Tier 2

Tier 2 - High Alert: what it means for you


Meeting with others

You can see people from different households outside in groups of up to 6 people but you can only meet inside with those in your household or support bubble.

You should maintain social distancing from anyone not in your household or support bubble.

Travel and transport

Journeys should be limited where possible, but you can still travel and use transport to go to the shops, work and hospitality venues that are open. You should still wear a face covering.

Avoid travelling to tier 3 areas unless where necessary for example for work, medical reasons, caring or education. 

If you travel into a tier 3 area then you will need to follow the rules of tier 3. 

Staying overnight

You can only stay overnight somewhere if it's with those in your household or support bubble.

Going to work

You should work from home where possible. Where this isn't possible, workplaces should be coronavirus secure.


All shops can be open. 


Pubs and bars can open as long as they are able to serve a substantial meal, restaurants can open but should be table service only. Alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal. 

Venues should close by 11pm and take last orders at 10pm. 

You can only go to these places with people from your household or support bubble unless you’re able to sit outside, which you may be able to do with a maximum group of 6 people.

Personal care

Businesses such as hair, nail and beauty salons can open.  

Exercise and sporting activity

Gyms, pools, and leisure facilities can open. 

Organised sport and licensed physical activity are allowed in outdoor settings but may be subject to certain rules. 

Any indoor physical activity can only take place where there’s no interaction between different households. 

Sporting events are allowed but with limited capacity or a maximum of 2000 people outdoors and 1000 indoors and where social distancing is possible.  

Places of worship

They can open as long as households don't mix indoors, but it's best to check with your place of worship. There are exceptions for weddings and funerals.

Weddings and cvil partnerships

Up to 15 people can attend a ceremony and a coronavirus secure sit-down reception.


Up to 30 people can attend someone's funeral and up to 15 people can attend someone's wake, ash spreading or other linked events. This can’t be held in someone's home.

Care home visits

Visiting can take place if a care home is able to make coronavirus-secure arrangements such as screens in an indoor space, visiting pods or window visits. Each care home will have their own policy in place, so it’s best to check with yours before you visit.

By Christmas, the Government has said care homes will be able to regularly test two visitors for every resident to ensure visitors can have physical contact with their loved one, but we’re awaiting further guidance on when this will be implemented.

Public buildings such as libraries

These can open. 

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable or were previously advised to shield


Although you can meet in groups of up to 6 outside, it’s a good idea to limit the number of different people you socialise with. Make sure you socially distance from people outside of your household or support bubble.

Try to avoid travel where possible, unless for education, work, or essential shopping. 

You can go to shops or pharmacies, but you should do so at times where it will be less busy. If you can it’s better to have online deliveries for food and prescriptions or to ask friends or family to pick things up for you. 

Any carers or visitors who support you with everyday needs should continue to come round.


From 23 December to 27 December the coronavirus rules are changing. Each household can form a 'Christmas bubble' with up to two other households.



What are the coronavirus rules this Christmas?

This Christmas, from 23 December to 27 December we'll all able be able to form a 'Christmas bubble'. This bubble allows you to join up to two other households during this period.

However, once you've decided which two households you want to spend time with you can't change them. Your bubble remains the same throughout this period. For example, you can't spend Christmas Eve with two households and then Christmas Day with two different households. 

You can spend time with the people in your bubble in someone's home, garden, places of worship or in an outside public space. In terms of hospitality settings such as bars and pubs, you have to follow the guidance for the highest alert level in your Christmas bubble. For example, if someone in your bubble is from a Tier 3 area, everyone in the bubble must follow the hospitality guidance for Tier 3. 

If you have symptoms, the rules don't change

If you have coronavirus symptoms then the rules don't change – you should still get tested and self-isolate. You shouldn't be part of a Christmas bubble if you have symptoms. 


Are the rules the same for all three tiers?

Yes, no matter your local alert level these rules apply to everyone this Christmas but only from 23 December to 27 December. 

I'm already in a support bubble or childcare bubble. Will this affect my Christmas bubble?

