What are the Tier 3 COVID lockdown rules – and which areas are included?

Watch: Matt Hancock announces tier changes from Boxing Day

Some 25 million people across England will be under Tier 3 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. It means 44% of England’s population will be in this tier.

Up until Sunday, Tier 3 was the most severe. 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 3 rules, and the full list of areas in Tier 3...

Here are key guidelines people in Tier 3 areas must follow:

  • People are banned from indoor socialising with others they don’t live with or have a “support bubble” with. The ban also applies to outdoor socialising in private gardens

  • People are allowed to meet in groups of up to six – including others they don’t live with – in some outdoor public spaces including parks, beaches, public gardens, heritage sites, sports facilities and playgrounds

  • Bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery services

  • Accommodation such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, campsites and guest houses must close

  • Indoor entertainment venues, from casinos to cinemas, must close

  • Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor venues must close. This includes indoor attractions within zoos, safari parks, wildlife reserves, aquariums, farms, and theme parks

  • Gyms and sports facilities can continue to stay open for individual exercise or exercise among a household. Indoor group exercise classes cannot take place

  • Attendance at shows, performances or sporting events is not allowed

  • 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 but receptions aren’t permitted. Up to 30 can attend funerals

  • Organised outdoor sport and physical activity can continue with any number of people, though people “should avoid contact in training”

For further information, here is the government’s full set of Tier 3 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 3 as of 26 December:

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire

  • Leicester City

  • Leicestershire

  • Lincolnshire

  • Northamptonshire

  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire

North East

  • North East Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of County Durham, Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland)

  • North of Tyne Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside and Northumberland)

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority (this area includes the local authorities of Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, and Stockton-on-Tees)

North West

  • Greater Manchester

  • Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool

  • Warrington and Cheshire

South East

  • Isle of Wight

  • New Forest local authority in Hampshire

South West

  • Bristol

  • North Somerset

  • Somerset (South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor)

  • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury)

  • Swindon

  • South Gloucestershire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton

  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent

  • Warwickshire,

  • Coventry

  • Solihull

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber: East Riding of Yorkshire

  • Kingston upon Hull/Hull

  • North East Lincolnshire

  • North Lincolnshire

  • South Yorkshire (Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotheram, Sheffield)

  • West Yorkshire (Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds, Wakefield)

Watch: What is long COVID?