What tier is my area in? Use our Covid lockdown map to check your postcode

Manchester, Birmingham, Hull, Newcastle and swathes of the North face the toughest coronavirus restrictions under new tiers, with only three areas – Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and Isles of Scilly – placed into the lowest Tier 1 category.  

London has entered Tier 2 along with Liverpool now that the national lockdown has lifted.

Other areas placed in the highest of the Government’s three tiers – either "medium" (Tier 1), "high" (Tier 2) or "very high" (Tier 3) – include Birmingham, Bristol, Kent, Yorkshire and the North East.

The new three-tier system passed through the House of Commons on the evening of December 1 with 291 votes to 78. However, despite the majority swinging in favour of the Prime Minister’s plans, a significant number of Tory rebels voted against the measures. 

A total of 55 Conservative MPs revolted against the new restrictions, which is the biggest rebellion of Boris Johnson’s premiership. Furthermore, 16 Tories abstained after they shared their concerns regarding the rules of the strict tier system before the vote. 

The official local lockdown map is based on the number of cases in each area, particularly among people aged over 60, as well as regional pressures on the NHS and testing.  

On the evening of November 26, the day the new measures were announced, the Prime Minister said that the tier your area falls under is “not your destiny” and that things will be a lot better by April.

He went on to warn the public not to “take our foot off the throat of the beast now”.

However, Mr Johnson’s decision to introduce this more severe tier-system will cost the economy £900 million a day, according to a leading economic forecaster. This prediction comes after Government ministers refused to share any explanation of the economic consequences of the new three-tier system, and only disclosed more information after pressure from backbench Conservative MPs. 

On December 1, Boris Johnson told MPs that the tiers would be decided on a more “granular” basis after the review in mid-December. The Prime Minister shared this prior to a vote in the Commons, in an attempt to win-over rebel MPs. 

Though the new tier system passed, Boris Johnson was interrupted several times before finishing his statement, as MPs from both parties were critical of areas with low infection rates being placed into high tiers because of his regional approach.

The Prime Minister shared: “As we go forward, and I mean this very sincerely, the Government will look at how we can reflect as closely as possible the reality of what is happening on the ground, looking at the incidence of the disease, the human geography and spread of the virus.” 

However, despite hopes of ‘granularity’ raising hopes among backbenchers, Sir Keir Starmer argued that it is highly unlikely” that anything would change dramatically in the next two weeks.

How many people face severe tier restrictions? 

More than 23 million people in England, which is 41.5 per cent of the population, now face the highest tier restrictions.

This total is constructed of 119 local authority areas, among which Birmingham has the largest population, with 1.1 million people. 

A further 32.2 million people, 57.3pc of the population, have entered Tier 2.

How does the level of infection differ between tiers?

Among the 119 locations entering Tier 3, only eight are showing signs that their Covid-19 cases are rising. Seven of these are located in South East England: Dover, Folkestone & Hythe, Gravesham, Maidstone, Medway, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells. However, the eighth is Hyndburn in the North West.

While London has fallen into Tier 2, the area of Havering has the highest rate in the tier, and it is higher than 92 of the 119 regions in the higher bracket of Tier 3. 

Despite this, the different placement of other neighbouring areas around the country do not fit the pattern of the current case rates. An example of this is seen in Tunbridge Wells in Kent, now in Tier 3, which has a rate of 117.9. This is lower than the rate in the adjoining area of East Sussex which has a rate of 161, but is in Tier 2. 

The area of South Hams in Devon has the lowest rate in the entire county; however, it has entered Tier 2, instead of the lowest tier.

Which Covid tier will I be in from December 2?

Areas in Tier 3 (very high alert) include:

North East

  • Tees Valley Combined Authority: Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton-on-Tees, Redcar and Cleveland, Darlington
  • North East Combined Authority: Sunderland, South Tyneside, Gateshead, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, County Durham, Northumberland

North West

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire

South East

  • Slough (remainder of Berkshire is tier 2: High alert)
  • Kent and Medway

South West

  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset


Change in lockdown tiers either side of national lockdown

Areas in Tier 2 (high alert) include:

North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire


  • York
  • North Yorkshire
  • West Midlands
  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

