Tier 3 - what it means

We have set out some questions and answers below to help you with the guidelines under Tier 3: Very High Alert.  If the answer to your question is not below please refer to the Government's full guidance on Tier 3 restrictions.  

This Tier 3 poster shows the main restrictions. 

About Tier 3

Why is Elmbridge being placed in Tier 3? 

The decision to escalate an area to Tier 3 (very high alert) is made by central government. The decision will be based on a number of indicators, not just the rate per hundred thousand. The indicators include: 

  • Case detection rate – in all age groups and, in particular the over 60s
  • How quickly rates are rising or falling
  • Positivity in the general population
  • Pressure on the NHS – including current and projected NHS capacity
  • Local context and exceptional circumstances such as a local but contained outbreak

You can read further information on COVID-19 data and statistics

My NHS COVID-19 app doesn't say the alert level is ‘Tier 3 (Very High Alert)'

Regardless of what the NHS app level says, Elmbridge will be in ‘Tier 3 (Very High Alert)’ from Saturday 19 December. Find out more about local alert levels on the app.

Does being in Tier 3 affect Christmas?

The changes to some social contact restrictions over Christmas will still apply, but Tier 3 restrictions will apply outside of your Christmas bubble.

Meeting friends and family

Can I meet friends and family indoors?

You cannot mix with other households indoors, unless you have a support bubble with them. 

Can I meet friends and family outdoors?

You cannot mix with other households outdoors, unless you have a support bubble with them. However, you can meet with other households in some outdoor public places, in a group of up to 6 (see the rule of 6 below). Outdoor public places include parks, beaches, outdoor sports courts and facilities and playgrounds; it does not include private gardens.

More information on meeting with friends and family in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

What is the rule of 6?

You can meet with other households in some outdoor public places. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6. This limit of 6 includes children of any age.

Meeting in larger groups is against the law. There are certain exceptions (see below). The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

When meeting with other households you should:

More information on meeting with friends and family in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Bars, pubs and restaurants

Can I go to a hospitality venue?

Bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed except for takeaway, drive-through or delivery.

Cafes and canteens in some settings (eg hospitals, care homes, schools, colleges) may open.

For more information, see businesses and venues in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

What help is there for hospitality venues that have to close?

See details of the financial support offer.

Retail

Will shops have to close?

Shop can stay open. Shops should continue to follow COVID-19-secure guidelines.

For more information, see businesses and venues in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Work

Can I go to work?

Everyone who can work from home should do so.

Where people cannot do so, they should continue to travel to their workplace.  Workplaces should follow COVID-secure guidelines.

Can I travel to a Tier 2 area for work?

If you are required to travel into a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area for work, you should still follow the guidance for the area you live in. For example, while Elmbridge is in Tier 3, if you have travel to a Tier 2 area, you should continue to follow the Tier 3 advice.

For more information, see going to work in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Can I continue to work in other people’s homes?

You can work in other people’s homes, if following COVID-secure guidelines, under all tiers.

For more information see working safely in other people’s homes during coronavirus.

Education and childcare

Can my child attend nursery/school/college/university?

Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities are open.

Can my child attend childcare or activities?

Childcare, other supervised activities for children, and childcare bubbles are permitted.

For more information, see going to school, college and university in Tier 3 on GOV.UK and childcare in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Indoor leisure and exercise

Are gyms, leisure and sports facilities open?

Gyms, leisure and sports facilities remain open.

Can group exercise classes take place?

Group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not take place.

Classes and organised adult sport can take place outdoors, but people should avoid higher-risk contact activity. Group exercise activities and sports indoors should not take place, unless with your household or bubble.

Organised activities for elite athletes, under-18s and disabled people can continue.

For more information, see sport and physical activity in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Accommodation

Are hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses open?

Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close, with some limited exceptions. 

For more information, see businesses and venues in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Personal care

Can I still go to the hairdressers, barbers or other personal care services?

Personal care and close contact services - such as hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, saunas, steam rooms, massage parlours and tanning salons - can remain open.

For more information, see businesses and venues in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Overnight stays

Can I stay somewhere else overnight?

If you live in a Tier 3 area, you should avoid staying overnight outside of your area other than where necessary.

Can I stay in my second home?

You should not leave your area to stay in a second home.

For more information, see travel in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Weddings, civil partnerships and funerals

What are the rules for weddings, civil partnerships and funerals?

Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and funerals must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances.

You can have up to:

  • 15 people for wedding or civil partnership ceremonies – but receptions are not permitted
  • 30 people for funerals

For more information, see weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Entertainment

Are entertainment venues open?

Indoor venues - such as soft play, bowling alleys, indoor skating rinks, cinemas and theatres - must close.

At outdoor entertainment venues - such as zoos, farms, water parks, museums and theme parks - the indoor attractions must close.

For more information, see businesses and venues in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Places of worship

Will places of worship remain open?

Places of worship can remain open for services. However, you must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble.

For more information, see weddings, civil partnerships, religious services and funerals in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Travelling

Can I travel within my area?

You can continue to travel within your area but you should reduce the number of journeys where possible. Plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. You should also avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble.

Can I travel outside my area?

You should avoid travelling outside your area, other than where necessary such as for work or education. Further exemptions apply.

For more information, see travel in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Visits to care homes

Can I visit my relative in a care home?

Visits to care homes can take place with arrangements such as substantial screens, visiting pods, and window visits.

For more information, see visiting relatives in care homes in Tier 3 on GOV.UK.

Large events

Can I attend a live event?

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

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