Remembrance Sunday veterans exempt from ban on social gatherings in highest risk level areas

Carers and spectators also allowed to meet even though Covid death risk to elderly much greater

Jane Dalton
Monday 12 October 2020 20:59
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Older adults are at a significantly increased risk of severe disease and death following infection
Older adults are at a significantly increased risk of severe disease and death following infection

War veterans attending Remembrance Sunday commemorations will be exempt from new laws restricting gatherings introduced to limit the rapid spread of coronavirus in areas deemed at “high” and “very high” risk.

Veterans’ carers, members of the armed forces and spectators will also be legally allowed to gather for events on the day.

Older adults are at a significantly increased risk of severe disease and death following infection by Covid-19, doctors say.

Imperial College London has estimated that the death rate from coronavirus is almost 10 times higher than the average for people over 80.

Boris Johnson on Monday announced a three-tier approach to coronavirus restrictions, with all areas of England put into “medium”, “high” or “very high” risk categories.

The three tiers – 1, 2 and 3 – represent an advancing scale of local lockdown restrictions.

At the two highest alert levels, no more than two people may gather indoors.  

In tier 3 areas, outdoor gatherings of more than two people in certain places are banned.

But regulations published as the prime minister made his announcement to MPs state that Remembrance Sunday gatherings are among a list of exemptions.  

People attending such events as part of their work, volunteers, armed forces members and veterans, their representatives or carers, and spectators who take part will all be allowed to meet.

The regulations say that the gathering organiser or manager must take the required coronavirus precautions.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director at Age UK, said: “The decision by the government to exempt Remembrance Sunday from the new restrictions strikes us as a blow for common sense and a welcome recognition of how important this day is to many older people, veterans especially.  

“The organiser will have to carry out a rigorous risk assessment and it may be that the usual commemorations will have to be flexed, to allow for social distancing, and sadly that some may consider themselves too vulnerable to take part.  

“There’s a lot of responsibility on organisers but this approach is infinitely better than a ‘blanket ban’ and hopefully in most places a meaningful commemoration can go ahead much as happens every year.”

Other exemptions include births, marriages, weddings, civil partnership receptions, funerals, protests and elite and outdoor sports.

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