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Breaking News: Latest tier changes for England announced

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock today (17.12.20) announced changes to the tier system across England.

Following a rise in cases across the world and new restrictions in Europe, the government yesterday put forward a formal review of the tiers.

In south east England, cases are up by 46%, whilst in east England they are up by two-thirds. As a result, the government has taken necessary steps to imply tier 3 measures across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and some parts of Surrey, Cambridgeshire, East Sussex and Hampshire and other towns across the area. These new rules will come into place at one-minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

As a result of falling rates in some areas, Bristol and North Somerset are able to move down from tier 3 to tier 2, whilst Herefordshire can go from tier 2 to tier 1 as of Saturday.

The government will shortly be publishing data for each area of England outlining changes to tiers, although the vast majority of the country will remain in current tiers.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, yesterday (16.12.20) provided a statement to the nation regarding Christmas, telling Britons to “reduce the amount of people they’re in contact with as much as possible, avoid travelling between tiered areas and staying away from home.”

What are England’s lockdown rules?

Tier 3: Very High

From 00:01 on Saturday the following areas will move from tier two to tier three:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Berkshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Hastings and Rother
  • The whole of Hertfordshire
  • Peterborough
  • Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant
  • Surrey, except Waverley

Greater London, and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire were moved to tier three on 16 December following an emergency review.

Tier three (very high) rules

  • You can’t mix indoors, in private gardens or in most outdoor venues, except with your household or bubble
  • You can meet in a group of up to six in other outdoor spaces, such as parks, beaches or countryside
  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressing) can stay open, as can swimming pools
  • Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must stay closed, except for delivery and takeaway
  • Sports fans cannot attend events in stadiums
  • Indoor entertainment venues – such as bowling alleys and cinemas – must stay closed
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas
  • Bristol and North Somerset will move from tier three to tier two on 19 December

Tier 2: High

  • You can’t mix indoors with anyone apart from members of your household or bubble
  • You can meet in a group of up to six outside – including in a private garden, or a public place
  • Shops, gyms and personal care services (such as hairdressing) can reopen
  • Pubs and bars can only open if they serve substantial meals. Alcohol can be served with that meal
  • Pubs and restaurants must shut at 23:00 GMT, with last orders at 22:00
  • Sports events in stadiums can be attended by up to 2,000 spectators, or 50% capacity (whichever is smaller)
  • Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume (with restrictions)
  • Non-essential foreign travel allowed, subject to quarantine rules
  • People are advised not to travel to and from tier three areas

Tier 1: Medium

Areas in the lowest tier will have some restrictions relaxed:

  • The rule of six will apply indoors and outdoors
  • Spectator sports can resume with a crowd of 50% of capacity, or 4,000 spectators, whichever is smaller
  • Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are currently in tier one
  • Herefordshire will move to tier one from 00:01 on 19 December

What are the Christmas rules?

From 23rd-27th December (22nd-28th December in Northern Ireland) three households will be able to form a “Christmas bubble” which can mix indoors and stay overnight.

These bubbles will be allowed to meet:

  • In each other’s homes
  • At a place of worship
  • In an outdoor public space, or garden

Travel restrictions will be lifted to allow people to visit their families anywhere in the UK.

What tier am I in?

For a full list of local restriction tiers by area, click here.

More support:

With many areas still in high tiers of restrictions, it’s more important than ever that caterers are supporting one another. If you’re a wet-led pub or bar without a food offering, partnering up with a caterer is a great option to enable you to remain open.


We have a host of established caterers on hand who can work on site or take over your kitchen, helping you to keep on trading during the usually busy winter months. Click here for more information.

If you need any further support or advice on operating during the latest restrictions, visit our Covid-19 Resources page or call our team on 0300 124 6866.


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