The three-tier system explained in terms of things you care about (drinking and dating, basically)

Confused by the Government's latest attempt to make sense of the Covid shitshow? You're not alone – here's a handy guide to navigating semi-lockdown

You can add ‘three-tier system’ and ‘circuit breaker’ to your 2020 list of ‘Phrases I’d never heard of before this catastrophe of a year’. File them next to ‘social distancing’, ‘self-Isolating’, ‘quarantine’, ‘incubation period’, ‘anti-bac’, ‘Covid-safe’ and ‘Matt Hancock.’

The new ‘three-tier’ system, put in place across the UK in the interminable battle against coronavirus, has presumably been designed the Government to make us all feel extremely divided and thus, I imagine, conquerable. Areas will be put into tiers according to how high their R rate (the reproduction number of the virus) is, and rules put in place accordingly. Tier One means no groups bigger than six and pubs closing at 10pm; Tier Two means no going to your mates’ houses (except gardens); and Tier Three – well, let’s just say I hope you’ve still got things you haven’t seen on Netflix, and a comfy couch.

It’s only right, then, that you divide everything in your life into three easy tiers, so you know the level you’re at. It might even be helpful? Keep your life fun with even more rules! Here are the important things in life divided up into handy sections.

Drinking

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Maisie Williams
Maisie Williams just heard last orders are at half nine. Credit: Sky

Tier One

A table for six or less at the publ Tuesday vibes. A few wholesome pints with your pals after an early evening run, then home to watch some tat on TV slightly buzzed with a brew and a chocolate HobNob.

Tier Two

All six of us back to sit around my patio! Yes, I know we only met Steve here half-an-hour ago because he was accidentally the seventh member of his gang, but he seems nice. Stop off at the newsagents on the way home for some overpriced bottles of Casillaro Del Diablo, 12 cans of Desperado and four thousand bags of crisps to soak it up. Get a YouTube playlist on ’til 1am, when you realise Steve has started preaching about Free Speech and doesn’t believe in masks. You realise he was in the pub on his own.

Tier Three

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“Yes, I understand the NHS is very stretched at the moment and I apologise for starting at 10am. Thank you for saving my life.’

Dating

Credit: Alamy

Tier One

You had a Zoom date over lockdown one and realised you’d rather perform surgery on yourself. You’re checking the apps every few days, and may meet someone you had more than two messages with for a pint, have socially distanced snog and do an awkward, ‘Well, I legally have to be off now’ at 10pm. Repeat once every two weeks.

Tier Two

You met someone in real life! Well, an old friend kept replying to your Instagram stories and you really got on! It’s date three, and time to go back to yours with a bottle of wine after dinner. It’s all going well until your housemate freaks out at the thought of someone new coming into the house and you have to do it in the park nearby and vow to see each other soon when she’s calmed down.

Tier Three

You made the fatal but common mistake of moving in with each other after six dates in the first lockdown, and now it’s like you’ve been married for 20 years and you can’t get them out of your house. They’ve been on furlough while you’ve been working from home and they still haven’t managed to do the dishes once. Your housemate is about to frame them for murder if they don’t leave soon. What if their furlough ends and you have to marry them? You Google which countries you’re legally allowed to move to during the pandemic.

Movies

Cineworld
Credit: Gabriel Kuchta/Getty Images

Tier One

You’re at a comedy gig supporting your local independent cinema, with five mates, and you’re getting smashed at the bar. Was there a film? You can’t remember. You’ve been speaking to the manager for 45 minutes now and the next day you’re pretty sure you now own shares in the company.

Tier Two

You’re in the cinema! With a mate! And there’s hardly anyone in here. You’ve taken out a small business loan and bought a medium popcorn and a large Diet Coke. And snuck in a mini bottle of JD to spice it up – you’re not made of money.

Tier Three

You’ve paid money for a new release from the Curzon and you’re feeling very pleased with yourself. You tell yourself you love subtitles anyway.

Reading

Bowie loved a good book. Credit: Getty

Tier One

You’ve bought some books. They look… quite nice on your shelf?

Tier Two

You’ve read a couple of brain-meltingly bad books because they’d been adapted into films you wanted to watch. You desperately wish you could read double the amount and enjoy it. Where do people find the time?

Tier Three

You post Instagram photos of piles of books taller than you saying ‘This week’s reading!’ and a 600-word caption about your favourites and why you liked them. You’re in five grand’s worth of debt from buying books and your favourite thing is when someone asks you for your recommendations. People hate you.

Live music

A socially distanced gig in Sweden. Credit: Gianluca La Bruna

Tier One

God, this is great! You’re at a live gig! In a field! People are dancing, the atmosphere is electric, the world is going to be ok again! You’ve kissed a stranger, you’re there with twelve mates, is that siren part of the music or is it…? Never mind. It’s so loud and everyone is having a brilliant time of it – oh, God, the sirens are here it’s the police, isn’t it? Someone shouts, ‘If they ask, all five thousand of us live together!’ You snog the stranger again and hold their hand. Fuck it, it was worth it.

Tier Two

Yes, sure, it’s table service and the music isn’t going to change the world, but you’re here and that’s what counts. There’s no mosh pit, but there is a snacks menu called Nosh Pit, and you appreciate the effort.

Tier Three

You’ve streamed a gig online and you’re watching it in your pants. Maybe the new world isn’t so bad after all?

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