Dear constituent

I am writing to you as promised with a further update on the Coronavirus pandemic.

Rules Tier 2

Firstly, you will probably by now know that Surrey has been placed into Tier 2 of the new restrictions, if they are approved by Parliament next week. I know that there are strong views about this, and I will be happy to respond to individual questions and points.

The Department of Health has told us that this decision has been based on a number of factors including the level of infection in the community, particularly among those over the age of 60, and pressures on the NHS.

The current level of infection in Surrey and in the individual boroughs is here.

These are the rules that apply to us in Tier 2.

  • you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 people outside, including in a garden or a public space – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-Securemanner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
  • pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals
  • hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
  • provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol
  • close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt)
  • stop taking orders after 10pm
  • hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink 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
  • early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances  that start before 10pm
  • public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rulesand limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
  • places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events such as wakes  or stonesettings.
  • organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue
  • organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes will only be permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with). There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible
  • if you live in a tier 2 area, you must continue to follow tier 2 rules when you travel to a tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advicefor your destination and the travel corridors list

 

There has been a change to the end time of the current lockdown. It was originally due to end at Midnight next Wednesday evening. But the new rules now actually start at one minute past midnight on Wednesday morning instead. That means that shops and other businesses that have had to close are free to reopen on Wednesday and not on Thursday as was previously the case.

Christmas Family Bubbles

You will also probably have seen the planned rules for Christmas, and the creation of Christmas family bubbles, but in case you do not know about what the Government has decided, details are here.

Business Support

A reminder for those of you with businesses that additional support is available for you throughout the winter, particularly the continuation of the furlough scheme. Details are here.

Shop Local

Can I please ask you to support local shops when you do your Christmas shopping. There are many businesses that have lost out badly over the past month, and I hope we can all rally together to make sure that they have a good run-up to Christmas.

Ashtead Rotary

Finally for those of you living in Ashtead, the local Ashtead Rotary have also approached me asking for a plug for the celebrations they are planning for their 40th birthday in 2021.

The Club (ARC) was founded in February 1981. To celebrate the anniversary, they are looking for people living or working in Ashtead who also turn 40 in 2021 to share the special occasion with! They have ten donations of £100 each to be given away to support online to kick start 40th birthday charity fundraisers organised by the participants to raise money for their favourite charities. Details of the scheme and how to get involved are here.

I will keep you updated if there are further developments on the pandemic.

Best wishes

Chris