United Kingdom

People in Tier Two and Three towns quizzed on local lockdown rules

Throughout the pandemic the nation has been forced to grapple with a blizzard of restrictions that are being constantly added, removed and tweaked.

Boris Johnson's latest strategy to suppress the virus has carved up England into three alert level tiers which forces millions to obey differing rules.

The wide-ranging measures, which divide loved-ones, have left many struggling to get to grips with their local curbs and toe the line between law and guidance. 

For months ministers have been dogged by accusations of mixed messaging, particularly when telling people to Eat Out to Help Out before appearing to blame the public for becoming too relaxed.    

MailOnline today lays bare the confusion with the results of a Covid-19 questionnaire - where not one person correctly mastered the rules they are supposed to follow. 

People surveyed in the Tier 2 cities of London and Birmingham produced wildly varying answers, as did those quizzed in Liverpool's Tier 3. 

It comes as a study reveals just 13 per cent of people feel they 'fully understand' the current set of restrictions.

Scroll down to hear from people on the streets of lockdown Britain - and how they see the rules.

Tier 2: London and Birmingham

England's capital and second city are both living under Tier 2 restrictions in the 'high' alert level. 

Under Tier 2 different households are not allowed to mix indoors but can meet outside.

Tier 2 also encases the nationwide restrictions such as the Rule of Six and the 10pm curfew.

MailOnline quizzed residents in London's Clapham borough and Birmingham on the restrictions.

What are the rules on going to the pub? 

Correct answer:  You can only meet people from other households outside at a pub such as in a beer garden. You can't meet them indoors.

What the public thought: 

Stacey Prince, 34, from Clapham, became muddled and answered: 'Yeah I can go and meet them in the pub but I can't have them in my house,' when actually she cannot meet friends from a different household in the pub either.

Bob Morton, 70, a retired security guard from Birmingham, said you can meet friends in the pub: 'I think it's four or six'

Matthew Dineen, 26, from London, correctly responded: 'You can't meet anyone you don't live with inside.' The social media editor added: 'And then if you want to meet them outside, I think that's fine.'

Samantha Westsland, 36, unemployed from Stirchley, Birmingham, agreed and said: 'You can't meet people inside otherwise you get fined for meeting people from different households.' 

Referencing the 10pm curfew but failing to acknowledge the restrictions on different households mixing indoors, Paul Hand, 38, open university student from Longbridge, Birmingham, said: 'You have to be out of the city centre by 10pm, but I don't really go out to the pub.'   

Bob Morton, 70, a retired security guard, said: 'Yeah, you can meet people at the pub, I think it's four or six. 

'You have to phone the pub and space out, quite sensible. You can only meet four.'

What are the rules on viewing a house? 

Correct answer: You can still view a house for sale or rent with an estate agent.  

What the public thought: 

While the pandemic originally brought the housing market to a virtual standstill, Government incentives such as a Stamp Duty holiday has spurred activity.

But many people became unstuck on the Tier 2 rules on viewing a house.

Quizzed on the rules for holidaying outside Tier 2, John Fogarty, 25, a maths teacher from Birmingham city centre, said: 'Man I don't know'

Student Mr Hand said: 'I haven't got a clue about that. I'm sure you can still do it in person.'

Similarly stumped, Ms Westland responded: 'I have no idea about that.' 

And James Metcalfe, 21, a cable puller from Hartlepool, working in Birmingham, agreed: 'I don't know. I would've thought you have to view it online. I honestly don't know.'

Whereas Mr Morton incorrectly replied: 'You're not allowed to view a house.'

Jean Macintyre, 72, Jewellery Quarter, former charity CEO, with two children and four grandchildren correctly responded: 'I imagine it's exempt because the industry has got to carry on.'

John Fogarty, 25, a maths teacher from Birmingham city centre, also got it right and said: 'I think you are allowed. I viewed mine during the last lockdown. I had a mask on, the estate agent had gloves.'

Can you invite your friends and family into your home?

Correct answer: No, unless they are in your support bubble.

What the public thought? 

Kamajeet Kapur, 35, from London, said: who owns a letting agency, told us: 'It is still six, if you meet outdoors, but indoors you are not allowed to meet your friends, yes. So one household indoors.'

Londoner Sean O'Riordan, 29, who owns a coffee stall, correctly stated you can't mix indoors with other households in Tier 2

Fellow Londoner Sean O'Riordan, 29, who owns a coffee stall, agreed: 'In London indoors at the moment you can't as far as I know.'   

Birmingham's Ms Westland, Mr Meltcalfe, Mr Fogarty and Ms Macintyre all answered: 'No'. 

Some people were confused by the support bubble exemption, which allows people living alone to join with another household. 

Mr Morton responded: 'You can't have friends and only certain family members like brothers and sisters.' 

Martin Smithers, 53, who works as a mover, took a pop at politicians when he answered.

He said: 'Not half of these MPs they've gone and done it against the rules in the first place.'   

