Tier 4 Rules
Full Government guidance here.
Reasons to leave home
- Work and volunteering, provided you cannot work from home. This includes work in other people’s homes (i.e. carers, nannies)
- “Essential” activities: buying or collecting food or medicine, obtaining or depositing money, accessing critical public services (NHS, dentists, job centres, courts, passports and visas, victim support, waste or recycling centres)
- For exercise within your household/bubble. You should stay local and only travel for exercise if necessary to access a nearby outdoor space
- In emergencies: for a Covid test, for medical appointments, to escape harm, to be with someone giving birth or dying, for animal welfare
- Legal obligations or buying, selling or moving house
- To attend or take children to formal education, childcare or sport (children only)
- To visit people in your support bubble or childcare bubble (more details below)
- To provide care
- For communal worship or to attend a wedding or funeral (more details below)
Travel between tiers
Entering or leaving Tier 4 for another tier is only permitted for:
- work (if necessary)
- education and care
- visiting people in your bubble
- medical appointments and hospital
- weddings, funerals and linked commemorative events (more details below)
International travel from Tier 4 is not allowed except for legally permitted exceptions (i.e. for work). However, people from other tiers may travel into or through Tier 4 for international travel.
Overnight stays outside your primary residence (including in a caravan) are only permitted if: you cannot return home, you are homeless or seeking refuge, or you require accommodation for a funeral, moving house, work, education or childcare.
The following businesses must close in Tier 4:
- Non-essential retail (incl. clothing, homeware, vehicle showrooms, betting shops, tobacconists, tailors, electronic goods, auction houses, non-essential market stalls)
- Hospitality (incl. cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars, social clubs) except for takeaways/deliveries
- Accommodation (incl. hotels, hostels, B&Bs) except for permitted exceptions (e.g. where they are accommodating the homeless)
- Indoor leisure and sports facilities (incl. gyms, swimming pools, sports courts, studios, riding centres, climbing walls)
- Entertainment venues (incl. theatres, cinemas, zoos, museums, concert halls, galleries, arcades, casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks, funfairs, play areas)
- The indoor parts of botanical gardens, landmarks and heritage properties (outdoor sections may remain open).
Businesses listed above may open for a small list of exceptions: education and training, childcare, hosting blood donation and food banks, providing medical treatment, elite sports and professional dancing training (for gyms & studios), rehearsal without an audience (concert halls & theatres), and filming.
The following businesses can remain open in Tier 4:
- Essential retail (incl. supermarkets, food shops, pharmacies, garden centres, off-licenses, building merchants, building supply shops, agricultural supplies, essential market stalls)
- Public services (incl. NHS, dentists, job centres, courts, passports and visas, victim support, waste or recycling centres)
- Repair services, laundrettes and dry cleaners
- Vehicle services (garages, petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, bicycle shops, taxi and vehicle hire)
- Banks, post offices, building societies and short-term loan providers
- Medical and dental services, and disability and mobility support shops
- Animal welfare services (vets, pet shops, groomers, rescue services, kennels)
- Places of worship, crematoria, burial grounds and funeral directors
- Outdoor sports (playgrounds, gyms, pools, courts, golf courses, archery/driving/shooting ranges, riding centres)
- Carparks, public toilets and motorway service stations
- Storage and distribution facilities
Schools & Universities
Students should already have returned home for Christmas. If they have not done so, they are allowed to return, even if it is to a Tier 4 area. They are encouraged to get a test before travelling if possible.
In all tiers, schools and universities will remain open during term time and are receiving additional support to do so in a Covid-safe way. In the new year, universities will have a staggered return for students, as will secondary schools, focussing first on exam years, vulnerable children and children of key workers. Extensive testing will take place at schools and universities to reduce the Covid spread.
Visiting Care Homes
In all tiers, non-contact visits are allowed with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, or behind windows.
Close-contact visits (enabled by a negative test) are allowed in Tier 1-3 but not in Tier 4. Further guidance for Tier 4 is being formulated.
Weddings & Funerals
In Tier 4 (unlike other tiers) weddings may not take place indoors or outdoors, except in exceptional circumstances (i.e. ‘deathbed’ weddings), where up to 6 people may attend.
In all tiers, funerals can take place with social distancing with up to 30 people. Linked religious or commemorative services can take place with up to 6 people in Tier 4.
If anyone from Tier 4 is attending a wedding or funeral in another tier, that event must follow Tier 4 rules.
Guidance for weddings in Tiers 1-3 is available here.
The police will break-up gatherings. Individuals may be fined £200 for a first offence, which can rise to as much as £6,400 for further offences. Those holding or involved in illegal gatherings of more than 30 people can be fined up to £10,000 each.
Businesses opening illegally or otherwise breaking the rules can be fined £4,000 for a first offence, rising to up to £10,000 for further offences.