Regional tiered Covid Alert System in England: How does it work?

A tier system of local lockdown measures for England is being put in place to try to curb rising COVID-19 rates.
A government leaflet with coronavirus advice and a pair of blue disposable gloves

What restrictions apply under each level?

Across all tiers, everyone:

  • must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption

  • should follow the rules on meeting others safely

  • should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers

  • should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling

  • must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances. These exemptions are detailed at the end of this guidance

Tier 1: Local alert level - Medium

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

  • Follow the rule of six when meeting indoors or outdoors.
  • Pubs and restaurants to shut at 11pm.
  • People encouraged to minimise travel and work from home where possible.
  • Spectators allowed at live events and live performances (limited numbers).
  • Personal care including hairdressing allowed. 
  • Schools, universities, and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

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:

  • No household mixing indoors.
  • Rule of six applies outdoors.
  • Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.
  • Spectators allowed at live events and live performances (limited numbers).
  • Personal care including hairdressing allowed. 
  • Places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there.

  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees.

Tier 3: Local alert level - Very High

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

  • No household mixing indoors or outdoors  in hospitality venues or gardens.
  • Rule of six applies in outdoor public spaces such as parks.
  • Pubs and bars must close except for delivery and takeaway.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • Indoor entertainment venues closed.
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors.
  • Guidance against travelling in and out of the area.

Tier 4: Stay at Home

The following measures were announced at the Prime Minister's press conference on Saturday 19 December. The speech was accompanied by this set of slides, showing the rapid spread of COVID-19 in England. 

If you live in a Tier 4 area, you cannot leave or be outside of the place you are living unless you have a reasonable excuse. You cannot meet other people indoors, including over the Christmas and New Year period, unless you live with them, or they are part of your support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household. These rules will not be relaxed for Christmas for Tier 4 – you cannot form a Christmas bubble in Tier 4.


  • A stay at home order is being issued to residents - although those who have to travel for education or work may continue to do so.
  • Social mixing will be restricted to meeting one other person from outside your household in an open public space.
  • All non-essential retail will have to close, along with hairdressers, nail bars and indoor entertainment venues.
  • Support bubbles remain unaffected, as do the exemptions for separated parents and their children.
  • Communal worship may continue to take place, including weddings, funerals, and outdoor memorial services. 
  • No-one in tier four will be allowed to join Christmas Day bubbles in tiers one to three.

Tier 4: Stay at Home guidance on GOV.UK

If you are shielding or you have been identified as vulnerable

Check out our guidance: Coronavirus: What does shielding mean?

Please always check the most up-to-date guidance before making plans to socialise or travel.

Check current guidance on GOV.UK

Check current guidance from Royal Borough of Greenwich


If you require any of the information in this article in a different language or format, please contact us on 020 8301 8340 or email 

COVID-19 Tier Poster - Medium
COVID-19 Tier Poster - High
COVID-19 Tier Poster - Very High
COVID-19 Tier Poster - Stay at Home

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