May 12, 2021


travel, Always a step ahead

Can you travel between tiers over the holidays?

3 min read

Which places can you visit with your ‘Christmas bubble’ on Christmas day?

Only people in Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas can meet with their Christmas bubble, and only on Christmas day.

You can only meet up with your bubble in private homes or gardens, places of worship or outdoor public spaces, according to the guidance. This would exclude bars, restaurants or other hospitality or entertainment venues.

However, outside of the specific rules relaxed for Christmas, other tiered measures will apply in England. Under Tier 1 restrictions, people must follow the rule of six when meeting other households indoors and outdoors.

In Tier 2, pubs and restaurants are allowed to open, but only if they serve substantial meals, and customers can only meet with members of their household in these venues. Under Tier 3, pubs and restaurants are able to operate as takeaway only.

What about accommodation?

Tier 4 residents should not travel outside of their local area or stay overnight For those in Tiers 1-3, the official guidance states that you should minimise the time you spend with your Christmas bubble and should not stay overnight unless absolutely unavoidable.

You cannot travel to or from England to Scotland or Wales while travel bans are in place, including for overnight stays.

In Wales and in Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas of England, you can only stay in holiday accommodation with people you live with. All of Scotland is to enter level 4 restrictions, which includes the closure of holiday accommodation except for essential customers.

How can you get there?

People in Tier 4 are being discouraged from travelling outside their local area. Those in other Tiers are also being asked to stay local. However, if you need to travel with, or with part of, your Christmas bubble or support bubble over the relaxation period, you should follow the Government’s safer transport guidance. This includes:

  • Plan, and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times.
  • Keep your distance when you travel, where possible.

  • Wash or sanitise your hands regularly.

  • Wear a face covering on public transport in England unless you are exempt.

Different rules for travel apply in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Which tier is my area in – and what does that mean for travel ?

Millions of people are being asked to stay at home from Saturday night, with London and the southeast entering a full lockdown. People in Tier 4 areas are advised against travelling outside their area and against travel abroad.

The Government has released a list of local tier restrictions for England, which came into effect on December 2. The list was to be reviewed every two weeks – you can see the latest tier restrictions, here.

Liverpool, and other parts of England remain in Tier 2, meaning pubs and bars must close unless operating as restaurants that serve substantial meals.

Only Cornwall, the Isle of Wight, Herefordshire and Isles of Scilly are, as of December 17, in Tier 1.

Tier decisions are primarily be based on five key indicators, according to the Cabinet Office: case detection rates in all age groups; case detection rates in the over 60s; the rate at which cases are rising or falling; the positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken); and pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy. 

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