Can you travel into and out of a tier 3 area? All travel between tiers explained

Helen Coffey
·4-min read
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham threatened legal action if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed on the city without agreement (AFP via Getty Images)
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham threatened legal action if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed on the city without agreement (AFP via Getty Images)

Covid-19 cases are on the rise in the UK – and with them, local restrictions.

Boris Johnson announced a new three-tier system for England earlier in October, which sought to lessen confusion by having set rules in place for each level and categorising regions based on risk.

However, questions still remain for many Britons when it comes to travelling between tiers, whether it’s permissible to visit friends and family or to enjoy a well-earned staycation.

Here’s everything you need to know.

Can I travel from tier 1 to tier 2?

Tier 1 is classified as “Medium Alert” and comes with the lowest level of restrictions. People living in this tier can meet people from other households indoors and outdoors (as long as it’s in groups of no more than six), stay overnight somewhere other than their own home and there are no restrictions on travel or using public transport.

They are able to travel to tier 2 (“High Alert”) regions, but should follow local guidelines once there, which are stricter.

In tier 2, they can only meet others outside their household while outdoors in groups no bigger than six, and cannot stay overnight somewhere if it means being inside with people outside their household or support bubble; for instance, staying with another family in a self-catering apartment or holiday cottage would not be allowed.

Can I travel from tier 2 to tier 1?

Yes, travelling from a tier 2 “High Alert” area to a tier 1 “Medium Alert” area is permitted.

“You can still go on holiday outside of high alert level areas, but you must only do this with people in your household or support bubble,” according to the government guidance.

People in tier 2 can also travel within high alert level areas to hotels and other guest accommodation, “but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble,” the advice states.

People in tier 2 are advised to avoid travelling by car with people outside their household or social bubble, and to “not travel to different parts of the UK where their intended activities there would be prohibited by legislation passed by the relevant devolved administration.”

Can I travel from tiers 1 and 2 to tier 3?

The government is advising against people travelling to a “Very High Alert”, or tier 3, area.

“You should avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to very high local Covid alert levels,” it says on the website, plus you should “avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere.”

It adds: “You must not stay with anyone you do not live with from a very high alert level area or visit their home.”

However, this is advice rather than a legally binding ban, and there are some exceptions, such as if you are entering a tier 3 area “for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey”.

Currently, Lancashire and Liverpool City Region are classed as “Very High Alert”, and are soon to be joined by Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham.

Can I travel from tier 3 to tiers 1 and 2?

The government is advising against nearly all travel for those in tier 3 areas.

“You should try to avoid travelling outside the very high alert level area you are in,” and “should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very high alert level area,” reads the advice.

This includes leaving the tier 3 area in order to stay at a second home for those who have one.

Again, it is not actually illegal to stray out of bounds, and there are exceptions – those who are leaving the area for activities including work, education or youth services and caring responsibilities are permitted to do so.

“You may also do so where necessary as part of a longer journey – such as when a journey between lower risk areas passes through a very high alert level area, or when going to an airport, port or international rail terminal to travel abroad,” says the government.

Residents of tier 3 can also travel to hotels and guest accommodation within their area, “but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.”

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