By Ben Norris
When the Stroud District emerges from the blanket restrictions currently in force across England on December 2nd, it’ll be under the second tier of local restrictions.
First and foremost, the infamous ‘rule of six’ will be back in place for outdoor gatherings – socialising is limited to groups of six. Unfortunately this doesn’t extend to indoor settings: for the present you can only see people indoors if you live with them or if they form part of your support bubble.
Pubs and bars will sadly remain closed unless they’re operating as restaurants, while hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals. This does mean that several of Stroud’s watering holes will have to stay closed until restrictions change, which may not be until after the New Year.
Hospitality businesses such as restaurants that sell food or drink for consumption are required to provide table service only if they serve alcohol, and to stop taking orders after 10pm.
In better news, organised outdoor sports as well as physical activity and exercise classes can continue; organised indoor sports, physical activity and exercise classes can go ahead on the condition that it’s possible to avoid mixing with other people outside your support bubble. This will likely become a case-by-case situation, but gyms such as Fifth Dimension and Stratford Park will be open again.
Weddings and funerals can ensue with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people are allowed to attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and up to 15 people can attend associated commemorative events such as wakes or stonesettings.
Something that has the potential to lead to confusion is travel between tier 2 and tier 3 areas – for instance, if you make a journey to South Gloucestershire or Bristol. Government advice is to 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.”
On the off chance that you find yourself in Cornwall, the Isle of Wight or the Isles of Scilly – the only parts of England currently in tier 1 – continue to follow tier 2 rules.
There are exemptions from gathering limits in all tiers, which include the provision of emergency provision, to avoid injury or illness, or to visit someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life – a full list can be found here.
To end on a brighter note, community hubs such as the Stroud Sub Rooms are back open, and promise to do their best to offer enough entertainment to make up for lost time over the four-week lockdown.