Department Of Health
This is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary. They are based on discussions between central and local government on the measures required to reduce the spread. You should therefore check the specific rules in your area.
Local COVID alert levels are sometimes called tiers or known as a local lockdown.
In all areas of England, make sure you remember Hands. Face. Space:
- hands wash your hands regularly and for 20 seconds
- face wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet
- space stay 2 metres apart from people you do not live with where possible, or 1 metre with extra precautions in place (such as wearing face coverings or increasing ventilation indoors)
This guidance is for people who both:
- live in an alert level that is very high
- are fit and well
There is separate guidance for:
- households with a possible or confirmed coronavirus infection
- people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to coronavirus
There are additional restrictions in place depending on where you live. See guidance for:
Meeting with family and friends
You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble. This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs. You must also not meet with people outside of your household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.
A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.
Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles. Find out more about childcare bubbles in the Childcare section.
You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less in certain outdoor public spaces, such as:
- parks, beaches, countryside, forests
- public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments
- outdoor sports courts and facilities, and playgrounds
When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age.
Meeting in larger groups is against the law. The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be fined 200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of 6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of 10,000.
When meeting friends and family you should also:
- follow social distancing rules when you meet up
- limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time
Exceptions where people from different households can gather in groups larger than 6 people
- in a legally permitted support bubble
- in a legally permitted childcare bubble (see section on childcare for more details)
- for work, volunteering to provide voluntary or charitable services (see guidance on working safely in other peoples homes)
- for registered childcare, education or training
- to allow contact between birth parents and children in care
- for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- for supervised activities provided for children, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), youth groups and activities, and childrens playgroups
- for birth partners
- to see someone who is dying
- to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- to fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
- to facilitate a house move
- for a wedding or equivalent ceremony where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus up to a maximum of 15 people (not to take place in private dwellings)
- for funerals up to a maximum of 30 people; wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present (not to take place in private dwellings)
- for elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
- for outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport and licensed outdoor physical activity
- for indoor organised sport for disabled people, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s
- support groups of up to 15 participants formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
- protests if organised in compliance with COVID-secure guidance
Where a group includes someone covered by such an exception (for example, someone who is working), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work.
Visiting other venues, including restaurants, pubs and places of worship
In very high alert level areas, as a baseline, pubs and bars will be closed unless they are serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal.
Additional restrictions may apply depending on discussions between central and local government. Find out what additional measures apply in your area. Retail and places of worship will remain open, but subject to the further restrictions on social contact that apply for this level.
Venues following COVID-secure guidance can host more people in total, but no one must mix indoors or in most public outdoor venues with anyone who they do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with). This includes in:
- pubs and restaurants, where they are permitted to open
- leisure and entertainment venues
- places of worship