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The three-tier system of Covid restrictions explained: Which tier is my area in?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a three-tier approach to coronavirus restrictions, which categorises every area of England as either medium, high and very high risk.

He said cases nationally had gone up four times in four weeks, there are more Covid-19 patients in UK hospitals than on March 23 when the country went into lockdown, and deaths are rising.

“These figures are flashing at us like dashboard warnings in a passenger jet and we must act now,” he said, but stressed he was taking a “moderate” and “balanced” approach to saving lives while trying to protect the economy.

MPs will debate and vote on the measures on Tuesday (October 13), with the new tiered system due to come into effect on Wednesday.

Here is what each tier means:

The three-tier system. Graphic: PA (42662410)
The three-tier system. Graphic: PA (42662410)

Tier 1: Medium alert

These areas - which include all the Eastern region counties of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk - will be subject to the same national measures which currently apply across the country. These include a 10pm curfew for pubs and restaurants and the ‘rule of six’, which ban social gatherings of more than six people, indoors or outdoors.

Tier 2: High alert

Household mixing is banned indoors in these areas, but support bubbles will still be permitted. The rule of six will continue to apply outdoors. Most areas that were already subject to local restrictions will move to this level, according to the Prime Minister. Nottinghamshire, East and West Cheshire and a small area of High Peak have also moved into the high alert level, he added.

Tier 3: Very high alert

Social mixing will be banned both indoors and in private gardens, while pubs and bars will be told to close unless they can operate as a restaurant. It means drinks can only be served with a substantial meal – a bag of crisps would not suffice. Local leaders will help to determine whether other venues should be closed, such as gyms or casinos, in very high alert level areas. People will also be advised against travel in and out of the areas. Schools, non-essential retail and universities will remain open in all levels.

The Liverpool City region is the only area placed into this level, which takes effect from Wednesday October 14, at the launch of the three-tier system.

Which local authority areas are in each level?

How the country is divided into tiers, as of October 14, 2020. Graphic: PA (42662408)
How the country is divided into tiers, as of October 14, 2020. Graphic: PA (42662408)

Very high:

Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool
  • Knowsley
  • Wirral
  • St Helens
  • Sefton
  • Halton



  • Cheshire West and Chester
  • Cheshire East

Greater Manchester

  • Manchester
  • Bolton
  • Bury
  • Stockport
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wigan
  • Salford
  • Rochdale
  • Oldham


  • Warrington


  • High Peak – the wards of: Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South and Hadfield North


  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Preston
  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Burnley

West Yorkshire

  • Leeds
  • Bradford
  • Kirklees
  • Calderdale
  • Wakefield

South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley
  • Rotherham
  • Doncaster
  • Sheffield

North East

  • Newcastle
  • South Tyneside
  • North Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Sunderland
  • Durham
  • Northumberland

Tees Valley

  • Middlesbrough
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Darlington
  • Hartlepool

West Midlands

  • Birmingham
  • Sandwell
  • Solihull
  • Wolverhampton
  • Walsall


  • Leicester
  • Oadby and Wigston


  • Nottinghamshire
  • Nottingham City


All other areas in England including the Eastern region counties of Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex, Bedfordshire, Suffolk and Norfolk.

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