Difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3 – rules explained

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Tier 2 and Tier 3 rules will keep several regions in some of the most restrictive coronavirus measures this side of Christmas. Announcing the state of play in Parliament on Wednesday, health secretary Matt Hancock said some areas saw an increase in cases, while others saw a reduction. Most have now either moved up to Tier 3 or down to Tier 2, with one area moving to Tier 1.

What is the difference between Tier 2 and Tier 3?

Tiers 2 and 3 both serve the same purpose; to limit social contact, the former in “high alert” and the latter in “very high alert”.

To do so, they prevent significant gatherings at home, outdoors and in public locations.

Less social mobility should prevent the virus from spreading between people, hence why some high-risk areas need more hefty restrictions.

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Under Tier 2, ministers have prevented socialising in any indoor setting between people who do not live together.

The rule of six also applies, limiting the number of people who can gather outside.

Weddings, funerals and sporting events can go on, but with caps on the number of attendees.

Under Tier 3, people must not meet others socially indoors or outdoors who is not in their support bubble.

The same rule of six applies, but the Government has spread its scope across several other settings.

These include parks, countryside accessible to the public, beaches, benches and more.

Ministers also reduced the number of people who can attend events such as weddings, funeral or sporting events.

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When it comes to hospitality and businesses, Tier 2 is naturally more relaxed, with retail allowed to stay open as well as pubs and restaurants.

As long as they are Covid-secure, hospitality venues can serve people drinks with a “substantial meal” until last orders at 10pm.

They must also close on curfew time – between the hours of 11pm and 5pm – every day.

But under Tier 3, all hospitality venues must close to the public, whether Covid-safe or not.

They can continue business remotely if possible, via takeaway, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

Hotels, B&B’s, guest houses, and campsites must also close as well unless exempt.

Exempt venues include those which people use as a primary residence, or where they are necessary for work, education or training.

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