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Tier 2 lockdown: what we can and can’t do

Tier 2 lockdown: what we can and can’t do
Image source: Getty Images


Another day, another change in the UK’s Covid-19 restrictions. This time, we’re in London, and we’re moving up to tier 2 of the new Covid Alert Level system from midnight on Friday. So, what does it mean to be in tier 2, and what’s off limits for now? Let’s find out. 

What is tier 2?

Tier 2 is the middle rung on the UK government’s new 3-tier Covid-19 lockdown ladder. The tier system should, in theory, simplify lockdown rules across England, but it’s too early to say if it’s working. 

For now, what we do know is that tier 2 means there’s a ‘high’ risk of getting and passing on coronavirus. In other words, there’s a chance the NHS will be overwhelmed in the future, but it’s not likely enough to justify a move into the ‘very high’ risk tier 3 just yet.

So, while London shifts up a gear into tier 2, here’s a recap of what’s happening elsewhere:

  • Most of the country is in tier 1. This basically means national lockdown rules apply, but there aren’t any regional restrictions in place.
  • Areas including Cheshire, Warrington, and many parts of Lancashire have been in tier 2 since earlier this week.
  • Liverpool and surrounding areas are now in tier 3. Greater Manchester may follow shortly. 

As we’ve seen, the rules are constantly changing, so you should check your local Covid Alert Level daily.

What can I do in tier 2?

If you’re affected by tier 2 restrictions, here’s what you can do for now: 

  • You can still see people in your support bubble.
  • It’s still okay to see family and friends outdoors, so long as you keep to the rule of six.
  • You can go to pubs and restaurants, but there’s still a 10pm curfew.
  • It’s still okay to use gyms, leisure centres, salons and hairdressers.
  • You can still go to a church or place of worship.
  • If you play indoor sports, these can still go ahead with strict social distancing rules in place. 
  • You can go to school, college or university. 
  • You can visit tourist attractions if they’re open.

Be aware that there are restrictions on social gatherings for special occasions. Weddings are limited to 15 guests and funerals are capped at 30.

What can’t I do in a tier 2 lockdown?

There’s not a huge difference between tier 1 and tier 2, but there are some new rules you should be aware of: 

  • You can’t meet family or friends indoors. This includes in pubs or restaurants, even though they’re still open. The only exception is, of course, if they’re in your support bubble. 
  • If you go to a pub, cafe or restaurant, it’s table service only.
  • Care homes are off limits to visitors unless it’s an exceptional circumstance (e.g. end of life). 
  • You shouldn’t travel unless it’s essential to do so. 
  • Although you can still stay in hotels and B&Bs, you can’t do this with anyone outside your household (subject to the bubble rule).

So the main difference with tier 2 is that you can’t see family and friends inside. But wherever you go, you still need to wear a face covering where they’re mandated, follow distancing guidelines, and wash your hands as often as possible. 

How can I make the most of lockdown?

Okay, so we all know the restrictions are a little frustrating. But there are some things you can do to make tier 2 lockdown easier – starting with fixing your personal finances. 

Save money

This one’s easy. Stop spending money on things you don’t need, and put the money into a new savings account instead. Your bank balance will thank you for it. 

Overhaul your credit

Got a credit card that you’re still paying off? You could think about switching to a 0% balance transfer card. This will allow you to spread your repayments out without building up more interest. Check out our guide to balance transfer cards to get started.

Open a share dealing account

If you’ve ever fancied learning the stock market, now’s your chance. Spend some time learning how stocks and shares work and think about opening your own share dealing account. Although there are always risks attached, this could be a great way to start investing in your future.

Learn a new skill

Why not use the downtime to learn a new skill? Whether it’s trying out a new fitness app or signing up for an online course, there’s something out there for everyone.

What next?

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