Saturday 19 December 2020 5:51 pm

London in Tier 4: What are the rules?

London, the South East and the East of England have been put into a new ‘Tier 4’ in a bid to contain a new spike in coronavirus cases. 

Christmas for those living in the affected areas has been essentially cancelled, with harsh restrictions imposed on the areas and families warned not to mix households. 

The capital and southeast England will enter a new ‘Tier 4’ from tomorrow morning, that will see households locked down and non-essential retail closed, mimicking the rules of England’s first, and longest lockdown. 

The rules are similar to those implemented during England’s first lockdown, although communal worship will be allowed to continue.

Meeting up with friends and family

Those living in Tier 4 areas should not see friends and family indoors, and only one person at a time outside, with the exception of support bubbles.

Overnight stays with people outside your household or bubble will still not be allowed under Tier 4 rules.

The changes will inevitably change Christmas plans for thousands of households across the capital.

Eating and drinking and pubs and restaurants

Hospitality venues in London and the southeast were closed when Tier 3 was imposed on the region, and will remain closed in Tier 4, as they are deemed non-essential businesses.

The government has not been explicit on the rules around takeaway food or drink yet, however under Tier 3 venues were able to continue operating for takeaway.


In a move away from Tier 3, non-essential shuts will be shut in Tier 4.

Though the government is yet to issue specific guidance on hairdressers, beauty salons, tattoo parlours, nail salons, and spas, it has said non-essential businesses must shut.

Where to work

Boris Johnson has already said that under all tier restriction levels “people who can work from home, should continue to do so”.

A previous exemption allowing business lunches to still go ahead under Tier 2 is now off the menu, meaning all those definitely-not-a-Christmas-party gatherings will have to retreat to Zoom.


Those in Tier 4 have been told to stay home, and not to leave their local area.


Weddings are now banned in Tier 4, except in exceptional circumstances, which usually applies if one or both partners have not got long to live.


Unlike in other Tiers, gyms will be shuttered in Tier 4, though individual outdoor exercise will still be allowed under the new restrictions.