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Lockdown rules are changing again – how does the three-tier system work?

Written by on 12 October 2020

A new three-tier system of local lockdown measures for England has been announced to try to curb rising COVID-19 rates.

The Local COVID Alert Levels – “medium”, “high” and “very high” – will be implemented depending on local infection rates.

What are the rules for the different tiers?

Tier 1 – medium:

  • 10pm curfew for bars, pubs and restaurants
  • Gatherings of more than six people banned, apart from some settings such as funerals and weddings

Tier 2 – high:

  • Mixing of households indoors not allowed
  • Two households can meet in a private garden – rule of six and social distancing rules apply

Tier 3 – very high:

  • No mixing of households indoors and outdoors, including in private gardens
  • Pubs and bars to close
  • Restaurants, and pubs that can operate as restaurants, allowed to stay open
  • Local politicians will decide if gyms, betting shops, casinos, hairdressers and beauty salons should close
  • Non-essential shops, schools and universities to remain open
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Travel outside area advised against

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Which areas are in which tier?

Some areas are confirmed as being in a specific tier, but Boris Johnson said he is in talks with leaders of other areas in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humber who could move into the third tier.

Here are the ones already confirmed:

Tier 1:

  • The prime minister said Tier 1 will cover most of the country. The government is likely to publish tier levels for every local authority in England later on Monday.

Tier 2:

  • Nottinghamshire
  • Warrington
  • East and West Cheshire
  • Birmingham
  • Greater Manchester
  • Part of High Peak
  • Wolverhampton

Tier 3:

  • Liverpool City Region, from Wednesday (gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos will also close)

Why has the system been developed?

Different parts of the country are experiencing differing rates of COVID-19 transmission, with the North West currently rising fastest.

The government has decided a local lockdown approach will be more effective than another national lockdown.

They will have to adhere to different rules depending on their case, hospital admission and death rates.