Latest COVID Guidance: 3-tier system explained

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On 12 October, the Prime Minister made a statement to the House of Commons. The announcement sets out how the Government plans to standardise and simplify local lockdown measures, by introducing a three-tiered system of local COVID Alert Levels in England – set at medium, high, and very high. You can view the areas in England listed as local COVID alert level high and local COVID alert level very high and the postcode checker on GOV.UK.
Please see below for more details and guidance on each alert level, further updates to the Job Support Scheme and other recent Government updates. 

Local COVID Alert Level – Medium


Covering most of the country, including Harrogate District currently, this will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. For areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, this means:

  • All businesses and venues can continue to operate in a COVID-Secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law, such as nightclubs.
  • Certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am.
  • 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-thru.
  • Schools, universities and places of worship remain open.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.

See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Medium.


Local COVID Alert Level – High


This is for areas with a higher level of infections. The “high” alert level will reflect many current local interventions, but there will now be consistency across the country. This means the following additional measures are in place:

  • 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.
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.

Most areas which are already subject to local restrictions will automatically move into the “high” alert level. As a result of rising infection rates Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak will also move into the “high” alert level. 
See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is High.


Local COVID Alert Level – Very High


This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.
The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant – which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.
  • Wedding receptions are not allowed.
  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

Local authorities in the Liverpool City Region will move into the “very high” alert level from Wednesday. In addition, to pubs and bars in Merseyside and the Liverpool City Region, gyms, dance studios, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos will also close.

See the guidance and restrictions for areas where the Local COVID Alert level is Very High.

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