Tier 4: What are the rules and restrictions?

New regions have been added to the tier list on 30 December

Health Secretary preparing to announce change in coronavirus tiers to Commons

New areas of England, including the rest of the south east, large parts of the midlands, north west, north east and south west have been be added to tier 4.

On 30 December, health secretary Matt Hancock said that the rising number of coronavirus cases meant more areas needed to be subject to the restrictions. Three quarters of the population of England is now in tier 3 or 4. 

The new restrictions began at 00.01 on Thursday 31 December. It leaves no regions in tier 2 and only the Isles of Scilly in tier 1.

Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton but excluding the New Forest, and the remainder of Essex, moved to tier 4 on Boxing Day.

Residents in tier 4 areas have been told to stay at home and non-essential retail will be forced to close.

Read more: What is a support bubble and what are the rules in tier 4?

Here’s everything you need to know about what you can and cannot do in tier 4.

Which parts of England are in tier 4?

New areas of England, including the rest of the south east, large parts of the midlands, north west, north east and south west will be added to tier 4 from Thursday morning.

Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton but excluding the New Forest, and the remainder of Essex, were most recently moved to tier 4.

Areas including Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Hastings, Kent, and Portsmouth entered tier 4 before Christmas.

You can see the full list on the government website here.

Can non-essential retail stay open in tier 4?

Just like in lockdown, non-essential retail will be forced to close in tier 4 areas. This includes nail bars, beauty salons, and other spa services.

Can I see friends and family members? 

People in tier 4 will not be able to mix with other households indoors. They can, however, meet with one person from another household outside.

Overnight stays are also not permitted, except for those within support bubbles.

Follow live: Latest updates as Tier 4 extended to 75% of the UK

Visits to relatives in care homes will also be permitted as long as protective arrangements are in place. These may include substantial screens, visiting pods or visiting from behind windows.

Can I travel?

In tier 4, people cannot go abroad unless it is for work reasons.

People will be told to stay at home and refrain from travelling outside of a region that has been placed in tier 4.

Will gyms and places of worship stay open?

Like in the two nationwide lockdowns, indoor gyms will be forced to close in tier 4.

However, communal worship can continue to take place.

Will outdoor exercise facilities remain open?

While indoor gyms and sports facilities must close under the new restrictions, outdoor exercise facilities such as golf courses, outdoor gyms, riding centres, playgrounds and outdoor swimming pools may remain open.

These facilities can be used with individually, with others within your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household.

Can you get married or hold a funeral?

According to the government, funerals can take place as long as they are in a Covid-secure venue or in a public outdoor space.

Funerals can be attended by a maximum of 30 people, with social distancing encouraged between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies should not take place during the restrictions, according to the government, except in exceptional circumstances.

The government describes exceptional circumstances for a wedding to take place as one person is ill and will not recover, or “due to undergo debilitating treatment or life-changing surgery”.

In these instances, the ceremony can only be attended by six people.

Under the tier 4 restrictions, those who live in a tier 4 area can only go to a funeral or wedding outside of the tier 4 area if the event follows the tier 4 gathering limits on events.

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