Get in, loser. We’re going to the Isle of Wight.
That’s what I would say if I didn’t live in a tier 3 area, from which outside travel is strictly advised against. Yes, my small town of Stafford has sadly been lumped together with the rest of the county into the second-highest tier – a situation which has proven disastrous for our four restaurants and three mediocre pubs.
But what do the tiers actually mean? Well, I’ve prepared a short guide to answer that very question:
Tier 1 – Cornwall, Herefordshire, Isle of Wight, Isle of Scilly
Fancy a pub trip? Go ahead, as long as you’re not in a group of more than six. This tier only applies to Cornwall, Herefordshire, the Isle of Wight, and the Isle of Scilly, probably because no one actually lives in any of those places.
Tier 2 – North, East, South, West (basically dotted all over the place)
This is where the rules get complicated. If you’re in a tier 2 area, you can theoretically go to the pub, but only if you order a meal with your drinks. It’s important to make the meal last because they’ll kick you out once it’s finished. You also have to make sure your friends look similar enough to you that you can get away with saying you’re all from the same family; in other words, be prepared to leave your one red-headed friend outside.
Tier 3 – mostly applies to the Midlands and parts of the North
The pubs are closed, but at least you can get a haircut.
Tier 4 – London and the South East
You can’t even get a haircut. Don’t leave the house unless you’re in a radiation suit.
The tier system has had mixed success so far and has demonstrated a tendency to backfire. Pubs in Herefordshire are being swarmed by beer-hungry outsiders, and one man – who reportedly travelled more than 200 miles to visit one – can be admired for both his alcoholic dedication and utter stupidity.
Regardless of the drawbacks (and I’m hardly one to criticise the need for substantial measures, seeing as I spent nearly every night of fresher’s at either the SU or the KPA), the current system could be in place for months. So get comfy, everyone, and prepare to wake up to an endless stream of awkward Matt Hancock interviews for the foreseeable future.