Tightened lockdown rules in England have seen the country divided into a new three-tier local lockdown system, based on current Covid-19 infection rates.
Areas have been categorised as ‘medium’ (Tier 1), ‘high’ (Tier 2) and ‘very high’ (Tier 3) in accordance with the number of Covid-19 cases, with those in the highest tier facing the toughest restrictions.
The new system has introduced stricter limits on social gatherings and household mixing, while pubs and bars in tier 3 have been forced to close, unless they can operate as a restaurant.
But what do the rules say about travel if you live in one of the high tier areas? Here’s what you need to know.
Can I travel to Tier 1 from a Tier 2 or Tier 3 area?
Areas that have a ‘medium’ Covid alert level (Tier 1) have the least restrictive rules in place, with residents required to continue following the national restrictions, including the rule of six and the 10pm curfew.
However, those who live in ‘high’ and ‘very high’ alert areas are subject to more limiting rules, including in regard to travel and holidays.
Rules for Tier 2
Government guidance states that those in high alert level areas (Tier 2) can continue to travel to hotels and other guest accommodation, but should only do so with people within their household or support bubble.
You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, including to areas in Tier 1, but again, this should only be done so with people in your household or support bubble.
However, the government is urging everyone who lives in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area to avoid travelling to any part of the country that is subject to very high local Covid alert levels (Tier 3), except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities.
You must not stay with anyone you do not live with from a very high alert level area or visit their home.
There are currently only two regions in England that have been placed under very high alert, these being the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire.
Additionally, when travelling, you should be mindful that local restrictions are also in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
You should not visit different parts of the UK where it is not permitted under legislation passed by the devolved administrations.
Rules for Tier 3
The government advises that you do not travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area (Tier 3).
This is part of wider measures put in place to help minimise the risk of transmission.
People are permitted to travel outside of an area on very high alert in some exceptional circumstances, such as for work, education, to access youth services, or for caring responsibilities.
You may also do so where necessary as part of a longer journey, such as when a journey between lower risk areas passes through a very high alert level area, or when travelling to an airport, port, or international rail terminal to travel abroad.
If you are travelling, you must only do so with members of your household or support bubble.
Residents in areas on very high alert are also urged to avoid overnight stays in other parts of the UK, unless it is for work, education or caring responsibilities. As such, this means you must not leave the area to stay in a second home, or to stay with anyone else who is not part of your household elsewhere in the UK, or to visit their home.
If you live in a very high alert level area, you may travel to hotels and guest accommodation within that area, but this must only be done with people in your household or support bubble.
There is no ban on foreign travel, but if you are considering travelling internationally, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the latest Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and the current travel corridor list.