Tier 3 rules explained as Manchester is forced into lockdown

Manchester is set to join Liverpool and Lancashire by being hit with the most severe coronavirus restrictions in England.

The city and Greater Manchester region looks destined to be forced into Tier 3 on the government’s new Local Covid Alert Level system, a decision which will severely limit what people can do.

Tier 3 is the most serious of the three-tier system which puts every village, town, city and region of England into one of three levels, depending on how severe the spread of Covid-19.

The lowest level, Tier 1, is ‘medium’ risk, Tier 2 is ‘high’ risk and Tier 3 is ‘very high’. Measures get tighter at each level.

The government has produced an online postcode checker that allows people to check their local restrictions.

Areas in Tier 3 will have their restrictions reviewed every 28 days.

Tier 3 lockdown rules

Very High COVID-19 Local Alert Level Poster
Very High COVID-19 Local Alert Level Poster

For places in Tier 3, a baseline detailing the minimum restrictions required has been set.

That means every area classed as ‘very high’ risk must have these measures put in place. However, bespoke additional rules can be negotiated between local leaders and the government.

The baseline measures include:

Seeing family and friends

People living in ‘very high’ risk areas cannot mix with other households inside at all. That means they cannot go into each other’s homes – unless they’re in the same support bubble – or meet at hospitality or ticketed venues such as cafes or theatres.

The only other people allowed into homes are trades people such as electricians, plumbers and plasterers carrying out work.

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Residents are also banned from meeting others they don’t live with in private domestic gardens and pub beer gardens.

The only place people can see other family and friends to socialise is in an open public space such as a park or beach. In these instances, the Rule of Six still applies.


People sitting in The Liverpool Pub on James Street
Pubs in Tier 3 areas may only serve alcohol as part of a ‘substantial’ meal

All pubs and bars must close unless they can operate as a restaurant and serve substantial meals to customers.

Alcohol can only be served if it’s alongside a main lunchtime or evening meal.

Wedding receptions

No wedding receptions are allowed in places with Tier 3 restrictions.

Ceremonies can still go ahead with 15 people present.


Travelling in and out of Tier 3 areas is not banned, but is advised against.

The number of journeys made should be kept to a minimum, even within Tier 3 areas, with essential travel for activities such as work, school, medical appointments and care all allowed.

The Government also says people in ‘very high’ risk areas should avoid overnight stays in other parts of the country. People who live elsewhere should also avoid stopping off for the night in Tier 3 areas.

Bespoke additional restrictions

A worker disinfects barbells at a gym
Gyms are closed in Liverpool but not Lancashire

Each area can add other restrictions on top of the minimum requirements set out by the Government.

This means some businesses can remain open in some areas but not others, even if they’re just a few miles apart.

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Liverpool: Gyms and leisure centres in the Liverpool region must close while the city is in Tier 3 restrictions. Adult gaming centres, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops are also closed.

However, soft play areas can remain open and car boot sales can continue.

Lancashire: On the flip side, gyms and leisure centres in Lancashire can stay open, but soft play areas have had to close and car boot sales stop for now.

Like Liverpool, adult gaming centres, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops will be closed while the county is in Tier 3 lockdown.


Tier 3 shielding

Jake Raspin, 13, looks out of his Union Flag-decked window at home
Children who had to shield previously can still go to school in Tier 3 areas

The Government has issued further advice to those living in ‘very high’ risk areas who were shielding during the national lockdown earlier this year.

Those people are encouraged to stay at home as much as possible and only travel when it’s essential.

Anyone who can’t work from home can still go to work, and children can continue going to school.

However, shopping trips should be significantly reduced and replaced with online deliveries. If that’s not possible, people who have had to shield are advised to ask members of their household, support bubble or volunteers to collect food and medicines where possible.

Anyone needing additional support is advised to contact their local authority if they need assistance.

Tier 3 locations

General views of shoppers in Preston, Lancashire
Preston in Lancashire is one of the cities in Tier 3 restrictions


  • Blackburn with Darwen
  • Blackpool
  • Burnley
  • Chorley
  • Fylde
  • Hyndburn
  • Lancaster
  • Pendle
  • Preston
  • Ribble Valley
  • Rossendale
  • South Ribble
  • West Lancashire
  • Wyre
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Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool
  • Knowsley
  • Wirral
  • St Helens
  • Sefton
  • Halton



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