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New coronavirus rules have thrown people’s travel plans into chaos as the Government moves back into the mantra of staying home and minimising contact as COVID cases rise exponentially across the country. Many depend on car sharing up and down England, including to get to work, for childcare arrangements, and for emergencies.
The new tiered system for COVID response across England means that different areas of the country are subject to different rules.
Tier 1 currently encompasses most of the UK – also known as the medium level – and allows people to socialise outside of their household in all settings, indoor and outdoor.
Tier 2, which most of the north of England is currently subject to, is considered high risk and has a ban on meeting with others outside of your house in indoor settings.
Tier 3 – the highest threat level currently available – has a total ban on all socialising outside of your household or support bubble.
The only two areas of the UK currently under Tier 3 restrictions are Liverpool and Lancashire.
In all settings, rules like social distancing and working from home if possible are universal, and while travelling across the country is not banned it is being discouraged unless the trip is essential.
Travel is also discouraged and people have been urged to walk or cycle where possible to avoid using public transport.
Travel is still permitted for essential reasons across the country, including for work and travel.
Can I car share in Tier 2?
Car sharing is not advised and should not be done unless the trip is necessary.
The Government website reads: “It is difficult to socially distance during car journeys.
“You should avoid sharing a car with someone from outside your household or your support bubble unless you can practise social distancing.”
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The Government advises when travelling with another you should do the following to help reduce the chance of transmission:
• opening windows for ventilation
• travelling side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
• facing away from each other
• considering seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
• cleaning your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
• asking the driver and passengers to wear a face covering
The police are able to enforce the new rules and to take action against those who break them.
This will start with asking people to stop or disperse the rule breaking activity, and then escalating to issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £200 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.
People aged 18 or over can be fined:
• £200 for the first offence, lowered to £100 if paid within 14 days
• £400 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400
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