England’s new three-tier system went into effect on December 2 after the national lockdown was lifted.
Non-essential stores in all areas may reopen, as can gyms, hairdressers, and other personal care businesses, with the formal stay-at-home instruction ending. The “rule of six” will again apply to outdoor gatherings in all areas.
Places of worship will be able to open and weddings will be permitted under local restrictions.
What are the rules for level 2?
Under the new system, although hospitality venues are allowed to stay open until 11 p.m. – with last orders at 10 p.m. – only those serving substantial meals can operate. This means pubs and bars that won’t have to close.
As before, social diversity outside households or support bubbles will not be allowed inside. The rule of six will apply outdoors.
Spectators will be allowed to watch the sport at level 2, with a maximum outside crowd capacity of 50% of the stadium capacity or 2,000 people, whichever is smaller. Indoors, the maximum capacity is 1000.
Indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, casinos, and bowling alleys, may open, but must close at 11 p.m.
Anyone who can work from home should do so.
The full government rules and guidelines for Level 2 are available here.
When will the levels be reviewed?
Levels will be reviewed on December 16, any level changes will be announced on December 17, and changes will take effect on December 19.
For five days over Christmas – from December 23 to December 27 – there will be a loosening of the UK-wide rules to allow up to three households to form a bubble so they can socially mingle inside and spend the night to enjoy the holiday season together.
In Scotland, a maximum of eight people will be allowed but this does not include under 12s. In Northern Ireland, the window has been extended from December 22 to 28 to allow additional travel time between countries.
Which zones are currently at level 2?
East of England
- Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
- Essex, Thurrock et Southend-on-Sea
- Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes
- South Somerset, Somerset West et Taunton, Mendip et Sedgemoor
- Bath et North East Somerset
- Wiltshire et Swindon
- Due to the unprecedented and continuing nature of the coronavirus outbreak, this article is regularly updated to ensure that it reflects the current situation as best as possible. The most recent update will have been made on the date indicated at the top of the article. Any significant corrections to this or previous versions of the article will continue to be noted below in accordance with Guardian’s editorial policy.