UK’s new three-tier COVID-19 system restricts couples from meeting indoors

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As the United Kingdom is witnessing a spike in new coronavirus cases, Downing Street confirmed that couples living apart in ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert areas are not allowed to stay together overnight unless they are in a support bubble. Over half of England’s population is believed to be living in alert areas and with the government introducing two tiers of COVID restrictions, the latest rule for couples is being viewed as ‘sex ban’ policy by many. 

According to The Guardian, the British government said that couples living apart can only meet outdoors and they are not even meant to touch each other under social distancing rules. The prospect of outdoor-only encounters during the bitter winter months is quite grim and the latest ‘sex ban’ policy can pose a major worry for couples inhibiting in alert areas. 

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When asked if couples living apart in their 2 tier areas can see each other indoors, PM Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said that the rules on household mixing in tier 2 set out that one should mix with their own household only unless they’ve formed a support bubble, and that obviously does apply to some couples. Further, Johnson’s spokesman clarified that the restrictions were set out in the law. 

According to the British government, a support bubble is where a household with one adult joins another single-adult household. Households in that system can visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together. However, if an adult stays with more members, they cannot go over to someone else’s house to spend a night. 

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Three-tier system 

While giving a reason to why there hasn’t been any written law for ‘established relationship’ in the areas under tier one and tier two, the spokesman said that the purpose of this latest measure is to break the chain of transmission, as several scientific studies have proven that rate of transmission is higher indoors. When asked whether the government expects couples in established relationships meeting outdoors to socially distance, the spokesman said that the rules set out that people ‘should follow’ social distancing and the hand, face, space rules. 

Meanwhile, the three-tier measures are the most severe ones to be imposed in those areas as people are ordered to not have any physical contact with anyone except their household. For the areas of England, pubs, bars, and restaurants where an uptick of COVID-19 cases is recorded will also be closed. Meanwhile, for tier-one areas, the British citizens are following the “rule of six” on public gatherings and practising social distancing. Tier two has prohibited households from mixing in homes, gardens, pubs, bars or even restaurants. 

(Image: Rep/Pixabay) 

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