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What lockdown tier is my business in? (Updated 19 October)

England has been divided into three lockdown tiers in order to fight COVID-19 on a local level. Find out which tier your business is in and what restrictions are in place.

The government has announced a new series of lockdown tiers for different parts of England, with the theory being that this should be clearer and easier to understand than a patchwork set of local lockdowns.

In very simple terms, different parts of the country have different infection rates, and so need to be treated differently.

There are three tiers – medium, high, and very high – with the severity of the rules increasing as you go up the scale.

This guide will explain the three tiers, explain which regions are in each tier, and discuss the support available for small businesses.



Lockdown tiers explained

This first section will explain the three different lockdown tiers, as well as which regions are in which tiers and what the rules are in those tiers.

These tiers only apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all have their own coronavirus restrictions in place, which are decided by the devolved administrations in those countries.


Lockdown Tier 1 - Medium Alert Level

This is the lowest tier and national restrictions apply to anyone in this tier.

This includes things like maintaining social distancing and avoiding public transport where possible but also:

  • The rule of 6 – people shouldn’t meet in groups larger than six people (except for certain exemptions such as work or education)
  • The 10pm curfew for hospitality venues such as bars and restaurants

Shops, schools and universities will remain open in all tiers.

This tier applies to all areas of England except those in Tier 2 or Tier 1, where more severe restrictions are in place on top of these rules.


Lockdown Tier 2 - High Alert Level

This is the middle tier where all national restrictions apply plus:

  • No mixing of households indoors

The following regions entered Tier 2 on 17 October:

  • London
  • Essex
  • Elmbridge, Surrey
  • Barrow-in-Furness
  • York
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Erewash, Derbyshire
  • Chesterfield

The following areas have been in Tier 2 since 12 October:

Cheshire

  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cheshire East

Greater Manchester

  • Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Bury
  • Stockport
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
  • Salford
  • Rochdale
  • Oldham

(There are reports that Greater Manchester will be shortly put into Tier 3 lockdown, but it is in Tier 2 at the time of writing)

Warrington

Derbyshire

  • High Peak – the wards of Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North

Lancashire

  • Lancaster
  • Blackpool
  • Preston
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Burnley

West Yorkshire

  • Leeds
  • Bradford
  • Kirklees
  • Calderdale
  • Wakefield

South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley
  • Rotherham
  • Doncaster
  • Sheffield

North East

  • Newcastle
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Sunderland
  • Durham
  • Northumberland

Tees Valley

  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Darlington
  • Hartlepool

West Midlands

  • Birmingham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Wolverhampton
  • Walsall

Leicester

  • Leicester
  • Oadby and Wigston

Nottingham

  • Nottinghamshire
  • Nottingham City

Lockdown Tier 3 - High Alert Level

This is the highest tier and attracts the most severe restrictions.

All Tier 2 restrictions apply plus:

  • No mixing of households at all either, indoors, outdoors, or in hospitality venues such as pubs, bars and restaurants
  • Mixing is only permitted in public spaces such as parks or beaches, where the rule of 6 must be followed
  • Pubs and bars must be closed unless they serve substantial meals like lunch or dinner (alcohol can only be served as part of a meal)
  • Wedding receptions are banned
  • People should not travel out of their local area or travel into a Tier 3 area from another area

Additional restrictions can be decided on an area by area basis, in Liverpool (see below), all pubs, gyms and casinos will be closed.

Currently, Tier 3 restrictions apply to:

Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool
  • Knowsley
  • Wirral
  • St Helens
  • Sefton
  • Halton

However, as mentioned above, it looks very likely that Greater Manchester will be shortly put into a Tier 3 lockdown, and other areas may follow in due course.

Check your postcode

If you’re in any doubt about what restrictions apply in your area, then the gov.uk postcode checker is a really handy tool.

Simply put in your postcode to get loads of info on the exact rules in your part of England.


What support is available for affected businesses?

There was no specific extra support announced for businesses affected by lockdown tiers.

Business in Tier 3 areas that are forced to close may be eligible for the previously announced local lockdown business grants.

Businesses struggling with reduced demand should be eligible for the Job Support Scheme, the centerpiece of Rishi Sunak’s Winter Economy Plan.

Further funding has also been allocated at a local level, but this is mainly intended to support extra testing and enforcement, rather than to financially support affected businesses.


Key points for your business

  • In order to make things clearer, the government has divided English regions into three lockdown tiers
  • Tier 1 is medium, Tier 2 is high, and Tier 3 is very high
  • In Tier 1, national restrictions apply and all English regions not in Tiers 2 or 3 are in Tier 1
  • In Tier 2, national restrictions apply and households cannot mix indoors
  • Several regions are in Tier 2, including parts of West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and the North East
  • Greater Manchester is in Tier 2 at the time of writing but is widely expected to move to Tier 3 shortly
  • In Tier 3, more severe restrictions apply, including no mixing of households either indoors or outdoors, non-food pubs being forced to close, and travel limitations
  • Further Tier 3 restrictions can also be imposed on an area by area basis, so far in the Liverpool City Region (the only Tier 3 area announced so far), all pubs, gyms and casinos have been closed
  • Anyone confused about what restrictions apply in their area can use the gov.uk postcode checker
  • At the time of writing, London is in Tier 1 but is expected to shortly move into Tier 2
  • No extra support is available for affected businesses, but firms should look into whether they can apply for local lockdown grants (for businesses that are forced to close) or national measures like the Job Support Scheme (for businesses struggling due to reduced demand)

Alec Hawley
Alec Hawley

Alec is Startups’ resident expert on mobiles, investment, and politics. Before joining, he worked in the media for over a decade, conducting media analysis at Kantar Media and YouGov, writing for computer games sites like Gaming Respawn and Gamespew, and taking on a wide variety of freelance roles.