11:34AM, Thursday 26 November 2020
The Government has announced that the Royal Borough will be in Tier 2 COVID-19 restrictions when lockdown ends next week.
This means that pubs can remain open - if they serve substantial meals - and sports teams like Maidenhead United can allow fans to attend games with restricted numbers.
People will also be allowed to get their haircut, with hairdressing allowed under the tier rules.
But residents cannot socialise with anyone outside of their household or bubble in any indoor setting.
Tier 2 restrictions - known as 'High Alert' - require people and businesses in Windsor and Maidenhead to follow these guidelines:
Nearby Buckinghamshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council are also in Tier 2, but Slough Borough Council has been placed in Tier 3 - the highest level of restrictions.
The tier system will be reviewed on Wednesday, December 16.
Final decisions will be made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who will lead a Downing Street news conference later today.
Lisa Byrne, landlady at The Jolly Gardeners pub in Old Windsor, said she was ‘devastated’ when watching the news unfold.
Having not yet received any grant money and only being able to furlough one member of staff, Lisa says she is reluctantly going to ‘give it a go’ when she is allowed to open her doors again.
While she normally serves Thai food on certain evenings, she is confused as to when and how she reopens – with guidelines requiring her to serve substantial meals when trading with alcohol.
“It does not make any sense having restaurants full of people eating, but you can’t have a pub with people drinking,” Lisa said.
“You are not going to not catch COVID because you have got a sandwich in front of you.”
She added that pubs have taken the biggest hit when it comes to restrictions.
“We are just bearing the brunt of everything else,” Lisa said.
“We seem to be the only places sticking to test and trace, but you can go into a supermarket and be with other people.
“The last month has been so hard not having any income.”
The debate over ‘substantial meals’ has also sparked confusion and concern, with ‘wet-led’ pubs like The Jolly Gardeners being more centred on drinks.
“You can’t just serve a pasty, it has to be served with some chips or a side salad,” Lisa said.
“It has to be something you would order at a restaurant.”
Addressing MPs in the House of Commons this afternoon, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that 'we must protect our NHS this winter', and that restrictions were 'necessary given the scale of the threat that we face'.
He added that national measures have 'successfully turned the curve' and eased pressure on the health service.
"We must make the right judgement guided by the science," Mr Hancock said.
He added that 'the majority of the country will be in Tier 2'.
Royal Borough leader Cllr Andrew Johnson urged residents to 'be sensible and take care', in a statement today.
He added that the council will be awaiting details about how the process works to move back down to Tier 1, a level occupied by just three regions in the whole of England.
"We are constantly reviewing the situation, taking expert advice from our dedicated public health professionals and liaising with Government. We await further details about how the process works to move back to Tier 1," Cllr Johnson said.
“Please remember that we still have significant community transmission of the virus across the Royal Borough. There will be a temptation to get out and about again as normal, but please be sensible, take care and look after yourselves and loved ones.
“Remember to wash your hands regularly, wear a face covering where appropriate and keep space between yourself and those not in your household.
"If you have symptoms please self-isolate and get a test. We have a number of resources to help our residents, so please get in touch if you need support.
"Please share this message and encourage your friends and family to do their bit. Help keep everyone safe. Follow the data, support local business and stop the spread."
Bucks Tory MP Greg Smith spoke to express his disappointment in the Commons that the county has been placed into the 'punitive' Tier 2.
He complained that there has been 'zero consultation' between central Government, Bucks Council, and the local NHS.
Mr Smith urged Government to fully consult these parties as the tiers are reviewed, to which Mr Hancock replied that the director of public health for Bucks was 'invited to engage' as tier decisions were made.
Bucks Council leader Cllr Martin Tett has reacted to the news. Expressing disappointment for not remaining in Tier 1 as was the case pre-lockdown, he acknowledged that the county needed to 'retain the advances made' during the pandemic.
"The council will be working with its Members of Parliament, the Buckinghamshire NHS and local business organisations to understand the implications for our residents, our businesses and people's health. We will advise more in due course."
He added: "Can I thank everyone in Buckinghamshire for their continued support and for following the rules, not only over the last month in lockdown but since the pandemic started."
Another Bucks MP, Conservative Joy Morrissey, who represents Burnham and Marlow in the Beaconsfield constituency, has also issued a statement in relation to today's news.
She said: "If we all follow the new rules, act responsibly, and continue to enforce social distancing, then I am confident that we can move down into the lower Tier 1 when the alert levels are reviewed on December 16.
"I realise that this will be very disappointing for people and businesses across Beaconsfield, especially the hospitality sector. However, if we follow the rules closely we will be able to ease restrictions faster.
"There is still financial support you can claim from the Government and Buckinghamshire Council, such as the furlough scheme, Government-backed loans, and the Local Restrictions Support Grant which will award money to businesses who have been forced to close or have seen their revenue severely impacted by local restrictions.
"Constituents with any queries should consult www.gov.uk/coronavirus or contact my office.”
Earlier this week, some Royal Borough businesses reacted to the news ahead of the tier system being announced, with one community-owned pub in Maidenhead claiming it would not be viable to open in whichever tier it is placed.
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