Great Britain

Covid tier rules: Everything you can and can’t do in tiers 1, 2 and 3

Matt Hancock has confirmed which tiers different areas of England will fall under once the nationwide lockdown comes to an end on 2 December.

On Thursday, the health secretary gave a speech at the House of Commons, during which he said the country will return to a tiered approach from next week, in a bid to drive the coronavirus transmission rate down ahead of Christmas.

He added that the tier levels will be reviewed in two weeks and urged everyone to “think of our own responsibilities to keep the virus under control".

“The less any one person passes on the disease, the faster we can get this disease under control together,” he said.

While the rules will be similar to the postcode system first used in October, with different parts of the country split up into “medium”, “high” or “very high” local alert, depending on case numbers and transmission rates in that region, this version will involve some tougher restrictions.

“Without sensible precautions, we would risk the virus escalating into a winter or new year surge,” Mr Johnson warned. “While the previous tiers did cut the R-number they were not quite enough to cut it below one.”

In order to find out which alert level you are in, you can use the postcode search available on the government website and the NHS Covid 19 app will also show which local alert level applies in which area.

So, what are the new rules each tier? Here is everything you need to know.

Tier 1

In Tier 1, which is otherwise known as “medium” alert level, you must not socialise in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors. This is referred to as the “rule of six”.

You are allowed to meet people from other households and you may visit pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues together, so long as you stay within a group of six or less.

When meeting people from other households you should still follow social distancing rules and try to limit how many different people in total you see socially over any short period of time.

The government also advises that when meeting people you do not live with, you should try and do so outdoors where possible, or to make sure that any indoor venue has good ventilation (for example by opening windows so that fresh air can enter).

Businesses and venues in the hospitality sector can remain open in tier 1 areas. However, pubs and restaurants must stop taking orders at 10pm and close completely at 11pm.

The early closure also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parts and bingo halls.

Outlets selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

Restaurants and pubs must offer table service only and enforce the rule of six indoors and outdoors. Customers are also required to wear face masks when not seated at their table.

Wedding ceremonies and receptions can take place in tier 1, however there must be no more than 15 guests in attendance.

Funerals can also take place with a limit of 30 people.

These events must comply with social distancing rules and venues should also follow Covid-secure measures.

Places of worship can remain open, but you must not attend or socialise in groups of more than six people while there, unless a legal exemption applies.

People in tier 1 areas are advised to walk or cycle if you need to travel anywhere, but where this is not possible, you can use public transport or drive. If you are using public transport, be sure to wear a face covering.

If you live in a tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there.

Avoid travel to or overnight stays in tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can also travel through a tier 3 area as part of a longer journey

Anyone who can work from home in tier 1 is being advised to do so.

However, employees that work in essential services, such as education, can continue to go into work where necessary.

Anyone else who cannot work from home is also permitted to go to their place of work.

Tier 2

In Tier 2, the “high” alert level, you must not socialise with anyone you do not live with or who is not in your support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

You must also not socialise in a group of more than six people outside, including in a garden or a public space.

Businesses in tier 2 areaas can continue to operate in a Covid-secure manner.

However, pubs and bars must close unless they also operate as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals, must provide table service only, stop taking orders at 10pm and close at 11pm.

Any establishments selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

Just like tier 1, the early closure rule also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parts and bingo halls.

In tier 2, wedding ceremonies and receptions can go ahead but there must be no more than 15 guests.

Similarly, funerals can still take place but with no more than 30 people in attendance.

Places of worship will remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while there.

People in tier 2 areas can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

If you are using public transport, be sure to wear a face covering.

Just like tier 1, people in tier 2 are encouraged to work remotely if possible but, anyone who cannot do so is permitted to travel to their place of work if necessary.

Tier 3

In tier 3, also known as the “very high” alert level, you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden and most outdoor venues.

You are also not allowed to socialise in a group of more than six in some outdoor public spaces, such as parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.

Hospitality settings, such as bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close in tier 3 areas, but they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must also close. There are a number of exemptions however, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.

Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close, including play centres, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, amusement arcades, cinemas, theatres and concert halls.

Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close, including those within zoos and wildlife reserves, aquariums, model villages, museums, theme parks and heritage sites.

Weddings and funerals can still go ahead in tier 3 areas but, just like in tier 1 and 2, there are restrictions on the number of attendees.

A limit of 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies but wedding receptions are not allowed.

Meanwhile, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

If you live in a tier 3 area, you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

You should also avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.

People in tier 3 should work from home if possible.

However, if you are unable to work remotely, or you are a public-sector employee working in essential services, you can continue to go into work where necessary.

You can read more about the three alert levels on the government website here.

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