What England's Covid lockdown rules mean for you - and when they could end

Matt Hancock has today announced where each region falls in England's three-tier system, with millions placed under the toughest coronavirus measures when lockdown ends on December 2. Large urban areas such as Greater Manchester and Birmingham have been placed in Tier 3. London and Liverpool are in Tier 2 and just three regions were placed in Tier 1. Use our postcode tool to find out what tier you fall under. A "uniform set of measures" will apply by tier across the country until spring, rather than negotiations with individual local authorities. All three tiers will face limits on gatherings and rules to cover faces, but non-essential retail will reopen and international travel will resume. On December 23, restrictions will be relaxed in all tiers until December 28 to allow three households to celebrate together indoors, outdoors or in a place of worship. On the evening after the announcement of the tier system, the Prime Minister and his chief scientists suggested that Covid-19 cases will rise in Tier 1, remain stable in Tier 2, and fall in Tier 3.  Mr Johnson shared that the tier which your area is placed under is “not your destiny” and that things will be a lot better by April. He also warned that we must not “take our foot off the throat of the beast now”. How many people will be affected by the harshest restrictions? 23.3 million people in England, which is 41.5 per cent of the population, will face the highest tier restrictions once the national lockdown expires after December 2.  This total is constructed of 119 local authority areas, among which Birmingham has the largest population, with 1.1 million people. Meanwhile, Melton in Leicestershire has the smallest population, with 51,200 people.  Despite 119 locations entering Tier 3 on December 2, only eight are currently showing signs that their Covid-19 cases are rising. Seven of these are located in South East England and include Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells. However, the eighth is Hyndburn in the North West. A further 32.2 million people, 57.3% of the population, will enter Tier 2 once the current lockdown ends.  The whole of London has been placed in Tier 2. However, this includes the area of Havering, which has the highest rate in the second tier. This rate is higher than 92 of the 119 regions in the higher bracket of Tier 3.  Tier 1 / medium level What's changed? Mr Johnson said people should continue to work from home where possible. There will be a slight relaxation of the curfew system. Previously in pubs in this tier, customers had to leave by 10pm. Under the new rules, last orders will be called at 10pm, with people allowed to finish their food and drinks by 11pm. Hospitality businesses serving food and drink should close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt). The 11pm closure also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, bingo halls, theme parks and adventure parks and activities. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm. Additionally, spectator sports will be allowed to resume both indoors and outdoors in Tier 1, with limited numbers and social distancing in place. The public will also be allowed to attend performances and shows in theatres and other entertainment venues, both indoors and outdoors, at a limited capacity. The limits for sports and events will be 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the usual capacity outdoors. Indoors, the limit will be 1,000 people. The 'Rule of Six' will return in Tier 1, with up to six members of different households allowed to mix both indoors and outdoors. What stays the same? All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups attending religious services are expected to follow the rule of six - with larger families exempt Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees (15 and 30 respectively) Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue, such as golf and tennis Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing) Tier 1 lockdown rules: what you can and can't do in 'medium risk' alert areas Tier 2 / high level What's changed? The one-hour extension to the pub curfew applies also to pubs in this tier, with last orders at 10pm and customers needing to leave by 11pm.  Hospitality businesses and venues

What England's Covid lockdown rules mean for you - and when they could end

Matt Hancock has today announced where each region falls in England's three-tier system, with millions placed under the toughest coronavirus measures when lockdown ends on December 2.

Large urban areas such as Greater Manchester and Birmingham have been placed in Tier 3. London and Liverpool are in Tier 2 and just three regions were placed in Tier 1. Use our postcode tool to find out what tier you fall under.

A "uniform set of measures" will apply by tier across the country until spring, rather than negotiations with individual local authorities.

All three tiers will face limits on gatherings and rules to cover faces, but non-essential retail will reopen and international travel will resume.

On December 23, restrictions will be relaxed in all tiers until December 28 to allow three households to celebrate together indoors, outdoors or in a place of worship.

On the evening after the announcement of the tier system, the Prime Minister and his chief scientists suggested that Covid-19 cases will rise in Tier 1, remain stable in Tier 2, and fall in Tier 3. 

Mr Johnson shared that the tier which your area is placed under is “not your destiny” and that things will be a lot better by April. He also warned that we must not “take our foot off the throat of the beast now”.

How many people will be affected by the harshest restrictions?

23.3 million people in England, which is 41.5 per cent of the population, will face the highest tier restrictions once the national lockdown expires after December 2. 

