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Three-tier coronavirus alert levels: Tier 1, 2 and 3 rules explained

Every area in England falls into one of three alert levels. This page outlines what the guidelines are for each level and what you can and can't do in your area. 

What's the alert level in your area?

If you don't know the alert level in your area there's a full list on the Government website.


Tier 1 - Medium Alert: what it means for you

How long will the restrictions be in place?

The restrictions and regulations are reviewed every 28 days.

Meeting with others

You can see people from different households both indoors and outdoors, but only in groups of up to 6 people.

Travel and transport

There are no restrictions on travel or use of transport but you should still wear a face covering.

Staying overnight

There are no restrictions on staying overnight somewhere other than your house. But you can only go away with those inside your household or support bubble in a group of up to 6.

Going to work

You should work from home where possible. Where this isn't possible, workplaces should be coronavirus secure.

Shops

These can remain open.

Hospitality

Restaurants, pubs, cafés and other hospitality venues remain open. However, they must close by 10pm and provide table service.

Exercise and sporting activity

Gyms can remain open.

Organised sport and licensed physical activity are allowed in indoor and outdoor settings but may be subject to certain rules.

You can't attend sporting events such as football matches.

Places of worship

They can open subject to the rule of six, but it's best to check with your place of worship. There are exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Weddings and civil partnerships

Up to 15 people can attend a wedding ceremony and a coronavirus secure sit-down reception.

Funerals

Up to 30 people can attend someone’s funeral and up to 15 people can attend someone’s wake, but this can't be held in someone's home.

Care home visits

You may be able to visit a loved one living in a care home on a regular basis, but every care home's policy is likely to be different. Contact the care home for more information.

 

Public buildings, such as libraries

These can remain open.


Tier 2 - High Alert: what it means for you

How long the restrictions will be in place

The alert level is reviewed every 14 days and the rules and regulations are reviewed every 28 days.

Meeting with others

You can see people from different households outside in groups of up to 6 people but you can only meet inside with those in your household or support bubble.

Travel and transport

Journeys should be limited where possible, but you can still travel and use transport to go to the shops, work and hospitality venues that are open. You should still wear a face covering.

Staying overnight

You can only stay overnight somewhere if it's with those in your household or support bubble.

Going to work

You should work from home where possible. Where this isn't possible, workplaces should be coronavirus secure.

Shops

These can remain open. 

Hospitality

Restaurants, pubs, cafés and other hospitality venues remain open.

These venues must close by 10pm and provide table service.

You can only go out to these places with people from your household or support bubble, unless you're outside and in a group of no more than 6 people.

Exercise and sporting activity

Gyms can remain open.

Organised sport and licensed physical activity are allowed in indoor and outdoor settings but may be subject to certain rules.

You can't attend sporting events such as football matches.

Places of worship

They can open as long as households don't mix indoors, but it's best to check with your place of worship. There are exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Weddings and cvil partnerships

Up to 15 people can attend a ceremony and a coronavirus secure sit-down reception.

Funerals

Up to 30 people can attend someone's funeral and up to 15 people can attend someone's wake, but this can't be held in someone's home.

Care home visits

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to visit a loved one at this time, except in exceptional circumstances, such as if someone is coming to the end of their life. Contact the care home for more information as every care home has a different policy. 

Public buildings such as libraries

These can remain open. 


Tier 3 - Very High Alert: what it means for you

How long will the restrictions be in place?

Areas should only be at this level for 28 days then a review should take place.

Meeting with others

 

You can meet with others in public outdoor places, such as beaches or parks, but only in groups of up to 6 people. 

You can only meet indoors or in private outdoor spaces, such as someone's garden, or hospitality venues with those in your household or support bubble. 

Travel and transport

Journeys should be minimised, but you can still travel to go to the shops, works and hospitality venues that are open. You should still wear a face covering.

You're advised against travelling out of your area (although exceptions apply, for example for work, education or caring responsibilities). 

Staying overnight

You can't stay overnight somewhere if it means you will be inside with people outside your household or support bubble

You're advised against overnight stays in other parts of the UK and people outside of these very high alert areas are advised not to stay in these areas. If you do stay overnight, it can only be with people in your household or support bubble and you're advised to stay within the very high alert level area.

Going to work

You should work from home where possible. Where this isn't possible, workplaces should be coronavirus secure.

Shops

Shops remain open

Hospitality

Restaurants, pubs and cafés can remain open but may be subject to local closures.

These venues have to close by 10pm and must provide table service.

Pubs and bars must serve a substantial meal with the purchase of alcohol. 

You can only go out to these places with people from your household or support bubble.

Exercise and sporting activity

Gyms may be closed, depending on local area decisions.

Organised sport and licensed physical activity are allowed in indoor and outdoor settings.

You can't attend sporting events such as football matches.

Places of worship

They can open as long as households don't mix indoors or outdoors, but it's best to check with your place of worship. There are exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Weddings and civil partnerships

Up to 15 people can attend a ceremony, but wedding receptions aren't allowed.

Funerals

Up to 30 people can attend someone’s funeral and up to 15 people can attend someone’s wake, but this can't be held in someone's home.

Care home visits

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to visit a loved one at this time, except in exceptional circumstances, such as if someone is coming to the end of their life. Contact the care home for more information as every care home has a different policy. 

Public buildings such as libraries

These can remain open dependent on local decisions.


Do the restrictions affect everyone?

Every local area is at one of the three alert levels, so the new guidelines will affect most people. However, there are some exceptions.

If you live in a high or very high-risk area there are some exceptions to the rules, where you can meet with other people, outside of the above guidelines. These are:

  • If you're meeting with people who are in your support or childcare bubbles
  • For work or volunteering.
  • To provide care or assistance to someone who is vulnerable
  • To fulfil a legal obligation
  • For outdoor exercise or outdoor dance classes
  • To visit someone who is dying
  • As a birth partner
  • For a funeral or wedding (there are restrictions on numbers)
  • To attend support groups
  • To protest.

If you were previously asked to shield, the Government has outlined some extra precautions you should take depending on the alert level in your area. You can read more about these on our Shielding, social distancing and self-isolation page


Can I travel to an area that's in a different tier to mine?

If you’re travelling to an area in a higher tier than where you live you should follow the guidance of that area. 

If you’re travelling to an area in a lower tier level you should continue to follow the guidance of the area where you live.  

Everyone is advised against travelling to or from an area in very high alert level (tier 3). There are some exceptions though such as if it’s for work, education or caring responsibilities or you are passing through as part of a longer trip.   

 

We have lots more coronavirus information. If you have any more questions about the current guidance or just want to know more then why not have a look at our coronavirus hub?

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Last updated: Oct 27 2020

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