As the number of COVID-19 cases rises across England, the UK government has recently introduced a new three-tier system for England to help tackle the outbreak. The aim of the COVID-19 three-tier system is to apply the appropriate levels of interventions based on the needs of a specific geographical area.
The new system is complex, and is comprised of three tiers according to the COVID alert level:
- Tier 1 – medium local COVID alert level
- Tier 2 – high local COVID alert level
- Tier 3 – very high local COVID alert level
Crucially, when a region moves up a tier, new restrictions are introduced on top of/in addition to the previous restrictions.
Tier 1: Medium local COVID alert level
Most of England is already in Tier 1, as it encompasses the standard rules that have already been introduced. These are as follows:
- You must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors;
- Hospitality venues close at 10 pm, but can continue to serve food through via home delivery or takeaway service;
- Businesses and venues can continue to stay open but must operate in a COVID-secure manner;
- Universities, schools and places of worship remain open;
- Weddings and funerals go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees; and
- Exercise classes and organised sport can continue both outdoors and indoors if the rule of 6 is followed.
All pre-existing guidelines continue to apply, including:
- Wearing a face mask in areas where it is mandated by law;
- Following social distancing rules;
- Working from home where possible; and
- Plan ahead when travelling - avoid busy routes and times and walk or cycle if possible.
Tier 2: High local COVID alert level
Most areas that have been placed under local restrictions have automatically moved into the high alert level.
Tier 2 adds a further set of restrictions on top of Tier 1.
- Your must not socialise indoors with anybody outside of your household or support bubble; and
- Exercise classes will only be allowed indoors if it is feasible to avoid mixing people from different households, or for youth or disability sport.
What stays the same:
- Outdoor meetings are still allowed while following the rule of 6;
- Exercise classes continue to be allowed outdoors while following the rule of 6;
- Businesses and venues can continue to operate in a COVID-secure manner;
- Hospitality venues continue to close at 10pm, but can still serve food through delivery or takeaway;
- Universities, schools, and places of worship remain open; and
- Weddings and funerals continue to go ahead with restrictions on the numbers of attendee
All other guideline (wearing masks, social distancing, working from home) remain in place.
Tier 3: Very High local COVID alert level
Tier 3 introduces additional restrictions:
- You must not socialise indoors or outdoors with anyone that is not a member of your household or support bubble except in public places such as parks;
- Pubs and bars are closed unless they operate like a restaurant, meaning they serve substantial meals. All alcoholic drinks must be served with food;
- People are advised not to travel outside of the high-risk area unless necessary; and
- People are advised not to stay overnight in another part of the UK or journey into a high alert level area.
What remains the same:
- Universities, schools, and places of worship remain open;
- Weddings and funerals continue to go ahead with restrictions on the numbers of attendees; and
- Exercise classes continue to be allowed outdoors while following the rule of 6 but will only be allowed indoors if it is feasible to avoid mixing people from different households, or for youth or disability sport.
All other pre-existing guidelines (wearing masks, social distancing, working from home) remain in place.
Crucially, Tier 3 restrictions can vary from area to area based on discussion between central and local government. To keep up to date with the latest restrictions in your local area, click here.
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