THE second lockdown has officially ended today, December 2, and now both Cheshire East and West are under Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions.

New measures were confirmed last night, as the Government won enough support to push through the new tiered system.

Here is everything you need to know.

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 Cheshire East and West.

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

The higher the tier, the tougher the rules are.

Why have the new rules been introduced today?

The Government secured enough votes to bring in the new rules at a vote on Tuesday night, with 291 votes in favour and 78 against.

Urging MPs to back him, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said another nationwide lockdown across England ‘would be the only alternative’ to the Government’s proposed tiers.

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He added: “Voting against these restrictions tonight is, in fact, a vote to allow the entire system to lapse tomorrow and I know every member of this House wants to control the virus and no-one wants to see the NHS overwhelmed.”

How did my MP vote?

Two mid Cheshire Conservatives voted with the Government – Fiona Bruce, MP for Congleton, and Edward Timpson, MP for Eddisbury.

Mr Timpson said he was unsure the balance was right in the Government's new measures, and raised concerns for the wedding industry.

He added: “But this continues to be a public health emergency so I will support these regulations, albeit with a similar ask from colleagues that we work together to find the best and most effective path to prosperity.”

Esther McVey, MP for Tatton, was one of 55 Conservatives to vote against the Government's plans.

Along with most Labour MPs, Weaver Vale's Mike Amesbury abstained from the vote, but told the Commons he did not support the Government's plans due to a lack of support for hospitality businesses.

He said: "If our hospitality sector is to survive, and small breweries, we need more support in Tier 2 and Tier 3 areas."

What is the main change compared to the previous three-tier system?

The biggest change is that pubs and other hospitality venues in Tier 2 areas like Cheshire will only be allowed to open if they can serve a 'substantial meal'.

Hospitality venues will be able to provide table service only and customers will be banned from socialising with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble indoors.

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This means they will have to sit outside if they want to socialise with friends or family that are not their household where the rule of six applies.

However, curfew has been pushed back to 11pm, with last orders at 10pm.

Pubs and bars that do not offer food can remain open for take-away services.

What are the other main rules for Cheshire in Tier 2?

  • You are free to go out as you wish and you can do unlimited exercise outdoors or in gyms and other sports facilities.
  • All shops are able to open as normal as will hairdressers and salons.
  • You cannot meet indoors with anyone other than those you live with or one individual you have formed a support bubble with
  • You can see friends and family you do not live with (or do not have a support bubble with) outdoors, in a group of no more than six. This rule of six includes children of any age. ‘Outdoors’ means in a private garden or other outdoor space. You can continue to meet in a group larger than six if you are all from the same household or support bubble.
  • Spectators will be allowed to watch sport in tier 2, with a maximum crowd outdoors of 50 per cent of the capacity of the stadium or 2,000 people, whichever is smaller. Indoors, the maximum capacity is 1,000.
  • Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, bingo halls, museums and bowling alleys can open, but must close at 11pm.
  • Soft play centres can reopen with a reduced capacity.
  • You can form a childcare bubble with another household if you are the only adult in your home, live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household, live with a child who is under one or live with a child who is under five with a disability
  • You should only travel to areas with the same alert level as Warrington – but it is OK to pass through a tier 3 region to get there. The government guidelines state: “You can travel through a tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.”
  • Tradespeople can go into your home if you need to get work done on your property throughout the restrictions
  • Exceptions where people can continue to gather indoors include work (as well as voluntary and charitable services) but people are being urged to work from home where possible
  • Parent and toddler groups can take place with a maximum of 15 people (under-fives do not count towards this limit).
  • Places of worship are able to open.
  • Weddings can take place for up to 15 people and for funerals the maximum is 30 (15 for wakes).
  • Organised support groups can host up to 15 people.
  • Other activities, such as hobby groups, organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided that different households or support bubbles do not mix.

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Why are Cheshire East and West in Tier 2?

The Government says both boroughs, along with Warrington, have seen a 27.4 per cent fall in infections in the second lockdown.

However, the Government says case rates in the over-60s remains high, and it is hoped this will fall under the new measures.

When will Cheshire East and West's tiers be reviewed?

Currently, it is set out in law that restrictions imposed by the incoming tier system will be reviewed every fortnight.

That means the first review point for the current tier allocations will take place by December 16.

How long will the tier-system last?

Boris Johnson has said that the system will be in place until March.

However, there will be a five-day break from December 23 to 27 which will allow up to three households to congregate for Christmas.

There are hopes that, by March, a fair portion of the country will have received a coronavirus vaccine.