Rules explained as Greater Manchester added to Tier 2 in new COVID alert system

In the new tier system outlined by the Prime Minister yesterday, which separates areas by their risk level ('medium', 'high', and 'very high'), Greater Manchester and its 10 boroughs were placed into the second category, or Tier 2.

The Manc The Manc - 13th October 2020
Number 10 – Boris Johnson announced the new tier system this week

So, now we know.

After days and weeks of speculation, rumour and hearsay surrounding the prospect of a second lockdown, the people of Greater Manchester have finally been given an official answer as to whether they can continue living their lives and running their businesses.

It’s a ‘yes’… but with a warning.

In the new tier system outlined by the Prime Minister yesterday – which separates England regions by their risk level (‘medium’, ‘high’, and ‘very high’) – Greater Manchester and its 10 boroughs were placed into the second category, or Tier 2.

The headline, of course, is that we avoided the harshest measures.


Cities and towns within Tier 2 do not have to close hospitality or non-essential stores – which means that pubs and restaurants will continue to trade as normal, despite initial fears they’d be shut down.

The government has now published the guidance for each tier online, as well as a full list of the regions that fall within each category.

Number 10 – Speculation has been rife as to which category Greater Manchester would find itself a part of

Tier 1 – ‘Medium’ risk

Most places in England have been categorised in Tier 1 – areas where the risk of COVID transmission is considered ‘medium’.

Regions placed in Tier 1 must continue to follow national rules, which include:

  • The Rule of Six: People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors
  • A 10pm curfew for hospitality
  • Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

Many businesses and education facilities in this tier are permitted to remain open (except for the likes of nightclubs), with funerals and weddings permitted to go ahead with restrictions on attendee numbers.


Any location in England not listed below (in Tier 2 or Tier 3) is under Tier 1.

Number 10 – Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty isn’t convinced the current measures go far enough, and believes more restrictions may be necessary later down the line

Tier 2 – ‘High’ risk

Greater Manchester has been placed in Tier 2.

This is for areas with a higher level of infections. Anyone within these regions must adhere to the rules of Tier 1 (Rule of Six, 10pm curfew etc) but also consider the following guidance:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • People can meet in groups of up to 6 outside – including gardens
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible and avoid peak times and public transport.

Businesses, pubs and bars remain open.

Currently, the places in England listed in Tier 2 include:



  • Cheshire West and Chester; Cheshire East

Greater Manchester

  • Manchester; Bolton; Bury; Stockport; Tameside; Trafford; Wigan; Salford; Rochdale; Oldham


  • Warrington


High Peak – the wards of:

  • Tintwistle; Padfield; Dinting; St John’s; Old Glossop; Whitfield; Simmondley; Gamesley; Howard Town; Hadfield South; Hadfield North


  • Blackpool; Blackburn with Darwen; Burnley; Chorley; Fylde; Hyndburn; Lancaster; Pendle; Preston; Ribble Valley; Rossendale; South Ribble; West Lancashire; Wyre

West Yorkshire

  • Leeds; Bradford; Kirklees; Calderdale; Wakefield

South Yorkshire

  • Barnsley; Rotherham; Doncaster; Sheffield

North East

  • Newcastle; South Tyneside; North Tyneside; Gateshead; Sunderland; Durham; Northumberland

Tees Valley

  • Middlesbrough; Redcar and Cleveland; Stockton-on-Tees; Darlington; Hartlepool

West Midlands

  • Birmingham; Sandwell; Solihull; Wolverhampton; Walsall


  • Leicester; Oadby and Wigston


  • Nottinghamshire; Nottingham City

Tier 3 – ‘Very high’ risk

Tier 3, the ‘very high’ alert level, has seen the reintroduction of restrictions for areas where the virus is spreading quickly.

Locations in this category must:

  • Close pubs and bars; although restaurants may remain open
  • Ban wedding receptions
  • Avoid mixing with anybody outside a household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting
  • Avoid travelling outside the area except for work, education and youth services

Overnight stays in this area are also banned. Residents of Tier 3 locations should also avoid staying overnight in other parts of the UK.

According to the government, “consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures,” which means local leaders will need to decide if further restrictions will be necessary in the event that “baseline” measures prove ineffective.


According to Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty, tougher rules may soon be required.

Currently, the only region included in Tier 3 is Liverpool City:

Liverpool City Region

  • Liverpool; Knowsley; Wirral; St Helens; Sefton; Halton

These measures will be kept under constant review, including a four-week “sunset clause” for interventions in Tier 3 areas.

Read the guidance in full on the government website.