New three-tiered Covid Alert System in England: How will it work?

A new three-tier system of local lockdown measures for England has been announced to try to curb rising COVID-19 rates.
A government leaflet with coronavirus advice and a pair of blue disposable gloves

What restrictions will apply under each level?

Tier 1: Local alert level - Medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place. This means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.
  • Schools, universities, and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • People must not meet in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors

Tier 2: Local alert level - High

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People must not meet in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other space.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Tier 3: Local alert level - Very High

In areas with a very high level of infections, the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

Find out the restrictions in your area

Use this postcode checker on GOV.UK to find out what applies where you live.

If you are shielding or you have been identified as vulnerable

Check out updated guidance on GOV.UK: Guidance on shielding and protecting people who are clinically extremely vulnerable from COVID-19

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