Sunday, 20 December 2020

Coronavirus restrictions ~ A Tier 4 introduced for England

Updated 6 January 2021  - New law became applicable. This post has been retained here for historical purposes. Key steps in the fast-moving situation through December 2020 are recorded.


The on-going and unhappy saga of Coronavirus Restrictions legislation continues with The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers and Obligations of Undertakings) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1611). These came into force at 0700 hrs on 20 December.

Essentially, the changes introduce a new Tier 4 set of restrictions. Other amendments are also made which apply to all tiers.


After 9 months of struggle to contain the virus, the daily data

makes for unhappy reading -  Government data.  It is reported that up to 19 December there had been 67,075 deaths (within 28 days of first positive test) due to Covid-19. There were 27,052 new positive tests reported on 19 December. The position across the EU is reported by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control - HERE.

For the government's reasoning in making the latest changes see the Prime Minister's Statement on Coronavirus 19 December 2020. Mr Johnson referred to a "new variant of the virus" which has been analysed by the advisory group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats – NERVTAG.. Mr Johnson said that " ... There is no evidence the variant causes more severe illness or higher mortality, but it does appear to be passed on significantly more easily."

Recent changes:

For England, a 3 Tier system of restrictions was applied from 2 December 2020 - previous post.  The Regulations are - The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020. (SI 2020/1374). 

Note: Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland each have their own separate legislation.

The Regulations applicable to England from 2 December have been amended on a number of occasions - notably by The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1533) and The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1572).  These amendments altered the Tiers within which particular parts of England had initially been allocated. The No.2 amendments came into force on 19 November.


UK Government - Guidance

Update 24 December 2020:

The government has made further amendments to the legislation - see The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1646). These Regulations were "made" on 24 December and come into force on 26 December. The Regulations state that they were laid before Parliament on 29 December.

Update 31 December 2020:

The government has made further amendments to the legislation - see The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 - (SI: 2020/1654). The Regulations came into force on 31 December 2020.


  1. Am I correct in saying that movement restrictions are limited to those who live in Tier 4 and for all other Tiers restrictions on movement are advisory only ?

    David Woodward

    1. Under the Tier system the restrictions differ from Tier to Tier. However, from 6 January 2021 England was placed in a lockdown. That was done by strengthening Tier 4 regulations and making them apply to the whole of England.