What will change if Sheffield and South Yorkshire go into Tier 4 today - the rules explained

South Yorkshire has remained at Tier 3 over the Christmas period - but with the number of Covid-19 cases rising by almost a third in a week across Sheffield alone, that could be about to change.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to announce any changes to current tier allocations today, with the toughest coronavirus restrictions expected to be expanded to millions more nationwide.

The review of England’s tiered system of restrictions, which could be introduced within days, will be announced in the House of Commons after 2.30pm this afternoon.

If South Yorkshire is escalated to Tier 4, things will change drastically in the county- non-essential shops and gyms will close and there will be even stricter limits on the number of people you can interact with.

Coronavirus tiers are expected to change for millions of people today (Photo: Getty)

Here is a re-cap of the rules should Sheffield and South Yorkshire be placed the highest alert category.


Tier 4 rules or more or less the same as the ones we saw during the first national lockdown.

People living in a Tier 4 area must not leave or be outside of their homes or gardens except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’.

Essential activities include buying groceries, getting medicine or collecting a take-away, but you should stay local. You should not travel into a Tier 4 area from another part of the UK, other than for reasons mentioned here:

Fulfilling legal obligations such as buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

Education and childcare - you can leave home for education related to the formal curriculum or training, registered childcare, under-18 sport and physical activity, and supervised activities for children that are necessary to allow parents/carers to work, seek work, or undertake education or training.

Meeting others and care - you can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide informal childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble, to provide care for vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked after child.

Exercise and recreation - people can also partake in unlimited exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities - with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing.

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

Communal worship and life events, such as funerals or wedding ceremonies, however, weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend.

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Everything you need to know as Sheffield and South Yorkshire could go into Tier ...

Can I stay away from home overnight or go on holiday in the UK?

You are not allowed to leave your home or the place where you are living for holidays or overnight stays unless you have a reasonable excuse for doing so, such as visiting your support bubble.

This means that holidays in the UK and abroad are not allowed.

There are exceptions, so check the full list on the Government website.

Which businesses will be allowed to stay open?

Only some businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following coronavirus secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, such as:

- essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences

- market stalls selling essential retail may also stay open

- businesses providing repair services may also stay open, where they primarily offer repair services

- petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses

- banks, building societies, post offices, short-term loan providers and money transfer businesses

funeral directors

- laundrettes and dry cleaners

- medical and dental services

- vets and pet shops

- animal rescue centres, boarding facilities, and animal groomers (may continue to be used for animal welfare, rather than aesthetic purposes)

- agricultural supplies shops

-mobility and disability support shops

- storage and distribution facilities

-car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas

-outdoor playgrounds

- outdoor gym, pools, sports courts and facilities

- golf courses

- archery/driving/shooting ranges (outdoors)

- outdoor riding centres

- places of worship

- crematoriums and burial grounds

Can I travel abroad?

If you live in a Tier 4 area, you can only travel internationally - or within the UK - where you first have a legally permitted reason to leave home.

You should also consider the public health advice in the country you are visiting.

If you live outside a Tier 4 area you may still transit into or through a Tier 4 area to travel abroad if you need to, but you should carefully consider whether you need to do so.

In addition, you should follow the public health advice in the country that you’re visiting.

What about schools?

The Government has confirmed that all secondary schools and colleges in England will be offered help, support and facilities to implement an additional round of free coronavirus testing from the first week of January.

This will be alongside a staggered return to face-to-face education in secondary schools, starting with exam years, children of critical workers and vulnerable children.

For more details on the restrictions for Tier 4, see the Government website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/tier-4-stay-at-home

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.