Covid: What are the new tiers and lockdown rules? Source: BBC NEWS A new, tougher fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions for London and much of south-east England has come into […]

Covid: What are the new tiers and lockdown rules?

Source: BBC NEWS

A new, tougher fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions for London and much of south-east England has come into force.

The whole of Wales has entered another lockdown. And the whole of mainland Scotland will begin a new lockdown from 00:01 on Saturday 26 December.

What are the new rules for Christmas?

The planned relaxation of coronavirus rules at Christmas has been scrapped for tier four areas. People will only be allowed to celebrate Christmas with members of their own household and support bubbles.

Elsewhere in England – and in Scotland and Wales – the plan to allow “Christmas bubbles” for five days is being changed to Christmas Day only. In Northern Ireland one day between 23 and 27 December is allowed.

There will also be a travel ban between England and Scotland throughout the Christmas period.

What are the Covid restrictions in England?

All areas of England have been placed in one of four tiers, depending on factors such as how fast Covid is spreading and pressure on hospitals.

People in tiers one to three are advised not to travel into the new tier four areas.

And across all tiers the government has announced that people should now “stay local”.

Tier 4 banner

Which parts of south-east England have changed to tier four?

All current tier three areas across London and south-east England have moved into tier four restrictions.

The areas affected are:

  • Greater London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • Kent
  • Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
  • Berkshire
  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)
  • Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth
  • Rother and Hastings
  • Bedfordshire
  • Hertfordshire
  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
  • Peterborough

What are the new restrictions in tier four?

The restrictions are similar to the last national lockdown in England, in November. They include:

  • Residents should stay at home, unless they have a “reasonable excuse” such as work or education
  • All non-essential retail will have to close, along with hairdressers, nail bars, and indoor entertainment venues
  • Gyms and indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts and dance studios must close
  • No-one in tier four will be allowed to join Christmas Day bubbles in tiers one to three
  • You cannot meet other people indoors, unless you live with them or they are part of your support bubble
  • People should not leave tier four areas or travel abroad, except in limited circumstances (including work and education)
  • Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are not allowed except in exceptional circumstances

What are you allowed to do in tier four?

Some activities are still allowed:

  • People can meet one other person from another household in an open public space (but must be on their own)
  • Buying things at shops (which are still open) such as food and medicine
  • Support bubbles remain unaffected, as do the exemptions for separated parents and their children
  • Outdoor pools, playgrounds, sports courts, golf courses and horse riding centres can stay open
  • Leaving home for work, education, training, childcare and for medical appointments and emergencies
  • Communal religious worship
Map showing tiers

The measures imposed on London and parts of the south east will be formally reviewed on 30 December.

However, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show restrictions are unlikely to be eased for tier four areas “for some time, until we can get the vaccine going”.

Tier 3 banner
  • You can’t mix indoors, in private gardens or in most outdoor venues, except with your household or bubble
  • You can meet in a group of up to six in other outdoor spaces, such as parks, beaches or countryside
  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressing) can stay open, as can swimming pools
  • Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must stay closed, except for delivery and takeaway
  • Collective worship can take place with no mixing outside of bubbles
  • Small wedding ceremonies can take place, but not receptions
  • Sports fans cannot attend events in stadiums
  • Indoor entertainment venues – such as bowling alleys and cinemas – must stay closed
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas
  • Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone in tier four
Tier 2 banner
  • You can’t mix indoors with anyone apart from members of your household or bubble
  • You can meet in a group of up to six outside – including in a private garden, or a public place
  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressing) can open
  • Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
  • Pubs and restaurants must shut at 23:00 GMT, with last orders at 22:00
  • Sports events in stadiums can be attended by up to 2,000 spectators, or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller)
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can take place (with restrictions)
  • Non-essential foreign travel is allowed, subject to quarantine rules
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas
  • Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone in tier four
Tier 1 banner

Areas in the lowest tier will have some restrictions relaxed:

  • The rule of six will apply indoors and outdoors
  • Spectator sports can resume with a crowd of 50% of capacity, or 4,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
  • Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Herefordshire are currently in tier one
  • Christmas Day bubbles cannot include anyone in tier four

There are exceptions in all tiers for childcare and support bubbles. More details are here.

How were the tiers decided?

The decisions are based on:

  • Total number of Covid cases in an area
  • The number of cases in the over-60s
  • The rate at which cases are rising or falling
  • The proportion of test results coming back positive
  • Pressure on the NHS