COVID-19 Support for individuals
The Government's Restrictions and Tier System
National lockdown - 4 January
At 8pm on 4 January, the Prime Minister announced that England is being put into National lockdown with immediate effect. You must stay at home.
The Government's Tier System
The Government has written detailed guidance for what you can and cannot do in each of the four Tiers.
This page provides links to the Government guidance for each tier.
Tier 1 - Medium Alert
Tier 2 - High Alert
Tier 3 - Very High Alert
Tier 4 - Stay At Home
Across all tiers
Across all tiers, 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 - see the bottom of this page
Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits. Regular testing will be offered to up to 2 family members or friends per resident by Christmas, which – when combined with other infection-control measures such as PPE – will support indoor visits with physical contact. Detailed guidance will be published shortly.
All businesses and venues that are open are expected to follow COVID-19 secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers. In all tiers, the following businesses and venues can remain open:
- essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales
- certain leisure and sporting facilities such as gyms, sports courts and facilities, leisure centres, fitness and dance studios, golf courses, swimming pools, riding centres, outdoor playgrounds – subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier. Indoor group activities and classes should not take place at tier 3
- personal care and close contact services such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, massage parlours and tanning salons
- public buildings, such as libraries, community centres and halls. They should not host events for private hire, such as birthday parties or most other social activities in tier 3
- allotments, recycling and waste centres, public toilets, car parks
- essential public services such as the NHS and medical services, courts, and jobcentre plus sites
- places of worship – communal worship can now resume, subject to relevant social contact rules in each tier
Everyone who can work from home should do so. Where people cannot do so – including, but not limited to, people who work in critical national infrastructure, construction, or manufacturing – they should continue to travel to their workplace. Public-sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.