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Tier 2 lockdown rules in England: the latest Covid restrictions explained

Martin Belam
·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Jacob King/PA</span>
Photograph: Jacob King/PA

The government has announced details of the new three-tier system that will come into effect in when the four-week national lockdown across England ends on 2 December.

Non-essential shops in all areas can reopen, as can gyms, hairdressers and other personal care businesses, with the formal instruction to stay at home coming to an end. The “rule of six” will again apply for outdoor gatherings in all areas.

Places of worship will be able to open and weddings will be allowed within local restrictions.

The system has been criticised in parliament by the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, saying that introducing a three-tier system without an effective test and trace system is a “major risk”.

The hospitality industry has also warned the stricter system of tiers will “ruin Christmas” for struggling restaurants, hotels and pubs.

Here are the rules in tier 2:

Under the new system, although hospitality venues will be allowed to stay open until 11pm – with last orders at 10pm – only those that serve substantial meals can operate. It means pubs and bars that do not will have to close.

As before, social mixing outside of households or support bubbles will not be allowed indoors. The rule of six will apply outdoors.

Spectators will be allowed to watch sport in tier 2, with a maximum crowd capacity outdoors of 50% of the capacity of the stadium or 2,000 people, whichever is smaller. Indoors, the maximum capacity is 1,000.

Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, casinos and bowling alleys can stay open. They should close at 11pm but can stay open later in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

How was it before?

In the “high” alert level tier people were prohibited from mixing socially indoors with anybody outside of their household or support bubble but the rule of six remained in place outdoors. Hospitality businesses, such as pubs and restaurants, could open until 10pm but people were only allowed to visit with their household or support bubble.

  • Due to the unprecedented and ongoing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is being regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation as best as possible. The most recent update will have been made at the date shown at the top of the article. Any significant corrections made to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be footnoted below in line with Guardian editorial policy.

  • This article was amended on 26 November 2020 to correct an error that said cinemas and other indoor entertainment venues had to close in tier 2. This is not the case.