COVID: What are the new tier restrictions?


As England emerges out of its second national lockdown, we re-enter a life of tiered restrictions. But what exactly does that mean?

Just like in October, the government has reintroduced the tier system to start on 2nd December. This means each area of England will have different restrictions depending on case numbers, pressure on NHS services and the reproduction rate (R number) in the area. 

However, this time around, the restrictions are far more restrictive with most of the country having been placed into tier 2 and 3 which do not allow for any mixing of households. 

The following rules apply to all tiers:

  • Face coverings must be worn in indoor public settings
  • You should try and avoid public transport where possible
  • Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open for you to attend unless you are instructed to self isolate
  • Social distancing rules should be followed
  • Work from home where possible
  • Wash your hands regularly
  • Essential shops and services as well as certain non-essential businesses may remain open. This includes: gyms, shops, leisure centres, swimming pools, hairdressers and places of worship
What tier am I in?

The government’s website  has a handy postcode search tool to find out what tier you’re in here: www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

Can I travel between tiers? 

Travel between tiers is permitted, but should only be done for essential reasons such as work, to care for a dependant or to tend to animals. When visiting a different area, make sure to follow the local guidelines for the tier of that local area. 

Travel in or out of a tier 3 area is strongly discouraged. 

Can I eat at a restaurant?

Restaurants may recommence table service depending on your tier.

Tier 1

Hospitality venues can open and you may eat or drink indoors with your household or others, following the rule of six. Last orders are at 10pm and venues must close by 11pm. 

Tier 2

Hospitality venues may open but alcohol may only be served with a substantial meal, meaning many bars and pubs will have to remain closed. 

You cannot meet with another household inside a hospitality venue and household groups should not exceed 6 people. 

Last orders are at 10pm and the venue must close by 11pm. 

Tier 3

Hospitality venues must stay closed but may offer drive thru, click and collect and/or delivery services. 

Can I attend my place of worship?

Yes, places of worship will remain open in every tier, but socialising will be discouraged or forbidden depending on the tier. Other regulations such as social distancing and wearing a mask should still be adhered to in every tier.

Tier 1

You can attend either with members of your household or others but groups should be limited to no more than 6 people, unless a legal exemption applies.

Tier 2 and 3

You should only attend with members of your household/bubble and once inside, you should not socialise with those outside of your household.

Can I attend team sports or exercise classes?

Exercise is continuing to be encouraged, but greater emphasis on the rule of 6 is to be observed.

Tier 1

Organised sports activities and exercise classes are permitted to continue outdoors. Indoor activities are allowed to continue provided the rule of 6 is followed. 

Tier 2

Outdoor organised sport and exercise events are allowed to continue. Indoor sports should only take place if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people you don’t live or bubble with. 

Tier 3

Outdoor activities can continue. Contact and higher-risk sports however, should be avoided. 

Can I go to sport events?

Unlike the first tier system, sporting and entertainment events will be allowed but with strict regulations to help minimise the spread.

Tier 1

Up to 4,000 people are allowed to attend outdoor and indoor events, or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Tier 2

Up to 2,000 people are allowed to attend outdoor events and 1,000 people at indoor events, or 50% capacity, whichever is smaller.

Tier 3

Indoor and large outdoor events are to remain closed, but drive-in venues are permitted to remain open.

Can I go to a wedding/funeral?

Weddings, funerals and other special ceremonies are permitted in every tier, with 15 guests allowed to attend a wedding ceremony and 30 are allowed at funerals.

Tier 1 and 2

Wedding receptions are permitted to continue and 15 guests are allowed to attend.

Tier 3

Receptions are not permitted in tier 3.

Can I go on holiday?

Yes! Accommodation venues such as Air B&B, hotels and motels are permitted to stay open, so staying away from home or visiting a second home is allowed in tiers 1 and 2.

Overnight stays are also permitted in tier 3 but only if required for work, education or other necessary reasons.

How long will it last?

The tier system may seem pretty restrictive but it’s necessary to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It also won’t last forever; the government has committed to reviewing the tiers every 2 weeks, and it’s hoped the system will be redundant by March 2021.

For more information about COVID-19, government guidelines, and PPE, visit www.fullsupporthealthcare.com.


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