What are the Tier 2 COVID lockdown rules – and which areas are included?

Watch: Matt Hancock announces tier changes from Boxing Day

Fewer areas of England will be under Tier 2 restrictions from Boxing Day.

On Wednesday, health secretary Matt Hancock announced a number of Tier 2 areas, mainly in the South West, would be moving to Tier 3.

Only Cornwall and Herefordshire, previously in Tier 1, will move into Tier 2.

It means about seven million people, or 13% of England’s population, will be in Tier 2 from Boxing Day.

Up until Sunday, Tier 2 was the second most severe on a scale of three. However, the government has introduced an even more restrictive Tier 4 in response to the “dangerous” spread of the new strain of coronavirus.

Below is a breakdown of the key Tier 2 rules, and the full list of areas in Tier 2...

Here are key guidelines people in Tier 2 areas must follow:

  • People are banned from indoor socialising with others they don’t live with. A number of exceptions, such as “support bubbles”, apply

  • People are allowed to meet in groups of up to six, including others they don’t live with

  • The majority of businesses are allowed to remain open, provided they are COVID secure

  • Pubs must close unless they can double as a restaurant. They can only serve alcohol if it comes with a substantial meal

  • Pubs and restaurants must close at 11pm, with last orders at 10pm

  • Other venues such as casinos, cinemas, theatres and museums must close at 11pm

  • Attendance at shows, performances or sporting events is allowed at whichever is lower out of a 50% capacity, or maximum 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 indoors

  • People can attend places of worship but, while inside, are not allowed to socialise with others they don’t live with

  • Up to 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, with up to 30 at funerals

  • Organised sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue outdoors. Indoors, they are only permitted if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with

For further information, here is the government’s full set of Tier 2 guidelines.

The following venues are allowed to open in Tiers 1, 2 and 3

  • Non-essential retail shops, as well as indoor and outdoor markets

  • Leisure centres, gyms, dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds

  • Close contact personal care shops such as barbers and hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons

  • Public buildings such as libraries and community centres

These are the areas of England in Tier 2 as of 26 December:

East Midlands

  • Rutland

North West

  • Cumbria

  • Liverpool City Region

South West

  • Bath and North East Somerset

  • Cornwall

  • Dorset, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole

  • Devon, including Plymouth and Torbay

West Midlands

  • Herefordshire

  • Shropshire, and Telford and Wrekin

  • Worcestershire


  • City of York and North Yorkshire

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