Tier 4 rules explained as 78% of England placed under tighter 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.

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.

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.