On Monday 12 October, Boris Johnson outlined the new three-tier system - medium (tier 1), high (tier 2), or very high (tier 3) - for England that categorises different parts of the country, and assigns respective sets of rules, according to risk amid the coronavirus pandemic.
From Saturday 24 October, Sheffield and South Yorkshire will move to tier 3. All four local authorities - Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield - will be covered.
It comes after tier 3 restrictions were imposed on Greater Manchester on Tuesday, following a breakdown in negotiations between local leaders and Downing Street over funding to support contact tracing and enforcement.
But what does tier 3 actually mean? What are the rules for people living in regions placed in the highest tier? Here’s everything you need to know.
What does it mean if an area is placed in tier 3?
If a region has been placed in tier 3, or under “very high” alert, this means that it is an area “where transmission rates are causing the greatest concern”, the government states.
“This includes incidence and test positivity, including amongst older and more at-risk age groups, as well as the growth rate, hospital admissions and other factors,” the government’s website adds.
In areas placed under “very high” alert, the government will outline a “baseline of measures” for members of the public to follow, in addition to working with local authorities to decide what “additional measures” are required.
What restrictions are there in tier-3 areas?
While the 10pm curfew on hospitality venues applies to areas under “medium” and “high” alert, for regions under “very high” alert, pubs and bars must close their doors.
They can only continue business if they are able to operate as a restaurant, “which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal”, the government says.
Alcohol can only be offered to customers if it is served alongside a meal, and wedding receptions are prohibited.
When it comes to socialising, people in tier-3 areas are not allowed to mix with different households indoors or outdoors in a public space. You are allowed to mix with your support bubble.
The government website says: “You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less in certain outdoor public spaces, such as: parks, beaches, countryside, forests, public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter), allotments, outdoor sports courts and facilities.”
Members of the public are being advised by the government to refrain from travelling in or out of tier-3 areas to prevent further transmission of Covid-19.
However, exceptions can be made for those who need to travel for work, school, if they are a carer, to access youth service or “if they are in transit”, the government states.
The government advises that if a person is living in a tier-3 area, they should not stay overnight in another part of the UK, while anyone who does not live in a tier-3 area should not stay overnight in a region placed under “very high” alert.
Non-essential retail is allowed in all three tiers, while schools and universities are also remaining open.