Detailed guide: Tier 1: Medium alert

Until 2 December, you should follow the national restrictions.

During the Christmas period (23 to 27 December) different rules on social contact will apply.

Find out what tier your area is in

See an overivew of the rules for Tier 1

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

Hands. Face. Space

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).

Meeting family and friends

You can meet with friends and family you do not live with in a group of up to 6, indoors or outdoors. This is the rule of 6. This limit of 6 includes children of any age.

You can continue to meet in a group larger than 6 if you are all from the same household or support bubble or another legal exemption applies.

Support and childcare bubbles

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles across all tiers. 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 an under-18-year-old living alone
  • you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
  • you live with a child under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
  • you live with a child under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, with a disability

Meeting in larger groups

There are exceptions where people can continue to gather in groups larger than 6:

  • as part of a single household or support bubble
  • in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other peoples homes (see guidance on working safely in other peoples homes)
  • for registered childcare, education or training meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
  • for supervised activities provided for children and those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), childrens groups, activities for under-18s and childrens playgroups
  • for parent and toddler groups up to a maximum of 15 people (under-5s do not count towards this limit). These cannot take place in private dwellings.
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents or guardians to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • support groups of up to 15 participants formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support, where it is necessary for these to take place in person. These cannot take place in private dwellings. Under-5s do not count towards the 15-person limit for support groups
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
  • 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. These cannot take place in private dwellings, except for weddings that take place in exceptional circumstances where one party is seriously ill and not expected to recover
  • for funerals up to a maximum of 30 people and for linked commemorative events, such as wakes or stonesettings up to 15 people. These cannot take place in private dwellings
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their support team if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
  • for organised outdoor sport and physical activity, and organised sports for disabled people
  • to facilitate a house move

Other activities, such as hobby groups, organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, in line with social gatherings limits (the rule of 6). Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities should not go ahead. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport as part of formal education, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), 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, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

If you break the rules

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 given a fixed penalty notice of 200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to 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.

Keeping you and your friends and family safe

When meeting friends and family you should also:

  • follow guidance on social distancing and letting in fresh air
  • limit how many people you see socially over any period of time
  • meet people outdoors if possible: this is safer because fresh air provides better ventilation

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:



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