Teesside will face even tougher restrictions after it was announced the area is to go into Tier 4 lockdown.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement in the House of Commons on Wednesday and the measure will take effect at midnight on Thursday.

The measure come as cases on Teesside – in particular in Hartlepool – have seen a resurgence over Christmas.

Large parts of the north and midlands will join Teesside in Tier 4.

Local hospitals also remain under pressure, with covid patients taking up more than half of beds at North Tees in Stockton.

If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’ – see below for the full list

All non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, gyms and leisure centres, and other entertainment venues (such as theatres and cinemas) must close in Tier 4.

As in previous lockdowns there are exemptions – if you need to leave your home for essential shopping, education, childcare, work (if you can’t work from home) and unlimited exercise. Outdoor sport can also take place.

The public is advised not to leave or enter a Tier 4 area, and Tier 4 residents must not stay overnight anywhere other than their own home.

Weddings are only allowed to go ahead in exceptional circumstances.

Indoor socialising with people not in your household, support bubble, or childcare bubble is completely banned.

One person from one household is allowed to meet one person from another household in a public, outdoor space.

This means a maximum of two people can meet up, although there is an exception for those with young children, or those with severe disabilities who are dependent on round the clock care.

House moves can continue in Tier 4, and nurseries are allowed to stay open. Places of worship can remain open with social distancing in place.

Support and childcare bubbles still stand in Tier 4, even if that means people crossing from one tier into another.

Tier 4 – the full rules

If you live in Tier 4 you must not leave or be outside of your home or garden except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’.

A reasonable excuse includes:

Work and volunteering

You can leave home for work purposes, where your place of work remains open and where you cannot work from home, including if your job involves working in other people’s homes.

You can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.

Essential activities

You can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services from a business which is permitted to open in your Tier 4 area, but you should stay local.

For instance you can leave home to buy food or medicine, or to collect any items – including food or drink – ordered through click-and-collect or as a takeaway, to obtain or deposit money (for example, from a bank or post office), or to access critical public services (see section below).

You may also leave home to fulfil legal obligations, or to carry out activities related to 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.

Parents can still take their children to school, and people can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.

Meeting others and care

1 in 3 people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it.

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



Gyms and leisure centres are reopening following the national lockdown

People can also exercise outdoors or visit some public outdoor places, such as parks, the countryside accessible to the public, public gardens or outdoor sports facilities.

You can continue to do unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or with one other person if you maintain social distancing. You should follow the guidance on meeting others safely.

Medical reasons, harm and compassionate visits

You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies, to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse),or for animal welfare reasons – such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.

You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.

If you are planning to visit, or accompany someone to, a care home, hospice, hospital or other healthcare setting, you should check that this is permitted by the facility.

Communal worship and life events

You can leave home to attend or visit:

  • a place of worship for communal worship
  • a funeral or event related to a death
  • a burial ground or a remembrance garden
  • a wedding ceremony

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 (see below).

Meeting others safely



First day of easing of Coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Middlesbrough’s Albert Park which still has restricted opening and a ban on sitting on park benches after mayor, Andy Preston defied lifting of restrictions.

In general, you must not meet socially or carry out any activities with another person. However, you can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people you live with, your support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

You should minimise time spent outside your home. When around other people, stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household – meaning the people you live with – or your support bubble. Where this is not possible, stay 1 metre apart with extra precautions (for example, wearing a face covering).

You must not meet socially indoors with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble.

You can exercise or visit a public outdoor place:

  • by yourself
  • with the people you live with
  • with your support bubble
  • or, when on your own, with 1 person from another household

Children under 5, and up to 2 carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit.

Public outdoor places include:

  • parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • the grounds of a heritage site
  • outdoor sports courts and facilities
  • playgrounds

You cannot meet people in a private garden, unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

You must wear a face covering in many indoor settings, such as shops or places of worship where these remain open, and on public transport, unless you are exempt. This is the law.

Support and childcare bubbles

There is separate guidance for support bubbles and childcare bubbles across all tiers. You can form a support bubble with another household if any of the following apply to you:

  • you are the only adult in your household (any other members of the household having been under 18 on 12 June 2020), or are an under 18 year old living without any adults
  • you live with someone with a disability who requires continuous care and there is no other adult living in the household
  • you live with a child under 1, or who was under 1 on 2 December 2020
  • you live with a child under 5, or who was under 5 on 2 December 2020, who has a disability and requires continuous care

You may need to change your support bubble if your circumstances change. Find out more about changing your support bubble.

You are permitted to leave your home to visit your support bubble (and to stay overnight with them). However, if you form a support bubble, it is best if this is with a household who live locally. This will help prevent the virus spreading from an area where more people are infected.

Where and when you can meet in larger groups

There are still circumstances in which you are allowed to meet others from outside your household or support bubble in larger groups, but this should not be for socialising and only for permitted purposes. A full list of these circumstances will be included in the regulations, and includes:

  • for work, or providing voluntary or charitable services. This includes picketing outside workplaces. This can include work in other people’s homes where necessary – for example, for nannies, cleaners, social care workers providing support to children and families, or tradespeople. See guidance on working safely in other people’s homes ). Where a work meeting does not need to take place in a private home or garden, it should not – for example, although you can meet a personal trainer, you should do so in a public outdoor place
  • in a childcare bubble (for the purposes of childcare only)
  • for registered childcare, or for supervised activities for children where this enables a parent to work, seek work, attend education or training, or for respite care
  • education or training – meaning education related to a formal curriculum or training that relates to work or obtaining work
  • 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
  • to place or facilitate the placing of a child or children in the care of another by social services
  • for birth partners
  • to provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
  • to see someone who is dying
  • to 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 in exceptional circumstances and only for up to 6 people
  • for funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other linked ceremonial events can continue in a group of up to 6 people
  • to visit someone at home who is dying, or to visit someone receiving treatment in a hospital, hospice or care home, or to accompany a family member or friend to a medical appointment
  • for elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) to compete and train
  • to facilitate a house move

Support groups that have to be delivered in person can continue with up to 15 participants where formally organised to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support – but they must take place at a premises other than a private home.

This includes, but is not limited to, support to victims of crime, people in drug and alcohol recovery, new parents and guardians, people caring for those with long-term or terminal illnesses, or who are vulnerable, people facing issues relating to their sexuality or gender, those who have suffered bereavement, and vulnerable young people, including for them to meet youth workers.

Parent and child groups can continue where they provide support to parent and/or child, and children under 5 will not be counted within the 15 person limit – meaning parents and carers can attend such groups in larger numbers. These cannot take place in private dwellings.

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 further offences up to a maximum of £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.