COVID-19 | Tier 4 Alert Level

21st December 2020

On 19th December the government announced a new Tier 4 of regional restrictions aimed at reducing the spread of Covid-19. The regions subject to Tier 4 were placed under these restrictions from 00.01 on 20th December. The government also announced that regions in Tiers 1-3 are permitted to form a ‘bubble’ of up to three households on 25th December only, with those in Tier 4 no longer allowed to do so.

Tier 4 | Rosenblatt’s Financial Crime Team

People living in Tier 4 regions must not leave or be outside of their home or garden except where they have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This includes work purposes; fulfilling legal obligations such as purchasing a property; essential activities such as buying food or medicine; education; visiting those in a support bubble; medical reasons; attending a wedding ceremony (up to 6 people) or funeral (up to 30 people) and exercise.

In Tier 4 people can exercise or meet in a public outdoor place with people they live with, their support bubble (or as part of a childcare bubble), or with one other person.

People can exercise or visit a public outdoor place:

  • Alone
  • With the people they live with
  • With their support bubble
  • Or, alone, with one person from another household

Children under 5, and up to two carers for a person with a disability who needs continuous care are not counted towards the outdoors gatherings limit. People cannot meet people in a private garden, unless they live with them or have formed a support bubble with them.

Travel within a Tier 4 area is limited to reasonable excuses as detailed above. Travelling outside of a Tier 4 area is not permitted unless it constitutes a legally permitted reason such as work, education, visiting a support bubble (including overnight stays) or attending a medical appointment. Those living in Tiers 1-3 are not permitted to travel into Tier 4 other than for a legally permitted reason as detailed above.

The regulations require some businesses to close and impose restrictions on how some businesses provide goods and services. The businesses required to close include but are not limited to:

  • Non-essential retail, such as clothing and homeware stores, vehicle showrooms (other than for rental), betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops, auction houses (except for auctions of livestock or agricultural equipment) and market stalls selling non-essential goods – these venues can continue to be able to operate click-and-collect (where goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises) and delivery services.
  • Hospitality venues such as cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs; with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
  • Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites, except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence, where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes.
  • Leisure and sports facilities such as leisure centres and indoor gyms, indoor swimming pools, indoor sports courts, indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor riding centres, and indoor climbing walls.
  • Entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, casinos, amusement arcades, bingo halls, bowling alleys, skating rinks, go-karting venues, indoor play and soft play centres and areas (including inflatable parks and trampolining centres), circuses, fairgrounds, funfairs, zoos and other animal attractions, water parks and theme parks.
  • Personal care facilities such as hair, beauty, tanning and nail salons. Tattoo parlours, spas, massage parlours, body and skin piercing services must also close. These services should not be provided in other people’s homes.

Other businesses and venues are permitted to stay open, following COVID-19 Secure guidelines. This includes those providing essential goods and services, including but not limited to:

  • Essential retail such as food shops, supermarkets, pharmacies, garden centres, building merchants and suppliers of building products and off-licences
  • 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
  • Agricultural supplies shops
  • Storage and distribution facilities
  • Car parks, public toilets and motorway service areas
  • Outdoor playgrounds

The restrictions applied to Tier 4 largely correlate to the national lockdown restrictions that were in force during November 2020. The regions subject to Tier 4 restrictions are London, Kent and Medway, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, Wokingham, Windsor and Maidenhead and West Berkshire), Surrey (excluding Waverley), Hastings and Rother, Havant, Gosport and Portsmouth, Hertfordshire, Essex (excluding Tendring, Uttlesford and Colchester), Central Bedfordshire, Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton and Peterborough.

Enforcement | Rosenblatt’s Crime Team

The statutory instruments setting out the Tier 4 restrictions contain provisions for enforcing the restrictions through fixed penalty notices or prosecutions.

Rosenblatt can help

Rosenblatt has a wealth of experience in criminal law and is uniquely placed to support client’s crime needs during these unprecedented times, consistently ensuring a familiarity with the ever-changing Government guidance on COVID-19.

Contact us

Should you wish to discuss the services we offer further, please contact Frances Murray from the Financial Crime team at or +44 (0)20 7955 0880.