Indoor leisure: Open.
  • Accommodation: Open.
  • Personal care: Open.
  • Overnight stays: Permitted with household or support bubble.
  • Weddings and funerals: 15 guests for weddings, civil partnerships, wedding receptions and wakes, 30 for funerals.
  • Entertainment: Open.
  • Places of worship: Open, but cannot interact with anyone outside household or support bubble.
  • Travelling: Reduce the number of journeys you make and walk or cycle if possible. Avoid busy times and routes on public transport. Avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble. Avoid travelling into a Tier 3 area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Further exemptions apply.
  • Exercise: Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but cannot take place indoors if there is any interaction between people from different households. Organised activities for elite athletes, under-18s and disabled people can continue.
  • Residential care: Covid-secure arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods and window visits. Outdoor/airtight visits only (rollout of rapid testing will enable indoor visits including contact).
  • Large events: Sport, live performances and business meetings limited to 50 per cent capacity of 2,000 people outdoors (whichever is lower) and 50 per cent capacity or 1,000 people indoors (whichever is lower).