“Your tier is not your destiny” announced our prime minister, doing his very worst impression of Obi-Wan Kenobi. But Chris Whitty – who I suppose must be Yoda in this particularly terrible version of Star Wars – immediately had to explain that, actually, your tier is very much your destiny, unless you’re one of the 15 people in Tier 1, in which case it’s probably only a matter of time before you get moved up into a less jolly one.
By a matter of time, he must mean the five day period over Christmas when Covid has been kind enough to take a well-earned break, meaning we can all make merry with barely any restrictions at all until the clock strikes midnight on December 28, and the virus returns from its holidays, rested and restored.
For once, I do have sympathy with the government on this one. As one wit pointed out on Twitter this week, our leaders seem to treat coronavirus in the same way most of us treat fitness kicks – as soon as you’ve lost the weight and feel fantastic, you reward yourself by relaxing on the sofa, eating crisps.
You may not know what tier you are in, on account of the government website’s postcode-checker crashing within moments of going live. And those of us who do know our tier probably don’t have a clue what it means, on account of the government being terrible communicators. To help, I have devised a handy alternative guide to the tiers this festive season.
Tier 1: It’s time you started talking to your husband again. You had that argument during the first lockdown.
Tier 2: No, I don’t think driving your beloved to have fish and chips in a car park constitutes a date night.
Tier 3: Try and file all petitions for divorce before lawyers go on their Christmas break.
Tier 1: Allowed to travel to Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly, which is just as well as they are essentially the only places in said tier.
Tier 2: Allowed to visit the Orkneys on alternate Wednesdays.
Tier 3: Allowed only to travel to Treasure Island.
Tier 1: Can take part in cheese rolling, bog snorkelling and zorbing.
Tier 2: Parkour strongly encouraged.
Tier 3: You can play tennis, but only by yourself.
Pubs and restaurants
Tier 1: You can go on the razz without having to first line your stomach.
Tier 2: You are encouraged to order a side with your main, and not skimp on dessert.
Tier 3: Buy a warm coat – you’re in for a cold, hard winter.
Theatres and cinemas
Tier 1: Stay at home and watch Netflix.
Tier 2: Stay at home and watch Amazon Prime.
Tier 3: Stay at home and watch Freeview.
Tier 1: Shop till you drop.
Tier 2: Shop till you drop.
Tier 3: Shop till you drop.
Places of worship
Tier 1: Pray
Tier 2: Keep on praying.
Tier 3: Pray harder.
Back in full lockdown by mid-January latest.
Read more: What are the new tier system rules after Covid lockdown ends?