Tier 4: highest level of Covid restrictions explained – plus list of areas in England under Tier 4 rules

More areas of England have been placed under the new restrictions

Millions of people in England have been placed under tier 4 restrictions following a review of the country’s tiered system.

Earlier this month the introduction of a fourth tier of covid rules halted the Christmas plans of many, with the government blaming the increasing prominence of a new fast-spreading strain of covid.

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Despite their introduction cases across the country continue to rise steeply.

London and the south east of England are now under tier 4 restrictions (Getty Images)

Those under tier 4 restrictions are advised to stay at home unless they have a “reasonable excuse” to leave their home, with travel to and from tier 4 severely restricted.

Here’s what you can and can’t do in a tier 4 area.

Where is under tier 4 restrictions?

Initally the following areas were placed under tier 4 restrictions: Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings, Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring) and all of the capital’s 32 boroughs and the City of London.

These have been joined by: the city of Leicester, Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton),Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey), Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough), Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak), Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Broxtowe), Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton), Coventry, Solihull, Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon), Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent), Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre), Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington), Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale), Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan), Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees ), North East (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland), Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham), Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset), Swindon, Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, Isle of Wight and New Forest

What are the restrictions on meeting people?

You cannot meet other people indoors unless you live with them or they are part of your existing support bubble.

Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household in a public place.

Am I allowed to leave my home?

You must stay at home and only leave for a specific purpose or if you have a “reasonable excuse”.

This includes going to work if it cannot be done from home, shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, attending education or training, using registered childcare, outdoor exercise and for medical reasons.

What about support and childcare bubbles?

Support and childcare bubbles can continue in Tier 4 areas.

Early years settings and childminders can remain open as normal, while nannies are also allowed to carry on providing services, including in the home.

Can shops stay open?

In Tier 4 non-essential retail must close, including clothing and homeware stores, betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops.

However, these stores can continue to operate click-and-collect systems, if goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises, and delivery services.

“Essential” retailers such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, off-licences and Christmas tree retailers can continue to open.

Can I leave tier 4?

You should not leave a Tier 4 area unless for permitted reasons, such as work, education, caring responsibilities, to visit a support bubble or for medical reasons, and someone from a Tier 1, 2 or 3 area should not enter a Tier 4 zone except for the same reasons.

Are care home visits permitted?

Visits to care homes are allowed if arrangements are in place to protect residents via screens, visiting pods or behind windows.

However, the Government said “close-contact indoor visits supported by testing” are not allowed in Tier 4. Updated guidance is due to be issued.