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)
When meeting people you do not live with, it is important to do so outdoors where possible, or to make sure that any indoor venue has good ventilation (for example by opening windows so that fresh air can enter).
Why the government is introducing tiers
It is right to apply tighter restrictions where prevalence is highest. In September and October, the virus spread rapidly in all parts of the country. The government responded with new national restrictions. These have brought transmission back under control.
The government will replace them on 2 December with a regionally-differentiated approach, where different tiers of restrictions apply in different parts of the country.
These tiers will be strengthened compared to the previous tiers in order to prevent a return to growing infections. We know that social contact spreads the virus. We need to impose these restrictions and it is right to target the toughest measures only in the areas where the virus is most prevalent or where we are seeing sharper increases in the rate of infection.
The government is committed to ensuring the right levels of intervention in the right places to manage outbreaks, suppress the virus and keep R below 1.
There are 3 tiers for local restrictions:
On Thursday 26 November the government will announce which areas are in which tier. You will be able to use the postcode checker to find out the restrictions in your area or an area you plan to visit. The NHS COVID-19 app will be updated on 2 December.
The new rules will come into effect from the beginning of Wednesday 2 December.
What tiers mean
This guidance sets out what you can and cannot do in each tier.
There is separate guidance for households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection and additional advice at each tier will be provided shortly for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus.
Support bubbles have been expanded. From 2 December you can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:
- you are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020) or are the only adult who does not have a disability that needs continuous care
- you have a child under 1
- you live with a child under 5 with a disability that needs continuous care
The government will announce the arrangements that will be in place over the Christmas period shortly.
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
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will be published shortly.
All businesses and venues that are open are expected tofollow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. In all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:
essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales
certain leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier. Indoor group activities and classes should not take place at tier 3
personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons
public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls. They should not host events for private hire, such as birthday parties or most other social activities in tier 3
allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets, car parks
essential public services such as the NHS and medical services, courts, and jobcentre plus sites
places of worship communal worship can now resume, subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier
Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing they should continue to travel to their workplace. Public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary
Tier 1: Medium alert
In tier 1:
you must not socialise in groups larger than 6 people, indoors or outdoors, other than where a legal exemption applies. This is called the rule of 6
businesses and venues can remain open, in a COVID secure manner, other than those which remain closed by law, such as nightclubs
hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:
provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol
close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt)
stop taking orders after 10pm
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
early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm
public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors
public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50% capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 peop