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Tier 2 lockdown new rules: what you need to know

Tier 2 lockdown new rules: what you need to know
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Who would have thought at the beginning of 2020 that some of the most used words in England this year would be ‘lockdown’ and ‘tier’? As we approach 2 December 2020 and the end of lockdown 2, a significant number of us are going to be living in tier 2 or ‘high alert’ areas.

This will mean a step up from the tier 1 restrictions previously followed. So if you are wondering about what tier 2 will mean for you, we’re here to help. Let’s break it down.

What are the new tier 2 rules?

If you live in an area that will enter tier 2 when lockdown ends, here is what you can and can’t do:

  • You cannot socialise with different households inside. Instead, you will be able to meet in groups of up to six people outside.
  • In hospitality venues, alcohol can only be served with a proper meal. So that means no trips to the pub for a pint while you are in tier 2. There is a question over whether a scotch egg counts as a substantial meal, but we will have to wait and see on that one.
  • Non-essential shops and places like hairdressers can open again. So you can get your lockdown locks sorted.
  • Entertainment venues can open again, but you can only go with members your household or bubble.
  • Places of worship can reopen, but you can only mix with members of your own household or support bubble.
  • Weddings and funerals can go ahead. However, guest numbers are restricted to 15 for weddings and 30 for funerals.
  • You can go away for the night, but only with members your household or support bubble.
  • Gyms and swimming pools can reopen.
  • If you travel from tier 2 into tier 3, then tier 3 restrictions apply.

How is tier 2 different from tier 1?

For a lot of those areas that are moving into tier 2, this will be a change from their previous tier 1 status. So what are the major differences to be aware of so you don’t trip yourself up?


The big difference between tier 1 and tier 2 is restrictions around socialising indoors. In tier 1, as long as you kept to the ‘rule of six’, you can see friends and family in your home.

But in tier 2, you cannot meet anyone outside your household or support bubble. The rule of six only applies if you meet outside. This could make for a few cold winter walks or gatherings round the fire pit in the garden if you want to see people outside your household.

Staying overnight

Similarly, in tier 1 you can go away with up to six people. But in tier 2 you can only go away with members of your household or support bubble. This means that weekends away with friends or extended family are off the table for the moment.

Pubs and restaurants

Tier 1 restrictions mean that pubs and restaurants can operate with table service. And last orders are at 10pm.

In tier 2, you are only able to visit a pub or restaurant with your household or support bubble. And if you want to have a little tipple in the run up to Christmas, you have to have it with a meal.

What should I do if I need support?

The tiered system and the restrictions that come with it could well have affected your personal finances. It might have had an impact your income or scuppered an event you had planned. Or, on the upside, it could mean you are spending less money on socialising.

If you want more information on what support is available during the coronavirus pandemic, take a look at our coronavirus resources page.

Meanwhile, if you have a little extra disposable income at the moment, maybe consider setting up a savings account. You could opt for something like an easy access saver to begin building up an emergency fund.

Or alternatively, if you are after higher returns, maybe look at dipping your toe into share dealing. Just remember this comes with an element of risk.

Compare stocks and shares ISAs

If you’re planning to open a stocks and shares ISA, choosing the right platform is important. To help you narrow down the choices, we’ve created a list of the top stocks and shares ISAs.

Click here to see our top stocks and shares ISAs for 2021.

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