Covid: Why not all Tier 3 areas have the same restrictions

Gyms in some Tier 3 areas could be closed as part of additional measures to limit the spread of Covid-19.
There has been confusion as to some of the differing restrictions some Tier 3 areas can have. Credit: PA

As South Yorkshire and Greater Manchester prepare to follow Lancashire and Liverpool into Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions, questions have been asked why measures can vary from area to area.

There has been confusion as to why gyms in Liverpool had to close their doors when entering Tier 3, but they could remain open in Lancashire.

To add to the confusion, it appears gyms and leisure facilities in Liverpool have been given the green light to reopen again.

Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram said gyms would reopen under Tier 3 restrictions, but soft play areas would close.

So why do restrictions differ from region-to-region?

When it comes to restrictions for businesses and public places, there are a certain number of baseline restrictions which are uniform across the country.

These include:

  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am

  • Pubs and bars must close; they can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal; they may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal

  • Schools and universities can remain open, as can places of worship

  • People are advised against leaving Tier 3 areas

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

  • No mixing of different households in any setting

Manchester will follow Liverpool and Lancashire into Tier 3 lockdown. Credit: PA

However, there are differences after these baseline restrictions which can be imposed.

The government can agree additional measures with local authorities to close other businesses.

These include:

  • Restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (takeaway and delivery permitted)

  • Closing indoor and outdoor entertainment and tourist attractions and venues

  • Closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)

  • Closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth clubs and childcare activity and support groups)

  • Closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities

  • Closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

It is in these additional measures where Tier 3 lockdowns can differ from region to region, hence why Liverpool had its gyms closed but Lancashire did not.

A Liverpool City region spokesman told ITV News soft play areas were closed to bring restrictions in line with other Tier 3 areas and to help avoid confusion.

In discussions with the government, they said there was no inkling Lancashire's gyms would remain open while Liverpool's would have to close.

They said they have asked the government for evidence regarding the spread of Covid-19 in gym settings but have yet to be presented with such data.

ITV News has contacted the Department of Health and Social Care for comment.