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What London moving to tighter Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions means for Kent

While London moving to 'Tier 2' coronavirus restrictions will only have an immediate impact on those living in the capital it will, of course, impact people in Kent.

Here we try to answer some of the bigger questions that the announcement has flagged up.

People are advised to avoid public transport Picture: Getty Images/GNDphotography
People are advised to avoid public transport Picture: Getty Images/GNDphotography

Will Kent follow?

The numbers suggest while cases of coronavirus in Kent remain low there are areas as you move towards the capital that have seen rapid increases.

When the three-tier system was announced on Monday Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells were placed in the worst category for rising infections.

But based on case numbers it seems unlikely the county will shed its 'medium risk' (Tier 1) status in the immediate future.

It is clear, however, that the situation is developing rapidly. While for now Kent seems safe we have seen across the course of the pandemic it may simply be a case of being weeks or even days behind other parts of the country.

The figures here show in Sevenoaks the rate of cases according to the most recent data (75.4 per 100,000) is worse than Bexley and Bromley (68.5 and 70.1 respectively).

The reason Kent has not been moved to Tier 2 and London has is because while Sevenoaks' rate is worse than those two boroughs the overall picture in the county is not as bleak.

The areas where coronavirus has increased by the greatest rate are shown in dark brown on the right
The areas where coronavirus has increased by the greatest rate are shown in dark brown on the right

Where does Kent finish and London start?

Of course, you will know whether you live in a Kent borough or a London one.

What makes it more complicated is that the border between Greater London and Kent dissects communities (see below).

In terms of advice this does not change anything but as Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite points out below it makes sense to bear the new restrictions in mind.

The border between London and Kent
The border between London and Kent

What if I live near London?

There will be residents in Dartford living across the road from Bexley and as Cllr Kite points out, Covid-19 doesn't respect borders.

He advises people in the borough to follow some of the new recommendations.

By the letter of the law if a Kent council collects your bins then obviously you are subject to the rules in the county and therefore are still living in a Tier 1 area.

The latest figures (week up to Saturday, October 10) show cases rose week-on-week in Dartford, Bexley and Bromley.

In Dartford the rate went from 28.4 cases per 100,000 people (32 cases in the week ending Oct 3) to 50.6 (57 cases) last week.

In Bexley it went from 54 (134 cases) to 68.5 (170) and in Bromley it went from 46.6 (155) to 70.1 (233).

So the London boroughs are worse, but not by much.

To reiterate Cllr Kite's point, it seems logical to at least bear the new restrictions in mind if you live close to the border.

Dartford council leader Jeremy Kite speaks to KMTV

What if I commute to London?

There'll be tens of thousands of commuters across the county.

For many working from home has been a reality since March.

For many others it is not possible or you've still been travelling up to the city now and again.

Under Tier 2 restrictions there is no advice on commuting per se but the government is recommending you avoid public transport where possible.

As it was already the case that people were being advised to work from home where possible this shouldn't change your daily routine.

I'm meant to be seeing family and friends in London this weekend - now what?

If you live in Kent and were planning a trip to the capital the chances are you're now a bit confused.

The new rules mean unless you are in a 'support bubble' - part of the extended household - you cannot see people living in London in their homes, the pub or a restaurant etc...

You can meet up outside as the Rule of Six is still in place for places like parks.

So if you are planning to see five mates for a pint in a pub in Clapham then you will have to cancel this trip

But if you are planning to have a picnic with five mates on Clapham Common that's allowed.

The advice regarding public transport obviously still applies.

I'm meant to be seeing family and friends in Kent this weekend - now what?

As above you should consider the advice about public transport.

If you live in Sidcup and are set to drive to Maidstone for a dinner party with five friends from different households, that is not allowed, unless you were to sit outside.

People from a high risk area should apply the same rules when travelling to a low risk area.

NOTE: An earlier version of this article was amended as the rule on mixing was not immediately obvious.

What does Tier 2 mean?

Tier two means household mixing indoors is banned, so many families from Kent will no longer be able to travel up to see relatives in their homes.

Tier 2 is the middle level and means there is a 'high risk' of Covid-19.

Under new rules set out by Boris Johnson on Monday those in any of the city's boroughs, including Bromley and Bexley , cannot meet in their homes or venues like pubs and restaurants unless they are part of the same 'support bubble'.

People are advised to avoid public transport but no schools or businesses will be forced to close.

The 'Rule of Six' will continue to apply outdoors, meaning households can mix in parks, while the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues will remain in place.

MPs have been told cases are doubling every seven to 10 days in the city.

For a full list of exemptions click here.

For the latest coronavirus news and advice, click here.

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