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26th November 2020

New Tier System announced for England

Plans to allow a temporary easing of Covid restrictions at Christmas have been announced.

The government has also set out plans for the end of lockdown in England, and a return to a tougher three-tier system of restrictions.

What will England’s new lockdown rules be?

England’s current lockdown will end just after midnight on Wednesday 2 December. After that, the following will apply to all areas:

• Shops, gyms and personal care services will all reopen
• Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports will resume
• People will no longer be limited to seeing one other person outdoors
• The rule of six will apply in outdoor public spaces
• Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules

There will be different rules for pubs and spectator sports in the different tiers.
For details of the tiers, please see below.

For pubs:
• In tier one, they will be able to open until 23:00 GMT, with last orders at 22:00
• In tier two, they can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
• In tier three, hospitality venues must close apart from delivery and takeaway

Spectator sports:
• Can resume in tier one with a maximum crowd of 50% of stadium capacity or 4,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
• Can resume in tier two with 50% of capacity or 2,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
• Cannot resume in tier three

The government will announce on 26 November which areas are in which tiers. This will be formally reviewed every 14 days.

Are there any other changes to the three tier system?

As before, you can only meet people from other households in a group of up to six. Rules about where you can do so apply.

Only those in tier one areas will be able to meet people they don’t live with indoors.

People in tier two can’t socialise with other households indoors. Those in tier three can’t mix with other households indoors, or in private and pub gardens.

There are exceptions for childcare and support bubbles.

People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas.

Key differences in England’s Tier System

See graphic below.

Latest restrictions in Wales

The current rules say:
Two households can form a bubble and will be able to meet in their own homes
• Up to 15 people can meet for organised activities indoors, rising to 30 outdoors
• All businesses required to close during the lockdown can reopen
• Travel throughout Wales is permitted, but people can only go to England for essential purposes, such as work
People who you don’t live with still cannot come into your home socially unless you are in an extended household (bubble) with them. Tradespeople can enter your home to carry out work.

However, from Friday 4 December there are new restrictions:

  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes cannot serve alcohol and must close at 18:00 GMT
  • Takeaways of food or non-alcoholic drinks are allowed after 18:00
  • Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls, museums and galleries must shut

Read Wales’ official guidance.

What are Northern Ireland’s current rules?

Northern Ireland will go into a two-week circuit-break lockdown from 00:01 GMT on Friday 27 November.

Scotland’s Tier System

See graphic below.