Covid tiers: Can you still travel within the UK? Can you meet your friends? Your questions on the new rules answered

New lockdown measures governed by a three-tier system of Covid alert levels have been introduced in England.

The "medium" alert level is also known as Tier 1, "high" is Tier 2, and "very high" is Tier 3.

The restrictions have been brought in to "simplify" local coronavirus restrictions, with Tier 3 consisting of the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire, while areas like London, Essex and the West Midlands make up Tier 2.

Here, ITV News looks at what the new rules mean for those with plans to travel within the UK.

You should not travel to a Tier 3 area - even if it's to visit your nan. Credit: PA

I live in a Tier 1 area and my grandma lives in Tier 3 - can I still go and visit her?

The government advises that you should avoid travelling to any region subject to Tier 3 restrictions.

I live in a Tier 1 area - can I still commute into Tier 3?

Yes, you can continue to travel into "very high" alert level areas for work purposes.

However, the government says you should "aim to reduce the number of journeys you make" and aim to avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Can I commute to London (Tier 2) for university?

Whether you live in Tier 1 or Tier 3, you can commute to a Tier 2 area for university.

When in Tier 2, however, you should not meet people in their home or student halls if they're not in your household/support bubble.

I live in London - can I still go out for dinner in a different borough?

Every borough in London is in the same tier, Tier 2. This means you can travel to a restaurant and eat indoors, but only with those in your household or support bubble.

You can eat and drink in outdoor areas of pubs and restaurants with people not in your household in Tier 2 areas, as long as you follow the 'rule of six'.

Rules on visiting restaurants differ between tiers. Credit: PA

The government advises that, where possible, you reduce the number of journeys you make and avoid busy routes and times on public transport.

I live in Tier 3 and have plans to visit my parents in a Tier 1 area. Can we still do this?

The government says you should avoid travelling into or out of a Tier 3 area.

Can I stay in a hotel within my area?

If you're in a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area, you can stay in a hotel, but only with people in your household/support bubble.

If you live in Tier 1, you can stay in a hotel with anyone, but the 'rule of six' applies.

Hotels in Northern Ireland are operating on a "restricted basis".

They will mostly have to close from Friday night with exemptions for bookings from essential workers, vulnerable people, and those unable to return to their homes.

I live in England but I have a holiday booked in Wales. Can I still go?

Wales has announced that it will enter a second lockdown for two weeks from 6pm on Friday, October 23.

This means it is not permitted to travel to Wales for a holiday during this time.

The Welsh government advises that people with a pre-booked and paid for holiday should contact the travel agent and insurers to discuss the situation.

A matrix sign on the M4 motorway near Cardiff, reminds motorists of Welsh coronavirus rules. Credit: PA

Can I travel from Wales to England?

Under the new circuit breaker lockdown, non-essential travel within Wales or to England is not permitted.

Travel is limited to essential travel only, for example, for caring responsibilities or for work purposes where people cannot work from home.

Therefore, someone living in Wales who works in England can travel if working from home is not possible.

Can I travel into or out of Northern Ireland?

Tighter restrictions in Northern Ireland came into force on 16 October as part of a four-week 'circuit breaker' lockdown.

The government announced advice against any "unnecessary" travel. It has not detailed what constitutes necessary or unnecessary travel.

Can I travel into or out of Scotland?

On 14 October, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon advised Scots against travelling to high-risk areas of England.

She singled out Blackpool as “associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland”.

She also asked residents to avoid unnecessary travel in general, and if they must travel, to do so safely.


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