New coronavirus rules in England

The Government has launched a new 3 tier alert system to help manage the spread of coronavirus in England.
This guidance was correct at the time this page was last updated, on: 16 October 2020, 5.06pm

What are the changes?

A 3-tier system has been introduced in England from Wednesday 14 October 2020. The alert levels are:

  • Medium
  • High
  • Very High

 

In all three tiers, you must continue to wear face masks in mandated areas. See ‘further guidance for staff’ on where you should wear face masks and ‘face coverings’ on when you should wear a face covering.

 

Medium alert level

Areas that have been put into a medium alert level will continue to follow national guidelines, which include:

  • You must not meet in a group of more than 6 people, indoors or outdoors (some exceptions apply, see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-medium#meeting-family-and-friends).
  • Hospitality businesses which sell food and drink (such as pubs, bars and restaurants) must close between 10pm and 5am. Takeaway and drive-through can remain open.
  • You can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.
  • You are encouraged to walk or cycle where possible and avoid using public transport if you can.

Read the Government website for a full list of things you can and cannot do if your area has a medium alert level: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-medium

 

High alert level

Areas in a high alert level are seeing an increase in infections which needs to be controlled. People living in a high alert level area will be subject to more restrictions including:

  • You must not meet anyone outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor space, including at home or in a public place. (See: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high#meeting-family-and-friends for exemptions)
  • You can meet in a group of up to six people outside, including gardens or other spaces such as parks or beaches.
  • Businesses and venues can stay open as long as they are COVID-19 secure, except for businesses which have been closed by law.
  • Certain hospitality businesses must ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated. These businesses must close between 10pm and 5am.
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click and collect or drive-through
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of guests.
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport.
  • You can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but you should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

Read the Government website for a full list of things you can and cannot do if your area has a high alert level: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-high

 

Very high alert level

In an area which has a very high alert level, the infection rate is very high and further restrictions are needed to control the spread of the virus. The Government may agree additional measures with local leaders, but the baseline rules will include:

  • You will not be allowed to socialise with anybody you do not live with or who is not part of your support bubble, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events. (See exemptions at: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-very-high#meeting-with-family-and-friends)
  • You may meet with people you do not live with in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue. The group size cannot be more than 6 people.
  • 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 remain open
  • Places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not allowed.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport.
  • You are advised not to travel outside the very high alert level area you are in.
  • You are advised to avoid travelling to a very high alert level area unless for essential reasons such as work, education or caring responsibilities.
  • You should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you live in a very high alert level area, and avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere in the country.

For more information please visit the Government high alert level section: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/local-covid-alert-level-very-high

 

The Government has launched a new tool so you can easily find out what the restrictions are in your area: https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions

 


 

Who do these changes apply to?

The medium alert level applies to most places within England, with exception of the following areas* which are on high or very high alert.

*This information was correct at the time it was last updated, on 16 October 2020, 5.06pm.

Visit the Government website for a full, detailed list of areas: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/full-list-of-local-covid-alert-levels-by-area

 

Very high alert level: 

  • Liverpool City 
  • Lancashire (from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October)

 

High alert level: 

  • Cheshire 
  • Derbyshire (High Peak, and from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October will also include North East Derbyshire, Erewash and Chesterfield) 
  • West Yorkshire 
  • West Midlands 
  • Greater Manchester 
  • County Durham 
  • Tyne and Wear 
  • Northumberland 
  • Tees Valley 
  • Leicestershire 
  • Nottinghamshire 
  • London (all 32 boroughs, from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October) 
  • Essex (from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October) 
  • Surrey (Elmbridge only, from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October) 
  • Cumbria (Barrow in Furness only, from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October) 

 

The following Thera Group companies are affected by very high alert level guidance in some areas which they provide support.

 

Thera North

  • Lancashire (from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October): Blackburn with Darwen; Burnley; PrestonHyndburn (Accrington); Ribble Valley (Clitheroe)Rossendale (Haslingden) 

 

The following Thera Group companies are affected by high alert level guidance in some areas which they provide support. Locations marked with an * will take effect from 12.01am on Saturday 17 October.  

 

Ansar Projects 

  • Greater Manchester: Bury and Bolton  

 

Thera North 

  • Lancashire: Blackburn with Darwen; Burnley; PrestonHyndburn (Accrington); Ribble Valley (Clitheroe)Rossendale (Haslingden) 
  • Cumbria: Barrow in Furness*  
  • County Durham: Durham (including Stanley) 
  • Tees Valley: Darlington 

 

The Camden Society: 

  • Leicestershire: Leicester City 

 

Thera East Midlands: 

  • Nottinghamshire: Ashfield; Bassetlaw; Broxtowe; Gedling; Mansfield; Newark and Sherwood; Nottingham City; Rushcliffe 
  • Derbyshire: High Peak; North Derbyshire*; Chesterfield*; Erewash* 

 

Thera East: 

  • Essex*: BasildonBraintree; Brentwood; Castle Point; Chelmsford; ColchesterEpping Forest; Harlow; Maldon; Rochford; Tendring; Uttlesford 

 

The Camden Society (London): 

  • London*: all 32 boroughs 

 

Unity Works: 

  • London*: all 32 boroughs