If you're already part of a support bubble then you and the people in this bubble will count as one household and can meet with up to two other households. 

However, if you're in a childcare bubble, you and the others in this bubble will count as two separate households if you're in the same Christmas bubble and so can only meet with up to one other household. 

Can I see people that aren't in my Christmas bubble?

You can't spend time indoors with anyone that isn't in your Christmas bubble from 23 December to 27 December but you can meet up with others outside in public spaces.

Can I travel to form a Christmas bubble?

Yes, you can travel across the UK to form your Christmas bubble, regardless of tiers. Any travelling should also take place between 23 December and 27 December. 

If you're travelling on public transport, it's a good idea to plan ahead as services are likely to be busier than normal. If you're driving, it's best to only travel in a car with people in your household or support bubble.  

Can I stay overnight during the Christmas period?

Once you've formed your Christmas bubble, you can stay overnight at someone's house if they're in your bubble. 

If you need to stay overnight elsewhere, you can stay at a hotel but can only do so by yourself or with those in your household or support bubble – this doesn't include those in your Christmas bubble. 

How can I avoid catching coronavirus this Christmas?

As the lockdown measures are eased for the five-day period there is an increased risk of the virus spreading. So, before forming a Christmas bubble, it's important to think through the risks and what you can do to stay as safe as possible. 

So what can you do to help reduce the risk?

  • You, and the people in your Christmas bubble, should do what they can to reduce their exposure to coronavirus in the two weeks leading up to 23 December. This might mean avoiding busier places and limiting who you see – no matter what tier you're in. 
  • Also, limit who you spend time with after 27 December to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading.
  • Keep washing your hands regularly.
  • If you're spending time indoors, keep the space as well ventilated as possible by opening doors and windows – of course, until people start getting too cold!
  • You can still decide to keep your distance more than you normally would if that would make you feel more comfortable.

Can I form a Christmas bubble if I'm extremely clinically vulnerable?

Everyone can form a Christmas bubble, even if you're extremely clinically vulnerable. However, doing so might carry a higher risk. It's a good idea to think about the possible risks and what out what's best for you. This is a personal decision and you should do what you feel comfortable with.

If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble, you may decide to limit the number of people you spend time with and consider meeting up with just one other household instead of two. Or you may want to join up with smaller households rather than households with large numbers of people. The fewer people you interact with, the lower your risk of catching coronavirus.

You might also want to consider who's in your bubble. Those that are more possibly more exposed to coronavirus, such as those with public-facing jobs or those who work in hospitals might increase your risk of catching it. 

When spending time with those in your bubble you should try to socially distance from each other and avoid physical contact. Those in your bubble should make sure they wash their hands regularly and wipe down surfaces that are touched regularly, such as surfaces and door handles. You should also keep the space ventilated where possible by opening doors and windows – just keep an eye on the temperature. If it would make you more comfortable, you and those in your Christmas bubble could wear face coverings. 

You might also want to consider meeting people outside for a walk rather than seeing them inside. 

My relative is in a care home. Can they be part of a Christmas bubble?

Government guidance outlines that only those of working age (under State Pension age) in a care home can consider leaving their care home to be part of a Christmas bubble. This will also need to be agreed by the care home and risk assessments will take place, according to the Government.

Anyone living in a care home that forms a Christmas bubble will both increase their risk of catching coronavirus and also increase the risk to other residents on their return. Any decision should be really carefully considered before forming a Christmas bubble. 

As an alternative, you might want to consider visiting the person in the care home over this period. The Government has announced they aim to offer regular testing for up to two family members or friends per resident by Christmas. Each care home will likely have a slightly different visiting policy, so talk to the care home about how visiting might be possible over this period. 

If someone living in a care home does form a Christmas bubble, they should continue to socially distance, even with the other households in their bubble. The other people in the bubble should also take steps to reduce their exposure to coronavirus in the two weeks before 23 December and talk to their care home about testing. 

On their return to the care home the person will have to be tested and self-isolate.