The second lockdown in the UK was lifted at midnight on the 2nd of December. With this came a new hope for festive holidays and visits to friends and family across the UK. After a full month of waiting out November behind closed doors, it’s unsurprising that many of us may feel an urge to get and see more of the country.
For those wanting to enjoy a last-minute holiday in London or elsewhere in the UK, then there are still some issues that you’ll have to consider before booking any trip. The UK is now under a new set of COVID suppressing regulations. The tier system currently spans from tier 1 to tier 3 and encompasses all of the UK. Each tier is designed to reflect the infection rates in the areas, often changing narrowly from county to county if specific cities have been intensely affected, or more broadly between regions if the higher infection rates are wider spread.
This, undoubtedly, will affect how and where you travel to for your holidays, especially if visiting from abroad or journeying between different tiers. Below is a breakdown of what you can expect when visiting the UK in regards to regulations, and how to holiday safely in London and further afield.
So What Are The UK Tiers?
The tier system in the UK is currently designated between tiers 1 to 3. However, there is a potential of the tier system being upgraded to tier 4 in the new year, a near lockdown designation that would replace the triple-tiered system with stricter anti-COVID measures.
Tier 1 is the loosest of the tiers, representing a medium level alert for COVID infection rates. Tier 1 means that you are allowed to go to other peoples homes but must only travel or visit in groups of up to 6 people. There are no restrictions on travel or shops, but you must wear a face-covering on public transport.
There are fewer parts of the UK that are at medium alert. Most of these areas are relatively rural, such as the west coast of Cornwall and the Scottish Highlands, which make great places to escape to from the increased risks of the city.
The majority of the country is now under tier 2 restrictions. This represents a high risk of COVID infection and means that bars and restaurants must close by 11 pm in the evening. People must try and restrict their travel wherever possible, and should not visit the homes of any other household. You can walk outside and visit restaurants with up to one other household but should maintain the rule of six when doing so.
Much of London and the south coast are under tier 2 restrictions. Other areas in the country under tier 2 include areas of North Yorkshire and the Scottish Lowlands.
Tier 3 is the highest tier level for the country, although areas of Scotland and Northern Ireland have implemented national rules for their countries which amount to the same as a circuit breaker lockdown. Tier 3 rules mean that pubs and restaurants must close, but can still deliver takeaways. You can meet up to six people outside your household outside in parks and recreation areas but must maintain social distance.
West Yorkshire, much of Kent and Wales are now under tier 3 restrictions. These can change depending on the infection rates in the areas. Furthermore, circuit breaker lockdowns have been implemented by the Northern Irish and Scottish governments, meaning that their respective countries are under more intense levels of COVID measures than England currently is.
London visits will be dramatically affected by the area you’re travelling from. London hotels for a staycation near Finsbury Square and all across the city are still open to visitors from within other second-tier status areas, but there is still a range of restrictions and precautions that you must take.
No Visiting Other Households Indoors
As mentioned above, guests at accommodation like the Montcalm Royal London House Hotel must only stay with members of their core bubble or household. Presently, it’s against the law to visit hotels with those from outside your household.
There are fewer events in London than there were before lockdown, but many 2 night London hotel deal guests will discover that there is still a range of live performance events taking place across the city. You will have to book in advance though, many of these theatres, cinema and live music events are socially distanced and seated, meaning that there will be limited tickets available.
Booking Restaurants And Bars
Restaurants and bars must also be prebooked in London’s tier 2 areas and you can only visit with up to one other household. Takeaways are also available from many restaurants, and the Montcalm Royal London House allows for room service dining from our gourmet restaurant service, the Aviary, which is physically closed but still cooking up feasts for guests.
Public transport is currently running in London, as well as train services to outside the city. The local government has advised that visitors reduce the number of journeys they take, and when doing so, that they try to maintain social distancing measures and wear a mask at all times on transport and in stations.
Travelling Between Tiered Areas
Travel between tier 1 and tier 2 is allowed, but extra caution must be taken if you’re visiting or travelling from a tier 3 designated area. Travelling out of a tier 3 area is only allowed if you are travelling for work, volunteering, to care for a vulnerable person, for medical treatment, to visit your support bubble or to move home.
Travelling To The UK From Abroad
There are a number of countries on the British flight corridor list which you can visit as long as you have taken and tested negative on a COVID test. If you’re travelling to a country that is outside of the UK’s designated list or indeed visiting the UK from one of these countries, you will have to quarantine for five days upon your arrival.