Local COVID alert levels

Local COVID alert levels have been introduced in England to stop coronavirus spreading quickly, especially in places where there are a lot of cases.

The 3 alert levels are mediumhigh and very high. The more cases there are in your area, the higher the alert level will be.

You can find out the alert level in your area by using this postcode checker on the GOV.uk website.

Each level has a different set of rules.

We have explained what the rules are for each level below. We've also made easy read guides for each level.

Click each heading below to see more information.

Medium (Tier 1)

We are currently working on an easy read guide to the rules in Medium (Tier 1) areas in England.

The guide will be available here shortly.

High (Tier 2)

If you are in an area where the alert level is very high you must:

  • follow social distancing rules; this means trying to stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from people, except people from your household or support bubble
  • only spend time indoors with people that you live with or who are in your support bubble
  • only meet up with people you do not live with in groups of 6 people or less in outside spaces (e.g. private garden or outdoor space). If you have a carer or support worker with you they are not counted. 
  • work from home if you can
  • try to stay in the area where you live (you can travel for work, education, youth services or because of caring responsibilities) and do not travel very high tier areas.
  • wear a face covering (if you are able to) in shops and on public transport.

Places that will be open when the alert level is very high are: 

  • businesses like shops, supermarkets and takeaways that follow rules to keep customers and their staff safe from coronavirus
  • pubs and restaurants will be open, however alcohol can only served with a substantial meal
  • schools and universities 
  • sports clubs, support groups and gyms
  • places of worship (as long as they follow the rule of 6). Weddings and funerals can happen but with fewer guests. 

Easy read guide to these rules (PDF)

Tier 3 (Very high)

If you are in an area where the alert level is very high you must:

  • follow social distancing rules; this means trying to stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from people, except people from your household or support bubble
  • only spend time indoors with people that you live with or who are in your support bubble
  • only meet up with people you do not live with in groups of 6 people or less in certain outside spaces (e.g. parks and public gardens). If you have a carer or support worker with you they are not counted. 
  • work from home if you can
  • stay in the area where you live (you can travel for work, education, youth services or because of caring responsibilities) and do not travel to medium or high tier areas
  • wear a face covering (if you are able to) in shops and on public transport.

Places that will be open when the alert level is very high are: 

  • businesses like shops, supermarkets and takeaways that follow rules to keep customers and their staff safe from coronavirus (pubs, bars and restaurants must close, but takeaways can stay open) 
  • schools and universities 
  • sports clubs, support groups and gyms
  • places of worship (as long as they follow the rule of 6). Weddings and funerals can happen but with fewer guests. 

Easy read guide to these rules (PDF)

 

Christmas

The government have announced what people can do at Christmas.

These rules will be in place from 23 to 27 December. The rules will mean that people travel around the UK to visit people who are in their Christmas bubble (this can be a groups of up to 3 households).

We've made this guide which explains a bit about what is going to happen on 2 December and over the Christmas period (PDF).

Talk to us

We know this is a difficult and unusual time. We're here to help.

If you need information or advice you can contact our helpline or if you can, have a chat on our online community

Contact the helpline Go to the online community