May 13, 2021

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travel, Always a step ahead

Will there be a new national lockdown in January, and when is the next tier review?

6 min read

What does each tier mean? Use this guide to see how the restrictions differ from the previous Tier system. 

Tier 1/medium level

What’s changed?

Boris Johnson said people should continue to work from home where possible in Tier 1.

There is a slight relaxation of the curfew system. Previously in pubs in this tier, customers had to leave by 10pm. Under the new rules, last orders are called at 10pm, with people allowed to finish their food and drinks by 11pm.

Hospitality businesses serving food and drink should close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt).

The 11pm closure also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, bingo halls, theme parks and adventure parks and activities. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

Additionally, spectator sports can resume both indoors and outdoors in Tier 1, with limited numbers and social distancing in place.

The public can also attend performances and shows in theatres and other entertainment venues, both indoors and outdoors, at a limited capacity.

The limits for sports and events are 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the usual capacity outdoors. Indoors, the limit will be 1,000 people.

The Rule of Six returns in Tier 1, with up to six members of different households allowed to mix both indoors and outdoors.

What stays the same?

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups attending religious services are expected to follow the rule of six – with larger families exempt
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees (15 and 30 respectively)
  • Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue, such as golf and tennis
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing)

Tier 1 lockdown rules: what you can and can’t do in ‘medium risk’ alert areas

Tier 2/high level

What’s changed?

The one-hour extension to the pub curfew applies also to pubs in this tier, with last orders at 10pm and customers needing to leave by 11pm. 

Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink 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-through.

Spectator sports can resume both indoors and outdoors in Tier 2, but with limited numbers and social distancing in place. Outdoors, 2,000 people, or 50 per cent of usual capacity, will be allowed to attend in Tier 2. Indoors, the limit is 1,000 people.

However, there is a slight tightening of restrictions for hospitality in this category. Now, alcohol can only be served in pubs and restaurants that serve substantial food, with ‘wet pubs’ and bars that don’t serve food forced to close. Even then, only people of the same household can visit and it will be table service only. 

A Government official has since stated that pub-goers in Tier 2 must leave after finishing their ‘substantial meal’. He warned there should be “no lingering”, and visitors must leave “once their meal is finished”. 

Furthermore, the Local Government Association has argued that a “two-hour turnaround” is the “maximum amount of time” needed for “a meal of multiple courses”. 

As in Tier 1, the public can attend performances and shows in theatres and other entertainment venues outdoors at 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people. Indoors, attendees will be capped at 1,000. 

What stays the same? 

  • In Tier 2 areas, the ban on household mixing indoors continues, although the Rule of Six applies outdoors
  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups are likely to be asked to remain confined to their own household bubbles
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with those they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • People must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • 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 ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Tier 2 lockdown rules: what are the restrictions for ‘high’ alert areas?

Tier 3/very high

What’s changed?

The hospitality and entertainment industry takes the biggest hit under the revised restrictions. 

Pubs and restaurants can stay open for a takeaway service only. Previously, pubs and restaurants were allowed to stay open if they served substantial meals. 

Cinemas have to close, as do theatres and other indoor entertainment venues such as casinos, bingo halls and skating rinks.

Rules have been relaxed for those wishing to exercise. Some areas under Tier 3 had closed gyms, but they can remain open now. 

People can also take part in outdoor sports such as golf and tennis, as well as amateur team sports such as Sunday-league football. 

Following the launch of the Telegraph’s Keep Kids Active campaign, children’s sports have also resumed in all tiers. 

The Rule of Six applies outdoors for Tier 3, where people are permitted to meet in groups of six in public outdoor spaces.

What stays the same?

  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups are likely to be asked to remain confined to their own household bubbles
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees, but wedding receptions are not allowed
  • 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
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18’s)

Tier 3 lockdown rules: what are the ‘very high’ alert level restrictions?

Tier 4/extremely high

What’s changed?

Those in the highest tier of restrictions may feel a sense of déjà vu as these areas are plunged back into strict restrictions similar to those first experienced in the November lockdown.

Residents in these areas must now stay at home, with limited exemptions.

Non-essential retail, restaurants, personal care, leisure facilities and indoors gyms must close.

People should work from home when they can, but may travel to work if this is not possible. This applies, for example, to the construction and manufacturing sectors.

The Government has said local and regional travel is not advised.

Those in Tier 4 areas will not be permitted to travel abroad, apart from limited exceptions such as for work purposes.

Unlike the March and November national restrictions communal worship can continue to take place in Tier 4 areas. 

What stays the same?

  • Pubs, bars and restaurants will only be able to serve takeaway services, and hotels will have to close their doors until the tier level in the local area drops back into Tier 2.  
  • Essential shops are allowed to remain open, as are schools, universities and workplaces.
  • Households in the highest tiers are still not allowed to mix households indoors.
  • 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
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18’s)

Will there be a Tier 5?

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