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Who you can legally meet indoors under Tier 2 restrictions as London moves to stricter lockdown

Ross McGuinness
·4-min read
Pedestrians and shoppers, some wearing face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus, walk in the high street in west London on October 11, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline the new regime on Monday as rates of Covid 19 infection surge particularly in the north, worsening a national death toll of more than 42,000 which is already the worst in Europe. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
A new three-tier lockdown system in England has been announced. (AFP via Getty Images)

The legislation for England’s new coronavirus lockdown system has revealed there are 17 exemptions to restrictions in the Tier 2 category.

According to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (High) (England) Regulations 2020, there are a number of exemptions to the new rules, both indoors and outdoors, including allowing gatherings to commemorate Remembrance Sunday next month.

On Monday, Boris Johnson announced the three-tier system in the House of Commons, where it will be put to a vote among MPs on Tuesday.

If passed, the new system will come into force on Wednesday and would see areas of England labelled as medium, high or very high risk.

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?

There are a number of areas in the high, or Tier 2, category, including parts of Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Warrington, Derbyshire, Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the North East, Tees Valley, the West Midlands, Leicester and Nottingham.

In this tier, mixing of households indoors is not permitted. Two households may meet in a private garden but the “rule of six” and social distancing rules apply.

However, there are a number of exemptions in Tier 2 areas:

Indoors exemptions

Pedestrians and shoppers, some wearing face masks as a precaution against the transmission of the novel coronavirus, walk in the high street in west London on October 11, 2020. - Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to outline the new regime on Monday as rates of Covid 19 infection surge particularly in the north, worsening a national death toll of more than 42,000 which is already the worst in Europe. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP) (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)
There are a number of exemptions to the new coronavirus rules in England. (AFP via Getty Images)
  1. All members of the gathering are of the same household or in the same support bubble.

  2. The gathering is a permitted organised gathering operated by a business, charity or public body.

  3. The gathering is necessary for work purposes; charitable services; education or training; registered childcare or childcare as part of a bubble; someone needs emergency assistance; assisting a vulnerable person; continuing contact between parents and children where they live in different households or to facilitate a house move.

  4. To fulfil a legal obligation or participate in legal proceedings.

  5. The gathering takes place in criminal justice accommodation.

  6. The gathering is of a support group and consists of no more than 15 people and is on premises other than a private dwelling.

  7. The person is attending a birth at the mother’s request.

  8. A marriage or civil partnership of no more than 15 people.

  9. A wedding or civil partnership reception of no more than 15 people in premises other than a private dwelling.

  10. The gathering is for a funeral that consists of no more than 30 people at premises other than a private dwelling.

  11. The gathering is for a commemorative event following someone’s death, of no more than 15 people at premises other than a private dwelling.

  12. Visiting someone who is dying if you are a member of their household, a close family member or friend.

  13. Visiting a close family member or friend who is receiving treatment in a hospital or staying in a hospice or care home.

  14. Gathering for the purposes of a protest organised by a business or charity.

  15. Gathering for elite sports if you are an elite sportsperson or the coach of an elite sportsperson or the parent of a child who is an elite sportsperson.

  16. The gathering is for permitted indoor sports allowing people who have a disability and who are not elite sports persons to take part in sports.

  17. The gathering takes place to commemorate Remembrance Sunday.

Outdoors exemptions

There are 16 exemptions for outdoor gatherings in Tier 2 areas, most of which also apply indoors.

In a difference from indoor exemptions, they do not include visiting someone who is dying or visiting someone who is receiving treatment.

There is the exemption of an outdoor sports gathering if it is organised by a business or charity for the purposes of allowing people who aren’t elite sportspeople to take part in exercise outdoors – the indoors exemption only refers to people with a disability.

There is also a more general exemption of a gathering for “outdoor activities” where the organiser takes the required precautions.

Watch: What is long COVID?

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