Rules for Tier 4: Stay At Home of Englands new lockdown tier system

Regulations for all tiers

It's important to remember that in every tier, everyone:

  • must wear a face covering in most indoor public settings, unless they have an exemption
  • should follow the rules on meeting others safely
  • should attend school or college as normal, unless they are self-isolating. Schools, universities, colleges and early years settings remain open in all tiers
  • should walk or cycle where possible, plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes when travelling
  • must follow the gathering limits at their tier except for in specific settings and circumstances. These exemptions are detailed at the end of this guidance

Tier 4 specific regulations

The UK Government has set out the following regulations:

  • Stay at home. You must not leave or be outside of your home except for where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse’. A reasonable excuse includes:
    • Work and volunteering
    • Essential activities
    • Fulfilling legal obligations
    • Education and childcare
    • Exercise and recreation
    • Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits
    • Communal worship and life events
    • Support and childcare bubbles
  • There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:
    • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary - for example, for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not - for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor public place.
    • in a childcare bubble(for the purposes of childcare only)
    • for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
    • education or training - meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
    • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
    • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
    • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
    • for birth partners
    • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
    • to see someone who is dying
    • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
    • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
    • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
    • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony in exceptional circumstances, as set out below.
    • for funerals - up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6.
    • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
    • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
    • to facilitate a house move
  • Travelling within a tier 4 area: If you live in a tier 4 area, you must stay at home. You must not leave your home to travel unless for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you need to travel you should stay local - meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live - and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall. The list of reasons you can leave your home and area include, but are not limited to:
    • work, where you cannot work from home
    • accessing education and for caring responsibilities
    • visiting those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
    • visiting hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
    • buying goods or services from premises that are open in Tier 4 areas, including essential retail, but these should be within your local area wherever possible
    • spending time or exercising outdoors. This should be done locally wherever possible, but you can travel a short distance within your Tier 4 area to do so if necessary (for example, to access an open space)
    • attending the care and exercise of a pet, or veterinary services
  • Travelling out of a tier 4 area: You must stay at home and not leave your Tier 4 area, other than for legally permitted reasons such as:
    • travel to work where you cannot work from home
    • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
    • visit those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
    • attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • Travelling to a tier 4 area from a tier 1, 2 or 3 area: You should not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons such as:
    • travel to work where you cannot work from home
    • travel to education and for caring responsibilities
    • to visit those in your support bubble - or your childcare bubble for childcare
    • to attend hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
  • The full list of detailed guidance can be found at The gov.uk website

Tier 4 Exemptions

The below exemptions from gathering limits apply across all tiers:

  • as part of a single household, or a support bubble
  • for work or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes
  • for childcare, education or training - meaning education and training provided as part of a formal curriculum
  • for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after-school childcare), groups and activities for under 18s, and children’s playgroups
  • for formal support groups, and parent and child groups - up to 15 people aged 5 and older
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • for birth partners
  • to attend a funeral - with no more than 30 people present - or a commemorative event such as a wake for someone who has died - with no more than 15 people present
  • to see someone who is terminally ill or at the end of life
  • to attend a wedding or civil partnership - with no more than 15 people present
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable or to provide respite for a carer
  • to facilitate moving home

The above guidance has been sourced from the official gov.uk website. If you have any questions regarding the regulations, please contact your local authority.

Am I in Tier 4?

Tier 4 currently applies to the below areas:

  • East Midlands
    • Derby and Derbyshire
    • Leicester City and Leicestershire
    • Lincolnshire
    • Northamptonshire
    • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • East of England
    • Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes
    • Cambridgeshire
    • Essex, Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock
    • Hertfordshire
    • Norfolk
    • Peterborough
    • Suffolk
  • London
    • All 32 London boroughs plus City of London
  • 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
    • Cumbria
    • Greater Manchester
    • Lancashire, Blackburn with Darwen, and Blackpool
    • Warrington and Cheshire Region
  • South East
    • Berkshire
    • Brighton and Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex
    • Buckinghamshire
    • Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth
    • Isle of Wight
    • Kent and Medway
    • Oxfordshire
    • Surrey
  • South West
    • Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
    • Gloucestershire (Cheltenham, Cotswold, Forest of Dean, Gloucester City, Stroud and Tewkesbury)
    • Somerset (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, and South Somerset)
    • Swindon
  • West Midlands
    • Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton
    • Coventry
    • Solihull
    • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
    • Warwickshire

If you are still unsure what tier you are in, you can find what tier you are in using our search tool.

Find out more about other tiers and their rules:

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