Great Britain

Tier 1 lockdown rules: What are the new restrictions for places under ‘medium’ alert?

Appearing via video link to the House of Commons, the prime minister announced that the lockdown will be replaced with a tighter three-tier system in a bid to keep suppressing coronavirus case numbers throughout the winter months.

Mr Johnson stated that 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.  

However, unlike the first version, this system will reclassify the tiers to mean slightly different things from the first time round. Mr Johnson said: “While the previous tiers did cut the R-number they were not quite enough to cut it below one.”

The government is expected to announce which areas fall under which tier on Thursday. In order to find out which alert level you are in, you can use the postcode search available on the government website, while the NHS Covid 19 app will show which local alert level applies in which area.

Here’s everything you need to know about what you can and cannot do in Tier 1.

Can I see friends and family?

In Tier 1, the “medium” alert level, there are basic restrictions that limit the way you socialise with others. This means you must not socialise in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors. This is referred to as the “rule of six”.

However, you can meet people in 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 friends and family you should still follow social distancing rules when you meet up and limit how many different people in total you see socially over any short period of time.

If you can, meet people outdoors where practical: this is safer because fresh air provides better ventilation.

Can I visit pubs and restaurants?

Businesses and venues in the hospitality sector are allowed to remain open in areas under medium alert. However, they must stop taking orders at 10pm and close completely at 11pm.

However, businesses and venues 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.

Orders must be made via phone, online or by post. Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time.

Restaurants and pubs must offer table service only and enforce the rule of six on mingling indoors and outdoors. Customers are also required to wear face masks when not seated at their table. For example, when being seated or visiting the bathroom.

What about weddings and funerals?

In Tier 1, you can have wedding ceremonies and recepttions with no more than 15 guests.

Funerals can also take place with no more than 30 guests.

Again this has to comply with social-distancing rules and your venue should be following Covid-secure measures.

Can I travel?

You should walk or cycle if you need to travel anywhere, but where this is not possible, you are advised to use public transport or drive.

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

The government advises that 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.

Do I need two work from home?

Those who can work remotely are advised to do so.

However, public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary, the government website states.

Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.

Ensuring you avoid rush hour if possible, and wear face coverings on public transport.

How are the restrictions being imposted?

If you break the restrictions, you can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £6,400.

If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

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

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