WIRRAL, along with the rest of Liverpool City Region, has spent its first day under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions, which came into force after national lockdown two ended.

Liverpool City Region was originally in Tier 3 before lockdown began, but efforts to lower the local infection rate contributed to the Government's decision to move the combined authority down to the middle tier.

The new restrictions came into force at a minute past midnight yesterday.

So what is the new three-tier system?

The country has been split up into three tiers – like it was before lockdown – only this time the restrictions are harsher.

Tier 1 is a medium alert level for coronavirus but most areas of the country are in tier 2 or 'high' alert level like Wirral.

Some areas like Manchester are in tier 3 or on 'very high' alert.

The higher the tier, the tougher the rules are.

But what does it mean for Wirral in Tier 2?

  • No mixing of households indoors aside from support bubbles will be allowed, with a maximum gathering of six permitted outdoors.
  • Pubs and bars will remain closed unless operating as restaurants, with alcohol only served as part of a "substantial meal" until 10pm, before venues must close at 11pm.
  • All shops, salons and restaurants can reopen.
  • People will be encouraged to reduce the number of journeys they make and to avoid travelling into Tier 3 areas, except for reasons of education or work.
  • Overnight stays will only be permitted for those in the same household or support bubble and accommodation can open.
  • Places of worship can reopen, but people must not interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.
  • Fifteen guests will be allowed at weddings and civil partnerships, increasing to 30 for funerals.
  • Classes and organised sport can take place outdoors but not indoors if there is any interaction between two different households.
  • Large events including sport and live performances will be open to the public but limited to 50% capacity or 2,000 outdoors and 1,000 indoors.

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Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Boris Johnson praised the mass testing system currently in operation in Liverpool and said that it had contributed to a "very substantial reduction in infections".

The tier system is expected to last until March, with reviews conducted every 14 days.

It was backed on Tuesday – despite a rebellion from 56 Tory MPs – following a debate in the House of Commons.

The majority of Labour MPs abstained.

The vote was passed 291 to 78 votes.

During the debate in Parliament, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defended his plan for exiting England's national lockdown to move into a revised system of tiered restrictions.

He said: "Of course, I accept that this is not a return to normality – I wish it were so.

"But it is a bit closer to normality than the present restrictions and what we can't do is to lift all the restrictions at once or move too quickly in such a way that the virus would begin to spread rapidly again."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said it is ‘not in the national interest’ to vote down the restrictions so his party would allow them to pass.

He said that he accepts the case for restrictions but called for a plan that is going to work, adding the Prime Minister’s current plan is ‘full of holes’.