  • Rutland
  • Northamptonshire

East of England

  • Suffolk
  • Hertfordshire
  • Cambridgeshire, including Peterborough
  • Norfolk
  • Essex, Thurrock and Southend on Sea
  • Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes


  • All 32 boroughs plus the City of London

South East

  • East Sussex
  • West Sussex
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Surrey
  • Reading
  • Wokingham
  • Bracknell Forest
  • Windsor and Maidenhead
  • West Berkshire
  • Hampshire (except the Isle of Wight), Portsmouth and Southampton
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Oxfordshire

South West

  • South Somerset, Somerset West and Taunton, Mendip and Sedgemoor
  • Bath and North East Somerset
  • Dorset
  • Bournemouth
  • Christchurch
  • Poole
  • Gloucestershire
  • Wiltshire and Swindon
  • Devon

Areas in Tier 1 (medium alert) include:

South East

  • Isle of Wight
  • South West
  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly

What are the new rules and how long will they last?

The new Covid Winter Plan brings an end to England’s stay-at-home order, and allows for the reopening of shops, gyms, personal care and the leisure sector.

Collective worship, weddings and outdoor sports can resume and people are no longer limited to seeing one other person outdoors, as the rule of six returns once more.  

Hospitality can reopen in the two lowest tiers, with the 10pm curfew tweaked into a 10pm last orders. In tier three, sales are restricted to takeaways and delivery. 

These tiers will remain in place until March at the earliest, however, the placement of each area in each tier will be reviewed every two weeks. 

In a press briefing on November 26, the Prime Minister explained how the stricter tier system would “strike a balance” and that every area has a “means of escape” and the potential to move down a tier.

New Covid-19 tier restrictions – What’s changing and what’s not

  • Tier 1 lockdown rules

  • Tier 2 lockdown rules

  • Tier 3 lockdown rules

How are the tiers decided?

Decisions on tiers are made by ministers based on public health recommendations informed by the following factors:

  • Case detection rate (in all age groups and, in particular, among the over-60s);

  • How quickly case rates are rising or falling;
  • Positivity in the general population;
  • Pressure on the NHS – including current and projected (3-4 weeks out) NHS capacity – including admissions, general/acute/ICU bed occupancy, staff absences; and
  • Local context and exceptional circumstances such as a local but contained outbreak.

If these indicators are not improving, an area may be moved up a tier and if the trajectory improves, the area may move to a lower tier.

Can I see family and friends at Christmas?

Families will be able to stay together and form a “Christmas bubble” from Dec 23 to Dec 27.  

Travel restrictions are also being lifted, allowing people to visit families in other parts of the UK.

In particular Northern Ireland has negotiated a seven-day suspension of the Christmas rules to help people who need to catch flights or ferries to the mainland. It will run from Dec 22 to Dec 28.  

Grottos allowed, but no sitting on Santa’s lap


Grottos are allowed to open across all tiers, new government guidance has confirmed, but sitting on Santa’s lap is banned. 

Venues must put in place appropriate Covid-secure measures and families are required to maintain social distancing from Father Christmas.

Door-to-door carol singing is permitted as long as groups are outdoors and keep apart from each other.

However, those in Tier 3 are not able to attend school nativity plays and will have to live stream or watch a recording instead.

Performances need to be within existing school bubbles, with no mixing across groups.

In Tiers 1 and 2 audiences are able to attend “subject to appropriate safeguards being in place”.

When will tiers be reviewed? 

The first review point for the current tier allocations will take place by December 16.

This allows for the possibility of areas which continue to make progress in slowing the spread of the disease to be moved down a tier in advance of Christmas. 

What about the rest of the UK? 

In Scotland, on November 26, the Government set a cap of eight people over 12 years old for Christmas gatherings. They also emphasised that households should remain two metres apart while inside. Scotland has imposed a country-wide travel ban and imposed Tier 4 restrictions across 11 of its central and western areas, including Glasgow. These restrictions will remain in place until Dec 11. 

In Wales, tighter Covid restrictions are to be put in place from December 4 as cases start to rise.

Northern Ireland began another circuit-break lockdown on Nov 27, just one week after the last one finished, with all non-essential retail, restaurants and hairdressers closed for a fortnight, but schools, small weddings and funerals remain open. 

Got a question about the new tiers system? Comment below or email [email protected] for your questions to be answered by our experts.

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