What are the rules on funerals and weddings?

Correct answer: Up to 15 people at weddings, up to 30 people at funerals. Wedding receptions and wakes still permitted with up to 15 people. 

What the public thought: 

Matt French, 23, a product manager, said: 'I'm not really sure on that one. Yes I'm not sure about that one. Mr Hand also said: 'I'm not sure.'

Mr Dinneen replied: 'I think you're allowed 25 guests at your wedding. But again I haven't a clue.'

But Ms Prince thought the number was as high as 30, quickly adding she would not go due to the risk of catching the virus. 

Paul Hand, 38, an Open University student from Birmingham became confused with the rules on mixing in gardens in Tier 2, which thought was banned

Ms Westland said: 'I think weddings are maybe a no-no, but I think it's 30 for funerals. It was 30 at one point... I think it's six for weddings. 

Mr Morton also became muddled with his numbers and said: 'I think it's about 10 for both.'

Likewise, Mr Fogarty said: 'It used to be you were allowed to gather at them, but that got a bit morbid. Maybe a small number of people are allowed. I guess it is still six.' 

Ms Macintyre got her numbers the wrong way around and said: 'It is 15 for one and 30 for the other. I think 15 for a funeral, but no reception or gathering afterwards.'

Mr Metcalfe said: 'Under 30 for a funeral. I don't know about weddings. I think 30 or under.'

What are the rules on going on holiday outside a Tier 2 area?

Correct answer: You can go on holiday outside a Tier 2 area, but only to a Tier 1 or 2 area and only with your own household. 

What the public thought? 

Margaret Olupadio, 65, a Tube worker, simply said: 'You've got to do the quarantine here, quarantine there, and come back and quarantine again.'

Mover Mr Smithers said: 'I haven't got a clue. I should imagine Tier 3 probably not, Tier one yes.'

Whereas Mr Dinneen said: 'I think you're okay.'

But the rules on this complicated. The answer is no, if you live in a Tier 2 area you also cannot meet indoors with people from outside of the area. 

Mastering the rule, Ms Macintyre said: 'You have to take Tier 2 rules with you even in Tier 1, the rule of six and only your own household.' 

Asked if you can view a house in Tier 2, James Metcalfe, 21, a cable puller from Hartlepool, working in Birmingham, said: 'I don't know. I would've thought you have to view it online'

You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

Mr Hand said: 'They are very strict. You can still go down to a lower level, but because we're high level I don't think you can go to Cornwall.'

Ms Westland was unsure on the answer, but correctly observed: 'I know you can only go in your household.'

Mr Morton said: 'I don't think you can go out of Birmingham to Cornwall (Tier 1), or Manchester (Tier 3). I don't think anyone would want to go to Manchester at the moment.'  

His remarks were echoed by Mr Metcalfe: 'I wouldn't know mate. I think you can go to Cornwall with who lives in your household. 

'You can go to Manchester but I wouldn't recommend it. Avoid Manchester at all costs.'

Stumped, Mr Fogarty said: 'Man, I don't know. I hope so because I wanted to go home to Essex at half term. They're Tier 2 as well, so I don't know.'   

How many people from other households can you meet in your garden?

Correct answer: You can have a total of up to six people from multiple households in a private garden. 

What the public thought: 

Nikki, 52, from London, replied: 'I don't have a garden, but I would. Yes.' But Mr French added: 'It's a bit of a weird one, because technically you would have to go through your house or I guess you could kind of climb over the fence I guess.'

People may continue to see friends and family they do not live with (or have not formed a support bubble with) outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space.

The act of going through the house to get to the garden also left others stumbling over the rules.

Mr Hand said: 'You can't do that because there's no mixing of households, not even in the garden. You've got to go through the house to get to the garden.' 

Jean Macintyre, 72, former charity CEO from Birmingham, thought there was a limit of two households mixing outdoors in Tier 2. Actually there can be multiple households up to six people

Mr Fogarty added: 'I guess that counts as the house, I don't think that's allowed. Maybe if you have someone to mow your lawn. That's probably fine. But I don't think you should be hanging out.' 

Answering correctly, Ms Westland said: 'I think it's rule of six in the garden with different households.'

Mr Morton said: 'I think it is six, but I just meet my partner. I only know the rules vaguely.'

Ms Macintyre said: 'The rule of six applies everywhere and doesn't have to just be your household. I think there's a limit of two hosueholds.'

Told the answer, she reacted: 'Good god, so everyone could be from different households. That seems a bit ludicrous.'

Mr Metcalfe was not completely sure, but figured out the answer: 'Just people in your household isn't it? I don't know if you can have friends over, maybe five of your mates if you keep two metres apart.'    

What are the rules on using public transport?

Correct answer: The Government says you may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, but you should 'aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible'. Face coverings are mandatory unless you are exempt for medical reasons.

What the public thought: 

Virtually everyone quizzed was aware of the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

Theresa Prince, from Clapham, said: 'You must wear a mask at all times and sanitise your hands.'

