UPDATE: London and the surrounding areas are now in Tier 4. Here are the rules on travel from Tier 4 right now.
With the country split into three tiers with three different sets of rules (and a Christmas exemption period coming up), travelling around England has never felt so complicated.
London has been in Tier 2, which meant we weren’t allowed to mix with other households indoors but we could travel around the country to other Tier 2 and to Tier 1 areas for overnight stays with our own households.
But that’s going to change this week (from Wednesday December 16) when the capital joins the likes of Manchester, Kent and Bristol in Tier 3, the highest risk tier.
Just about managed to get your head around Tier 2 rules? Here’s what you need to know now about Tier 3 travel rules.
Can you travel in and out of Tier 3 right now?
The government advice states that, if you live in a Tier 3 area like London, ‘you should avoid travelling outside your area’. That includes for international and domestic travel, as well as things like day trips.
You should also avoid staying overnight in a place other than your home unless it is necessary for reasons relating to work, education or health – or to visit your support bubble, which is still allowed in Tier 3. Additionally, ‘accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close’, along with indoor attractions, entertainment venues and hospitality, like pubs and restaurants.
If you live in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 area you should ‘avoid travel to or overnight stays in Tier 3 areas other than where necessary’.
Can you travel in and out of Tier 3 at Christmas?
Well, yeah. Just to confuse you a little bit more, the Tier 3 travel rules don’t apply between December 23 and 27. During this period you can travel between tiers and other parts of the UK to meet your Christmas bubble. The same rules apply to everyone during this period, whether or not they live or are visiting a Tier 3 area: you can form an exclusive bubble made up of up to three households and meet them in a home, garden or public outdoor space.
The rules on overnight stays lift during this time too. ‘You can stay in a hotel during the Christmas period, including in a Tier 3: Very High alert area by yourself, or with other members of your household,’ reads the guidance, adding: ‘You can stay in private rented accommodation with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble.’
What areas are currently in Tier 3?
London has just joined cities such as Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and counties like Kent, Lancashire, Lincolnshire and much of Yorkshire in Tier 3. Find a full list of which areas are in which tier on the government website here.
Fed up of hearing about rules and restrictions? Listen to the best Christmas songs of all time instead.