Tier 3 rules and restrictions: Are non-essential shops open? Can you go abroad?

17 December 2020, 12:08 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

Tier 3 coronavirus rules are the second-strictest in the country
Tier 3 coronavirus rules are the second-strictest in the country. Picture: PA

By Zoe Adams

Covid lockdown rules for tier 3 apply to millions of people in England, so what can you do? Are all shops open? And are gyms open in tier 3?

Tier 3 rules and restrictions are in place in various areas across the UK and mean the areas are in a 'Very High' state of alert.

So what are the coronavirus lockdown rules in tier 3? Will non-essential shops will be open, will gyms be allowed to open and will you be allowed to travel abroad.

Here’s the rules and restrictions you need to follow if you’re in tier 3:

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What are the coronavirus rules for tier 3?

You cannot meet socially indoors, in a private garden or most outdoor public venues with anybody you do not live with or have a support bubble with. Everyone who can work from home should do so. You can see friends and family you do not live with (or do not have a support bubble with) in some public outdoor places - such as parks or public gardens  in a group of up to 6.

Weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events.

Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, holiday lets and guest houses must close, other than where very limited exceptions apply.

Can I travel abroad in tier 3?

Where possible, you should stay local and avoid travelling outside your local area. You can continue to travel for reasons such as work, education, medical attention or if you have caring responsibilities. You can still travel to venues that are open, or for reasons such as work or education, but you should reduce the number of journeys you make wherever possible.

You should still avoid travelling outside your tier 3 area other than for the reasons such as those above.

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What are the rules for pubs, shops and gyms in tier 3?

Under tier 3 rules hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha bars), pubs, cafes, restaurants, and social clubs must close except for takeaway, delivery, drive-through and click and collect services. Takeaway must cease between 23:00 and 5:00, but delivery, drive-through and click-and-collect may continue during this period. This includes restaurants and bars within hotels or members’ clubs.

Indoor entertainment venues, such as casinos, bowling alleys, and bingo halls must close.

Outdoor entertainment venues, such as botanical gardens and heritage sites, may stay open, although indoor elements at these attractions must also close. Cinemas, theatres, and concert venues must close; except for drive-in events.

Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but indoor group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) must be cancelled.

Shops may open, other than shops situated inside closed premises that cannot be accessed directly from the street.

Hairdressers and barbers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, spas and beauty services, saunas, steam rooms, massage parlours and tanning salons can remain open.

Which areas have been moved into a tier 3 coronavirus lockdown?

New areas added from 00:01 on 31st December


Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin 

Worcestershire (Bromsgrove, Malvern Hills, Redditch, Worcester, Wychavon, Wyre Forest)


Liverpool City Region (Halton, Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens) 

York & North Yorkshire (Scarborough, Hambleton, Richmondshire, Selby, Craven, Ryedale, Harrogate, City of York) 

Bath and North East Somerset 

Devon, Plymouth, Torbay (East Devon, Exeter, Mid Devon, North Devon, South Hams, Teignbridge, Torridge, West Devon, Plymouth, Torbay)




You can also check your postcode in the lockdown postcode checker or check your local council’s website.