Businesses and venues that can open in the new tier system after lockdown

The Abbey Theatre auditorium in St Albans adapted for a COVID-19 safe audience. Picture: Nick Clarke

The Abbey Theatre auditorium in St Albans adapted for a COVID-19 safe audience. Picture: Nick Clarke - Credit: Nick Clarke

What can open in the new tier system when lockdown restrictions are lifted? From Wednesday, December 2, the country will revert to a strengthened three-tiered local COVID alert level system. Here’s a guide to the new medium, high and very high tiers.

Will theatres, cinemas and museums be allowed to open from December 2? When can pubs and restaurants open? What sport is allowed? When will pubs close?

On Thursday, the Government will announce which geographical areas will fall within each of the three tiers.

According to Government guidance, here are details of the new tier system from Wednesday, December 2, including what you can and cannot do in each tier.

Businesses open in all tiers:

• Essential and non-essential retail, including indoor and outdoor markets and car boot sales can open in all tiers.


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• 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 can open in all tiers, although 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.

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• 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.

Tier 1 - Local COVID Alert Level: Medium

• Businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.

• Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

– provide table service only, for premises that serve alcohol.

– close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas are exempt).

– stop taking orders after 10pm.

• Hospitality businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

• Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, concert halls, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

• Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

• Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

• Places of worship remain open, but you must not attend or socialise in groups of more than six people while there, unless a legal exemption applies.

• Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies and receptions, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

• If you live in a Tier 1 area and travel to an area in a higher tier you should follow the rules for that area while you are there. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a Tier 3 area as part of a longer journey.

• International travel can occur subject to Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office guidance and air corridor requirements.

• Organised outdoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue.

• Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.

• People must not socialise in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.

Tier 2 - Local COVID Alert Level: High

• People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

• People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.

• Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals.

• Hospitality businesses selling food or drink for consumption on their premises are required to:

- provide table service only, in premises which sell alcohol.

- close between 11pm and 5am (hospitality venues in airports, ports, transport services and motorway service areas are exempt).

– stop taking orders after 10pm.

• Hospitality businesses and venues selling food and drink for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.

• Early closure (11pm) applies to casinos, cinemas, theatres, museums, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, funfairs, theme parks, adventure parks and activities, and bingo halls. Cinemas, theatres and concert halls can stay open beyond 11pm in order to conclude performances that start before 10pm.

• Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events (performances and shows) is permitted, limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

• Public attendance at spectator sport and business events can resume inside and outside, subject to social contact rules and limited to whichever is lower: 50 per cent capacity, or either 2,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors.

• Places of worship remain open but you must not socialise with people from outside of your household or support bubble while you are indoors there, unless a legal exemption applies.

• Organised outdoor sport and physical activity and exercise classes can continue.

• You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

• If you live in a Tier 2 area, you must continue to follow Tier 2 rules when you travel to a Tier 1 area. Avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through a Tier 3 area as a part of a longer journey.

• International travel can occur subject to FCO guidance and air corridor requirements.

Tier 3 - Local COVID Alert Level: Very High

• People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

• People must not meet in a group of more than six outside, including in a garden or other space.

• Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

• Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training.

• Indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:

– indoor play centres and areas, including trampoline parks and soft play

– casinos

– bingo halls

– bowling alleys

– skating rinks

– amusement arcades and adult gaming centres

– laser quests and escape room

– cinemas, theatres and concert halls

– snooker halls

• Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open).

This includes indoor attractions within:

– zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves

– aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions

– model villages

– museums, galleries and sculpture parks

– botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses

– theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs

– visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes

– landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

• Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close.

• There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.

• Large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.

• Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

• Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however, higher-risk contact activity should not take place.

• Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s.

• You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.

• Avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.

• International travel can occur subject to FCO guidance and air corridor requirements.

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