Detailed guide: Local COVID alert level: medium

Local COVID alert levels are sometimes called tiers or known as a local lockdown.

In all areas of England, you should remember Hands. Face. Space:

  • hands wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
  • face wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
  • space stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)

This guidance is for people who are fit and well. There is separate guidance for:

Meeting family and friends

When seeing friends and family you do not live with (or who are not part of your support bubble), you must not meet in a group of more than 6, indoors or outdoors. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight and visit public places together.

Meeting in larger groups is against the law apart from specific exceptions where people from different households can gather in groups larger than 6 people. The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be fined 200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of 6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of 10,000.

When meeting friends and family you should also:

  • follow social distancing rules when you meet up
  • limit how many different people in total you see socially over any short period of time
  • meet people outdoors where practical: this is safer because fresh air provides better ventilation

Exceptions where people from different households can gather in groups larger than 6 people

These include:

  • in a legally permitted support bubble
  • for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services (see guidance on working safely in other peoples homes)
  • for registered childcare, education or training
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and childrens playgroups
  • for birth partners
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
  • to facilitate a house move
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony and wedding receptions, where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus up to a maximum of 15 people
  • for a funeral, up to a maximum of 30 people; wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present
  • for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
  • for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport and licensed outdoor physical activity
  • for indoor organised sport for disabled people, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s
  • support groups of up to 15 participants formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support
  • protests, if organised in compliance with COVID-secure guidance

Other activities, such as organised indoor sport, including indoor exercise classes and other activity groups, can happen in larger numbers, provided that participants are in separate groups of up to 6 people, which do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities must not go ahead.

Where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work.

Visiting other venues, including restaurants, pubs and places of worship

Venues following COVID-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors in groups larger than 6, unless you all live together, or are in the same support bubble. This includes in:

  • pubs and restaurants
  • leisure and entertainment venues
  • places of worship

At least one person in your group should give their contact details to the venue or check in using the official NHS COVID-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you have any of the following health conditions, you may be clinically vulnerable, meaning you could be at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus. If you are clinically vulnerable you:

  • can go outside as much as you like but you should still try to keep your overall social interactions low
  • can visit businesses, such as supermarkets, pubs and shops, whilst keeping 2 metres away from others wherever possible or 1 metre plus other precautions
  • should continue to wash your hands carefully and more frequently than usual and maintain thorough cleaning of frequently touched areas in your home or workspace

Clinically vulnerable people are those who are:

  • aged 70 or older (regardless of medical conditions)
  • under 70 with an underlying health condition listed below (that is, anyone instructed to get a flu jab each year on medical grounds):
    • chronic (long-term) mild to moderate respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema or bronchitis
    • chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
    • chronic kidney disease
    • chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
    • chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinsons disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) or cerebral palsy
    • diabetes
    • a weakened immune system as the result of certain conditions or medicines they are taking (such as steroid tablets)
    • being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
  • pregnant women

There is a further group of people who are defined, also on medical grounds, as clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus that is, people with specific serious health conditions. At each local COVID alert level, there is



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