Matt Hancock announced the various levels in England that would fall under national lockdown on December 2.
On Thursday, the health minister delivered a speech in the House of Commons, during which he said the country would return to a staged approach to reducing the rate of virus transmission before Christmas.
He added that the level allocations would be reviewed every two weeks, before urging people to “think about our own responsibilities to keep the virus under control.”
He said: “The less transmission the disease to anyone, the faster the control of this disease together.”
But what does all this mean for couples who do not live together and for those who have nascent relationships?
Since there have been various changes to the rules about physical contact and overnight stay throughout the pandemic, here’s everything you need to know about how relationship rules differ in each layer.
Level 1 (medium alert)
At level 1, you are not permitted to mix in groups greater than six indoors or outdoors.
However, you are allowed to meet indoors and out in smaller groups, which means couples can spend time together in bars, bars and restaurants, which close at 11 pm.
However, they must maintain social distancing unless they live together, or in the same support bubble.
Can you stay the night in each other’s homes?
You can spend time inside your partner’s home, but you can’t stay the night unless they are part of your support bubble.
The support bubble is a close support network between a family with only one adult in the household (known as a single adult family) and another family of any size.
Once you are in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in one house with people from the other family. This means that you can be in close contact with those family as if they were your own.
When you create a support bubble, you must not change who is in your bubble.
Level 2 (high alert)
At level 2, you can only communicate with people outside of your household or support the bubble outdoors.
This means that couples can go on dates as long as they stay out of the house the entire time and maintain social distance.
For example, a Level 2 date could take the form of a walk in the park and a drink in the pub garden.
As in Level 1, the bars and restaurants remain open in Level 2 but must close at 11 PM, with the last orders at 10 PM.
Can you stay in each other’s homes?
In Level 2, you cannot socialize indoors with anyone outside of your family or support bubble.
This means that, as in Level 1, a person is not allowed to spend the night in a partner’s home if they are not in their support bubble.
Level 3 (very severe alert)
At Level 3, you must not come into contact with anyone you do not live with or have not formed a support bubble anywhere indoor or in any private garden.
Additionally, pubs and bars should be closed and can only remain open as they operate as take-out and delivery services.
You are allowed to meet people you don’t live with, or have formed a support bubble with them, as long as you only do so in public outdoor spaces and you maintain social distancing.
For example, you can go on social distancing dates in parks, beaches, countryside areas, forests, and parks.
Can you stay in each other’s homes?
It’s against the rules to socially meet friends and family indoors anywhere unless they are part of your family or a support bubble.
This means that you cannot stay overnight in someone else’s home in Level 3 unless it is part of your support bubble.
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