Tier 1 (medium level)
The medium level will cover most of the country and will consist of the current national measures. This means those in a Tier 1 area must abide by the “Rule of Six” and the closure of hospitality venues at 10pm.
Read more: Tier 1 lockdown rules
Tier 2 (high level)
This level reflects many areas currently under local restrictions. In such areas people will be prevented from mixing with other households indoors. Most areas already subject to local restrictions will move to the high alert level.
The Rule of Six will continue to apply outdoors and in private gardens.
This tier now includes London, Essex, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, York, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield and Erewash.
Read more: Tier 2 lockdown rules
Tier 3 (very high level)
This level will apply in areas where transmission rates are causing the biggest concern.
The Government will set a “baseline” of measures that need to be in place for this tier, such as prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens and closing pubs and bars unless they can operate as a restaurant.
People will be advised against travelling in and out of these areas.
The Prime Minister said agreement had been reached with leaders in Merseyside, explaining it would be at the “very high alert” level – with gyms, leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos also closing.
Lancashire entered Tier 3 on October 17 after a last-ditch deal was agreed with the Government with an extra £12 million funding package.
The Liverpool City region, which includes Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens, Sefton and Halton, was placed under Tier 3 restrictions on October 14, Greater Manchester on October 23 and Warrington on October 27.
The Prime Minister said there is “no doubt” that the UK faces arduous months ahead as it grapples with a second wave of coronavirus cases, but is keen to avoid a nationwide lockdown.
Read more: Tier 3 lockdown rules
Tier 4 scenario
The Government will “rule nothing out” on the prospect of a new fourth tier of restrictions, Matt Hancock has said.
Officials are drawing up fresh plans to add an extra lockdown level, which could see restaurants and non-essential shops shut in the event infection rates in England fail to drop.
The fourth tier is thought to be viewed as a short term option which could be deployed instead of national circuit-breaker restrictions in order to get the spread of the virus back under control.
Back in August, the Department for Education published a four-tier structure, in which all educational institutions including primary schools and early years settings would be shut. Existing tier three measures include the closure of pubs and bars that do not serve food, topped up by shutting gyms, soft play centres and casinos.
Asked about it on Monday 26 October, the Health Secretary told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve always said all along that we take nothing off the table.
“Having said that, we have seen the rise in the number of cases has slowed a bit.
“The problem is it’s still going up, and while it’s still going up we’ve got to act to get it under control.
“We rule nothing out but at the moment the three-tier system is what we’re working to and it’s effective in slowing the growth of this virus but it hasn’t brought this curve to a halt.”
Government scientists including Prof Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, have warned that the “base line” Tier 3 restrictions were unlikely to be enough to bring down the R-rate alone.
What are Tier 4 restrictions?
Talks are underway between officials and local authorities to create a “plan B” to drive Covid-19 infection rates down if the current three-tiered lockdown system fails to work.
Extra tier three-plus or potential tier four restrictions could mean restaurants and non-essential shops are forced to close.
Under a distinct tier system created by the Department for Education, all educational institutions, including primary schools and early years settings, would be shut.
Matt Hancock ruled nothing in or out when he was asked about Tier 4 restrictions on Monday October 26, but it is thought new restrictions could be introduced in some parts of the country as early as November.