What are the new rules as London moves to Tier 3 restrictions?

Shoppers on Oxford Street in London, as non-essential shops in England open their doors to customers

Non-essential shops will be able to remain open. - Credit: PA

As London moves into Tier 3 from Wednesday, millions of people across the capital will be left scratching their heads as to what the new Covid-19 rules mean for them.

Heath secretary Matt Hancock announced today (Monday, December 14) that all London boroughs, as well as parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, face the most severe restrictions.

There has been a surge in new cases across London and the south east for the week up to December 8, including Havering (1,222), Redbridge (1,109) and Newham (1,084).

So, as the new rules come into force at 00.01am on Wednesday, we take a look at the key differences from the current Tier 2 restrictions.


The advice is still to continue working from home if you can.

Pubs, cafes and restaurants

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All pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants must close to customers - including outdoor spaces - but can continue to provide takeaway services.


Shops can remain open, as long as they are ‘Covid-secure’. This includes measures such as wearing a mask and social distancing.


People should still be limiting their travel as much as possible but you can continue to travel to visit places that are still open.

Avoid travelling outside your area, including overnight stays other than for work.

Meeting friends and family

Up to six people can still socialise in public parks but, as with Tier 2, nobody can mix indoors or in private gardens, apart from with those in your household or bubble.


Hairdressers, barbers and beauty salons can stay open, like other shops, as long as they operate in a Covid-secure environment.


Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites and guest houses must close. 

There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence and using them reasonably for work or education and training.

Spectator sports

People can still attend grassroots sports, including non-league football steps 3-6, which can have fans up to 15 per cent capacity. Elite level sports can continue without fans in attendance.

Sports facilities and exercise

Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) cannot take place.

Outdoor sport can continue but avoid higher-risk contact activities. Organised indoor sports cannot take place but there are exemptions for under 18s and people with disabilities.

Indoor entertainment

Cinemas, theatres and gig venues must close. This also spells an end to skating rinks, snooker halls, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, bingo halls, casinos and indoor play areas (including trampoline and soft play parks).

Outdoor attractions

Outdoor attractions can remain open but all indoor sections must close, including gift shops, greenhouses, museums and heritage sites such as stately homes.

Large outdoor events

Major concert events are still banned, apart from drive-throughs.

Places of worship

Places of worship remain open but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies.

Weddings and funerals

These can go ahead, with restrictions. Up to 15 people can attend a wedding, while 30 people can go to a funeral - but they must be Covid-compliant.