Covid Tier 3: What are the rules for 'very high alert' areas as London and parts of south England to move into top tier

The capital and some surrounding areas will be moving into Tier 3 on Wednesday Credit: PA

London and parts of the South East joined large areas of the North and Kent in Tier 3, as the government moves to slow a rise in coronavirus cases in the capital.

Matt Hancock announced the decision to move all the boroughs of London, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire to Tier 3 ahead of the formal tiers review on Wednesday.

He said the decision was taken early due to a significant rise in cases and the discovery of a new faster-spreading strain of Covid-19.

Large parts of England have been under Tier 3 for two weeks after the country left the national lockdown at the start of December.

With millions more set to join them, what are the rules for people under Tier 3 restrictions?

Pubs, bars and restaurants

Tier 3 rules mean all pubs and bars must close except for takeaway and collection services.

Most entertainment venues also have to close, including cinemas, casinos and zoos.

Any hospitality venue that has been forced to close will be able to access the furlough scheme by the government at 80% of normal wage.

Meeting people

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

You may not meet people outdoors in any hospitality setting or private garden.

You can meet people from outside your household outdoors in public places like parks and playgrounds as long as social distancing is maintained.

Schools and universities

The current Tier 3 rules say schools and universities will remain open but in recent days some local authorities in London have been moving to close their schools in order to get control of the virus.

Universities have also been transitioning to online only learning recently in order to allow time for students to safely travel home for Christmas.

Last Thursday Matt Hancock announced all secondary school children will be given a coronavirus test as it became apparent they were driving a spike in infections.

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.

Pubs and restaurant owners will be frustrated to be losing out on the key Christmas trading season. Credit: PA

You can have up to 15 people at a wedding, but wedding receptions are banned.

Up to 30 people can attend funerals, with 15 permitted at the wake.

Gyms and exerciseAt the start of Tier 3 restrictions, there was some confusion over whether gyms could stay open as different areas had different rules.

The government later clarified gyms in Tier 3 can remain open.Travel

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.

Hotels and other forms of accommodation must close.

The only times overnight stays are allowed are:

  • for work

  • for education

  • because of caring responsibilities

  • to visit your support bubble

  • for moving home

  • to access voluntary, charitable or youth services

  • for a medical appointment or treatment

If you live outside a Tier 3 area you should avoid staying going to one and staying over night.