Covid Tier 3 rules: What are the new restrictions for 'very high alert' areas?

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Greater Manchester and South Yorkshire will join Lancashire and Liverpool in Tier 3 Covid alert restrictions this weekend, forcing pubs, restaurants and other venues to close as coronavirus cases remain stubbornly high.

But what are the rules for people under Tier 3 restrictions?

Meeting people

Under the strictest Tier 3 restrictions, meeting anyone outside of your household or support bubble is banned.

This includes in any outdoor hospitality setting or private garden.

Meeting people outside your household in any indoor situation is banned.

You may meet up to six people in a public space like a park or beach as long as social distancing is maintained.

Pubs, bars and restaurants

Tier 3 rules mean all pubs and bars must close.

They may reopen if they serve 'substantial meals' and operate as a restaurant.

The government says a substantial meal is "a main lunchtime or evening meal, and they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal."

Anywhere that has been forced to close will be able to access the furlough scheme by the government, but only at 66% of wages rather than the original 80%, offered by the scheme.

Schools and universities

The current Tier 3 rules say schools and universities will remain open, but should cases worsen the government has said it would be willing to go further and may move to close the education system.

Places of worship, weddings and funerals

All places of worship may remain open, but mixing between households is banned.

Weddings and funerals are allowed to go ahead, but restrictions on the number of people and social distancing is place.

But wedding receptions are banned.

Gyms and exercise

There has been some variation between Tier 3 lockdowns over gyms.

In the deal arranged with Lancashire, the government has allowed their gyms to remain open.

In Liverpool, all the gyms have been closed but look set to reopen again.

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Exercise classes are allowed to take place outdoors, they are only allowed indoors if different households can avoid mixing.


People are advised against leaving the Tier 3 area other than for things like work or education.

Residents are also advised against staying overnight in any other part of the UK if they live in a Tier 3 area.

Could it go further?

Both England's Chief Medical Advisor, Chris Whitty, and the government's top scientific advisor, Patrick Vallance, have both indicated in their opinion, Tier 3 restrictions will not be enough.

The government has said other options they could do to limit the spread of coronavirus could be:

  • Limits on the sale of alcohol

  • Closing indoor entertainment and tourist sites

  • Closing gyms that aren't already closed

  • Closing libraries and other public buildings

  • Stopping close contact services and care for all but the most vital people

  • Stopping all performing arts venues

Covid tiers: What are the differences between each alert level?

  • Medium (Tier 1) - Rule of six applies indoors and outdoors. Pubs and restaurants close at 10pm.

  • High (Tier 2) - Households must not mix indoors in any setting including pubs and restaurants. Rule of six applies outdoors

  • Very high (Tier 3) - Households must not mix indoors, or in private gardens. Rule of six applies in outdoor spaces including parks. Pubs and bars which don't serve meals will be closed