Samantha Westsland, 36, unemployed from Stirchley, Birmingham 

Stacey Prince added: 'You have to wear a mask and all of that, but again I'm medically exempt but I get questioned over that.'

But Nikki claimed: 'There are rules but you get all that and of course it doesn't work. It doesn't work.'  

Would you call the police on your neighbour if you saw them breaking the rules?

No correct answer. Matt Hancock has said he would report a rule-breaker to the police but Boris Johnson said he did not want to create a nation of snoopers. 

What the public thought: 

Mr Dinneen said: 'I wouldn't because I don't know the circumstances.' Mr O'Riordan agreed: 'No. I wouldn't no.'

But Ms Kapur replied: 'If they don't listen then yes, I guess we all have to help out.'

And Mr Smithers commented: 'Depending how many people he's got there and how much noise they're making, yes.'

Yet most people were reluctant. Mr Hand said: 'No way, I wouldn't.' Ms Westland agreed: 'No, it's their business.'

Mr Morton said: 'If they were having a house party and I wasn't invited. I hope my neighbours would be more sensible at this time.'

Ms Macintyre said: 'No. if it was a rave with 50 people yes. If my neighbour had their friend round for a cup of coffee, no. Where I live is not a hotspot. If you follow the normal rules like sitting apart it'd be fine.'

Mr Metcalfe added: 'I would probably go next door if they were having a party. If you want honesty.'

Told that students have been fined £40,000, James said: 'I hope it was a good party. I wouldn't have said fine them. It isn't going to help them out.'

And Mr Fogarty said: 'I wouldn't. I don't know exactly how it should be enforced.' 

Tier 3 - Liverpool

Liverpool was the first region plunged into the harshest lockdown of Tier 3 last week.

It has one of the highest coronavirus rates in the country and has seen wet-led pubs, betting halls and casinos forced to close. 

MailOnline quizzed the residents in the North West over their new restrictions. 

What are the rules about going to the pub?

Correct answer: Pubs in Tier 3 are forced to shut unless they serve substantial meals. In these circumstances, you can only go with members of your own household. 

What the public thought: 

Paul Hudmsith, 47, airline crew, became muddled with the new restrictions when he claimed 'you can mix with other households in parks', when this is actually banned

Peter Shaw, 65, who is retired, said that you have to stay far apart and wear a mask, which you can take off for eating.

But under Tier 3 rules you can only be in the pub in the first place if it is operating as a restaurant and serving food.

Joe, a 33-year-old radiographer acknowledged this and correctly stated you can go to the pub if you have a meal.

Paul Hudmsith, 47, airline crew, also perfectly recited the rules: 'Not mixing with any other household, you can go to the pub that serves a substantial meal.'

Yet Stuart, 33, believes you cannot go to the pub at all, as does retired 62-year-old Elizabeth Coffey who said: 'You can't go to the pub, they're shut.' 

Tier 3 also envelopes the nationwide restrictions which includes the Rule of Six and the 10pm curfew.

What are the rules on funerals and weddings?

Correct answer: Weddings can take place with up to 15 people, as can funerals with up to 30 people.

What the public thought: 

Ms Coffey and her friend Carole O'Leary, 75, expressed sympathy with couples wanting to get married, but implied they would be the only ones able to attend the wedding, when actually up to 15 can go. 

Elizabeth Coffey laughed as she confessed to having 'no idea' what the rules were regarding holidays

Mr Hudsmith was nearly right, stating: 'Weddings are limited to 15 guests and funerals a little more than that.'

Stuart said 'you can but in small numbers only', while civil servant Craig Fitzpatrick, 63, was not confident but guessed the ceremonies were limited to the Rule of Six.  

Can you meet people from other households in your garden?

Correct answer: You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

What the public thought: 

Mr Shaw correctly observed that he is only allowed to be indoors with his households, and said his son is not visiting.

Mr Hudsmith became muddled with the new restrictions when he claimed 'you can mix with other households in parks', when this is actually banned.

Also getting confused was Joe who hesitantly said: 'I would say yes. But I don't know.'    

Can you go on holiday outside of Tier 3?

Correct answer: You should not travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area.

What the public thought: 

Ms Coffey laughed as she confessed to having 'no idea' what the rules were regarding holidays.

Joe, a 33-year-old radiographer, when answering if he can meet friends socially, said: 'I would say yes. But I don't know'

Everyone else said that you can go on holiday outside of Tier 3. 

What are the rules on moving house?

Correct answer: You can still move home if you're in a very high alert level area and viewings are allowed.  

What the public thought: 

There was much confusion with this question, with Mr Shaw openly admitting: 'I'm not sure about that.'

While another person, who did not want to be named, was rendered equally as baffled, before going on to state that Liverpool was in Tier 1. 

Mr Hudsmith tentatively responded: 'I'm guessing you could move house if it was just your family.' Stuart correctly said 'as far as I know you can.'  

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