This total is constructed of 119 local authority areas, among which Birmingham has the largest population, with 1.1 million people. Meanwhile, Melton in Leicestershire has the smallest population, with 51,200 people. 

Despite 119 locations entering Tier 3 on December 2, only eight are currently showing signs that their Covid-19 cases are rising. Seven of these are located in South East England and include Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells. However, the eighth is Hyndburn in the North West.

A further 32.2 million people, 57.3% of the population, will enter Tier 2 once the current lockdown ends. 

The whole of London has been placed in Tier 2. However, this includes the area of Havering, which has the highest rate in the second tier. This rate is higher than 92 of the 119 regions in the higher bracket of Tier 3. 

Tier 1 / medium level

What's changed?

Mr Johnson said people should continue to work from home where possible.

There will be a slight relaxation of the curfew system. Previously in pubs in this tier, customers had to leave by 10pm. Under the new rules, last orders will be called at 10pm, with people allowed to finish their food and drinks by 11pm.

Hospitality businesses serving food and drink should close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt).

The 11pm closure also applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, bingo halls, theme parks and adventure parks and activities. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

Additionally, spectator sports will be allowed to resume both indoors and outdoors in Tier 1, with limited numbers and social distancing in place.

The public will also be allowed to attend performances and shows in theatres and other entertainment venues, both indoors and outdoors, at a limited capacity.

The limits for sports and events will be 4,000 people or 50 per cent of the usual capacity outdoors. Indoors, the limit will be 1,000 people.

The 'Rule of Six' will return in Tier 1, with up to six members of different households allowed to mix both indoors and outdoors.

What stays the same?

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups attending religious services are expected to follow the rule of six - with larger families exempt
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees (15 and 30 respectively)
  • Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue, such as golf and tennis
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed
  • (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing)

Tier 1 lockdown rules: what you can and can't do in 'medium risk' alert areas

Tier 2 / high level

What's changed?

The one-hour extension to the pub curfew applies also to pubs in this tier, with last orders at 10pm and customers needing to leave by 11pm. 

Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink 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.

Spectator sports will be also allowed to resume both indoors and outdoors in Tier 2, but with limited numbers and social distancing in place.

Outdoors, 2,000 people, or 50 per cent of usual capacity, will be allowed to attend in Tier 2. Indoors, the limit is 1,000 people.

However, there is a slight tightening of restrictions for hospitality in this category. Now, alcohol can only be served in pubs and restaurants that serve substantial food, with 'wet pubs' and bars that don't serve food forced to close. Even then, only people of the same household can visit and it will be table service only. 

A customer shops inside The Duke of Hamilton pub in London Credit: Bloomberg

As in Tier 1, the public will also be allowed to attend performances and shows in theatres and other entertainment venues outdoors at 50 per cent capacity or 2,000 people. Indoors, attendees will be capped at 1,000. 

What stays the same? 

  • In tier two areas, the ban on household mixing indoors will continue, although the 'Rule of Six' will still apply outdoors
  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a Covid-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs and adult entertainment venues
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups are likely to be asked to remain confined to their own household bubbles. 
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • 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 those they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • People must not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Tier 2 lockdown rules: what are the restrictions for 'high' alert areas?

Tier 3 / very high

What's changed?

The hospitality and entertainment industry takes the biggest hit under the revised restrictions. 

Pubs and restaurants will be allowed to stay open for a takeaway service only. Previously, pubs and restaurants were allowed to stay open if they served substantial meals. 

Cinemas will have to close, as will theatres and other indoor entertainment venues such as casinos, bingo halls and skating rinks.

Rules have been relaxed for those wishing to exercise. Some areas under tier 3 had closed gyms, but they will remain open now. 

People will also be allowed to take part in outdoor sports such as golf and tennis, as well as amateur team sports such as Sunday-league football. 

Following the launch of the Telegraph’s Keep Kids Active campaign, children’s sports are also expected to resume in all tiers from December. 

The rule of six will still apply outdoors for tier three, where people are permitted to meet in groups of six in public outdoor spaces.

What stays the same?

  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open. For the latter, groups are likely to be asked to remain confined to their own household bubbles. 
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees, but wedding receptions are not allowed
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, or entering a ‘very high’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘very high’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘very high’ area if they are resident elsewhere
  • Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. (There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18's)

Tier 3 lockdown rules: what are the 'very high' alert level restrictions?