Response to the latest COVID-19 alert levels 
and what you need to know
regular update from John Bridge OBE DL



Intensified restrictions will be a real blow to business and public confidence at a delicate time for the economy. Firms have put hard work and precious cash into making their businesses Covid-secure, and must be allowed to operate unless there is overwhelming and clear evidence to the contrary. Businesses cannot be subjected to a rollercoaster of stop-start restrictions with no end in sight.

Speculation and rumour have badly eroded trust between Westminster, local government, and our business communities. At a time when clarity and transparency are critical, local business leaders must be more deeply involved in decision-making, so that the real-world consequences for livelihoods and communities are understood. The introduction of all new restrictions must go hand-in-hand with the appropriate level of financial support, both now and into the future.

Above all, businesses need to see an exit strategy to prevent economic paralysis. Mass testing, faster processing and proportionate financial support for those forced to self-isolate are crucial to supporting businesses and communities in the months ahead.


Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know


Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area, and state what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level.

Working with local authorities through the contain framework  the approach has been simplified so that there are now three local COVID alert levels.

Local COVID alert level: Medium
This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.


This means:
• You must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
• Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
• Certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10.00pm and 5.00am
• Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10.00pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
• Schools and universities remain open
• Places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6  
• Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
• Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed.

You must:
Wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated 

You should continue to:
• Follow social distancing rules
• Work from home where you can effectively do so
• When travelling, plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes. Walk or cycle if you can.

Find out more about the measures that apply in medium alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. 


Local COVID alert level: High
This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.


This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:
• You must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or 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 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
• Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
• Certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10.00pm and 5.00am
• Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10.00pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
• Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
• Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
• Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
• You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.
You must:
• Wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated
You should continue to:
• Follow social distancing rules
• Work from home where you can effectively do so
• Walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Find out more about the measures that apply in high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Local COVID alert level: Very High

This is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. You should therefore check the specific rules in your area

At a minimum, this means:
• You must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
• You must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
• Pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
• Schools and universities remain open
• Places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
Weddings  and funerals  can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed
• Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport
• You should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
• You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere.


You must:
• Wear a face covering in those areas where this is mandated

You should continue to:
• Follow social distancing rules
• Work from home where you can effectively do so
• Travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but aim to reduce the number of journeys you make.
This is the baseline in very-high alert level areas. The government will also seek to agree additional interventions in consultation with local authorities, in order to drive down transmission of the virus. These could include the following options:
• Restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (except takeaway and delivery)
• Closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
• Closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
• Closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth and childcare activities and support groups)
• Closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
• Closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences.

You should therefore check whether additional restrictions apply in your area

Find out more about the measures that apply in very high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.  


Contact the Chamber

01223 237414 •  enquiries@cambscci.co.uk
Cambridgeshire Chamber of Commerce

Clifford House • 2 Station Yard • Oakington • CB24 3AH • United Kingdom

www.cambridgeshirechamber.co.uk