Shopping with masks

London moves to Tier 2


New lockdown rules for London

In November, where the only places were open were shops and places to go for essential items. December 2nd meant that London reopened for business. Just in time for Christmas shopping!

Having booked a hair appointment in Brixton today as my hair was looking a mess. I found London to be absolutely choc a block with cars. Everyone had the same idea to get out into London the first Saturday after lockdown ended. I was late to my appointment today as the traffic on the road was unreal! People were queuing outside all of the shops today in Brixton. The ‘new normal’ still feels strange. In my appointment, we sat in booths, with the hairdressers all in PPE coverings. The only thing I have found embarrassing was the fact that I found conversation difficult. I couldn’t always hear properly as we both spoke with masks on!

Open for business

London moves to Tier 2

Official notice of what it means to be back in Tier 2 in London below:

Meeting indoors

You can only meet socially with friends and family indoors who you either:

Unless a legal exemption applies.

‘Indoors’ means any indoor setting, including:

  • private homes
  • other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants

Meeting in larger groups

There are exceptions where people can continue to gather indoors, or in groups larger than 6 outdoors, including:

  • as part of a single household or support bubble
  • in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services, including in other people’s homes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes)
  • for registered childcare, education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum, or training that relates to work or obtaining work.
  • for supervised activities provided for children, and those who were under 18 on 31 August 2020, including wraparound care (before and after school childcare), childrens’ groups and activities for under-18s, and children’s playgroups
  • for parent and toddler groups – up to a maximum of 15 people (under-5s do not count towards this limit). These cannot take place in private dwellings
  • for arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
  • to allow contact between birth parents and children in care, as well as between siblings in care
  • for prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
  • support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support, where it is necessary for these to take place in person.  These cannot take place in private dwellings. Under-5s do not count towards the 15-person limit for support groups
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • see someone who is dying
  • fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
  • for gatherings within criminal justice accommodation or immigration detention centres
  • to provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable, or to provide respite for a carer
  • for a wedding or equivalent ceremony and reception where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus – up to 15 people.  These cannot take place in private dwellings, except for deathbed weddings that take place in exceptional circumstances where one of the parties is seriously ill and not expected to recover
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people and for linked commemorative events, such as wakes or stone settings – up to 15 people. These cannot take place in private dwellings
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or accompanying a family or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their support team if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to  compete and train
  • for organised outdoor sport and physical activity, and organised sports for disabled people
  • to facilitate a house move

Other activities, such as hobby groups, organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided that different households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities should not go ahead. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s, which can take place with larger groups mixing. 

Where a group includes someone covered by an exception (for example, someone who is working or volunteering), they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work, and the officiant at a wedding would not count towards the limit.

If you break the rules

The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be given a fixed penalty notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for each further offence up to £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

Covid home life

What advice is given to those who are clinically extremely vulnerable?

I look back at the time I couldn’t leave the house when we first went into Lockdown and I had to shield. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was locked away in my bedroom shielding.

Further advice at Tier 2: High

Socialising inside and outside the home

At Tier 2: High, you must not meet with people indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble. This includes private homes, and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs and restaurants.

You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with outside, including in a garden or other outdoor space. If you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6. In England, this limit of 6 includes children and young people of any age.

At this alert level, our additional advice for clinically extremely vulnerable people is that you keep the number of different people you meet with consistently low. The fewer people you meet, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19.

You are encouraged to continue to go outside because of the benefits of exercise. If you do choose to meet other households outside of your support bubble, this must be outside, must be in groups of less than 6 people and we advise you to keep the numbers low.

The more you socially distance from others, including your own household, the less likely you are to catch COVID-19. You should always stay at least 2 metres away from other people visiting your home.

Work and education

The advice is the same as for Tier 1: Medium.

You should continue to work from home where possible. If you cannot work from home, you can still attend your workplace as your workplace should be COVID-secure. The general advice on work has further details about what to do if you have concerns.

If you cannot make alternative arrangements, your employer may be able to furlough you under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which has been extended until the end of March 2021. You should have a conversation with your employer about whether this is possible.

All pupils and students should continue to attend education settings at local tiers unless they are one of the very small number of pupils or students under paediatric or other NHS care and have been advised by their GP or clinician not to attend an education setting. Children and young people whose parents or carers are clinically extremely vulnerable should also continue to go to school.


At Tier 2: High, all people are advised to minimise travel and to avoid busy times and busy routes where possible.

In addition, we advise clinically extremely vulnerable people to avoid travel where possible except for going to work, school, or for essential shopping.

If you need to travel, walk or cycle if you can. If this is not possible, travelling in a private car is generally lower risk than public transport because you are likely to come into contact with fewer people. You should avoid sharing a car, especially with people outside of your immediate household or support bubble.

Going to shops and pharmacies

You are advised to reduce the number of shopping trips you make. If you do go to the shops including pharmacies, consider doing so at quieter times of the day.

Consider using online delivery slots for food shopping or ask friends and family to help deliver shopping or collect medicines for you.

If you need further assistance with food shopping or medicine collection, NHS Volunteer Responders may be able to help.

If you require additional care and support

You should continue to receive care at home, either from professional social care and medical professionals, or from friends and family within your support bubble.

You should continue to access the NHS services that you need, and you should contact the NHS if you have an urgent or emergency care need.