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Can I travel from Tier 2 to Tier 1? Rules and restrictions on moving between areas under new Covid system

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Boris Johnson outlined the UK Government’s new three-tier system earlier this month, which places areas of England into “medium”, “high” and “very high” alert levels – also known as tier one, two and three.

The system is designed to “simplify and standardise” local lockdown rules. However, many were left wondering what the latest restrictions mean when it comes to travelling between different affected areas.

Here’s what you need to know about moving between regions under the latest lockdown measures.

Which areas are in tier one?

The majority of England has been placed under medium alert or tier one – although London and Essex were moved to tier two last week.

Places previously under local restrictions that are now in tier two include South and West Yorkshire, among others.

Currently, only Liverpool city region

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and Lancashire are in tier three, but Greater Manchester will join them at midnight on Friday followed by Sheffield City Region the next day.

You can check the full list of areas and in which tier they are here.

Can I travel to tier two or three areas from tier one?

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The Government is currently advising people not to travel to and from the higher tier areas unless it is an essential journey.

This means anyone living in tier one should avoid visiting regions in tier two and three – although there are a few exceptions.

These include travelling for work or education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities, or if a person is in transit.

People walk on the Tolcarne beach in Newquay on the north coast of Cornwall, as the UK continues in lockdown to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. PA Photo. Picture date: Friday April 10, 2020. People have been urged to heed instructions that they should stay at home over Easter, amid fears that a warm start to the weekend could see lockdown rules broken.See PA story HEALTH Coronavirus. Photo credit should read: Ben Birchall/PA Wire
There are no specific travel restrictions set in place if you want to travel to another region under ‘medium alert’ (Photo: Ben Birchall/PA)

The Government’s website says: “You should also avoid travelling to any part of the country subject to higher local Covid alert levels”.

It continues: “You may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, voluntary, charitable or youth services, or to access education, within a high alert level area, but you should and aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible.”

However, there are no specific travel restrictions set in place if people want to travel to another region deemed a “medium” risk. This means poeple can holiday in anywhere in England that is also categorised as tier one.

Are the rules different in Wales?

Under the new regulations, people living in areas with higher Covid infection rates in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland will not be able to travel to Wales.

In England, this will to apply to people living in areas under “high” and “very high” alerts, then the central belt of Scotland and the whole of Northern Ireland.

People living in an area of Wales with no local restrictions are free to travel anywhere with no local restrictions.

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What about Scotland?

A tiered coronavirus alert system is set to be introduced across Scotland and will aim to match those being used by other UK nations as closely as possible, Nicola Sturgeon has said.

More details about how the tiered system of restrictions will work are expected to be announced on Friday 23 October – including the level of financial support for businesses.

The restrictions will follow a similar approach to the current three-tiered system in England, where regions have been assigned to one of three different tiers depending on their coronavirus risk level.

Ms Sturgeon confirmed that the three middle tiers will be “broadly equivalent” to the medium and high tiers in England.

She suggested a lower level, which is “closest to normality” will be needed as well as higher level with tougher restrictions than the one seen in tier three areas in England.

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