LONDON and other areas near the capital will enter Tier 3, the highest level of coronavirus restrictions under the three-tier system.
But what shops can stay open and what about other places, like hairdressers, gyms, theatres and museums? Here are the Tier 3 rules explained.
The tier system has been in place since lockdown lifted in England on December 2.
Areas under Tier 3 restrictions are deemed “very high risk” and face the toughest lockdown measures.
Tier 2 areas are classed as “high” risk, while Tier 1 places are “medium” risk.
Greater London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire are being put into Tier 3 because coronavirus cases are spiking in these areas.
Health secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move into the higher tier and it will come into force from 12.01am Wednesday.
The full list of places going into Tier 3 are:
- Greater London
- Epping Forest
- Castle Point
- Braintree & Chelmsford
- Thurrock and South End on Sea Borough councils
- Watford and the three river local authority
Businesses that break the rules in their area can face fines of up to £10,000, prosecution or closure.
Are shops open in London in Tier 3?
Shops can stay open in Tier 3 areas and that includes non-essential shops too.
That means clothes shops, toy stores and department stores can stay open and you can visit the high street to do you Christmas shopping in Tier 3 areas.
It was a different story when England was placed into a full-on lockdown when only essential retailers like supermarkets could stay open.
But, shops that are situated inside premises closed under the rules and that cannot be accessed directly from the street have to stay shut.
Retail premises within hotels and other accommodation can also open.
Shoppers must continue to follow rules like social distancing and wearing a face covering, unless exempt.
Shops may have other rules in place to follow, like limiting the number of shoppers entering at one time.
Many shops on the high street are opening for longer in the run up to Christmas to give people more time and space to shop safely.
Which other businesses are open in London in Tier 3?
Other businesses that had to close in national lockdown can remain open in Tier 3 too.
Hairdressers and beauty and nail salons
Hairdressers can stay open in Tier 3 areas, unlike previous lockdowns where they were forced to close – leaving Brits going months without a professional haircut.
Barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, saunas, steam rooms, massage parlours and tanning salons can all also remain open.
Gyms can stay open in Tier 3, unlike the previous lockdowns when they were forced to close.
There will be some restrictions in place, for instance, indoor group classes are banned, including fitness and dance classes.
You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in an outdoor public place in groups up to six.
There are exceptions for the following, which can take place in any number:
- disability sport
- sports as part of the curriculum in education
- supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s (including those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020).
Outdoor entertainment venues
Outdoor cinemas, theatres and concert venues can stay open in Tier 3, (but must close at 11pm other than for the purposes of concluding a performance which began before 10pm).
Outdoor funfairs can also stay open in Tier 3.
Public toilets, car parks and recycling and waste centres can all stay open in Tier 3 areas.
Also remaining open in the highest risk areas are libraries and community centres and halls.
Which businesses are closed in London in Tier 3?
Some businesses which had to close in the national lockdown will unfortunately have to close again.
Pubs, bars and cafes
Hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha bars), pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery and click and collect services.
This includes restaurants and bars within hotels or member’s clubs.
Businesses and venues selling drinks can continue to do so as long as this is through takeaway, delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through.
Food or alcohol purchased from a hospitality premises via takeaway or click-and-collect may not be consumed on any part of that premises, including beer gardens, as well as adjacent seating.
Hotels, B&Bs and holiday lets
You can’t take a break at hotels, B&Bs and holiday lets in Tier 3, unless its for a specific purpose, including for work or if you’re attending a funeral.
There are a few other exceptions where you’ll be able to stay in Tier 3 areas.
Anyone in Tier 3 can’t travel to areas in Tier 2 or Tier 1 where accommodation remains open.
Theatres, cinemas and other entertainment venues
Theatres must close in Tier 3 which is a devastating blow to London’s West End.
Cinemas must also close along with casinos, bowling alleys, nightclubs and bingo halls.
There will also be a ban on spectators at sporting events in Tier 3.
And the capital’s museums and galleries will have to close under Tier 3 restrictions.
Christmas bubbles WILL go ahead even if you are in Tier 3 areas, No.10 has confirmed.
Here’s when the tiers will be next be reviewed.
Keep an eye on our coronavirus page for the latest updates.