Boris Johnson yesterday revealed plans for a new “strengthened” tier system in England as the country emerges from its second national lockdown on 2 December.

Despite rumours, there will be no fourth tier introduced at this time, however there are significant changes to the tier system that England saw prior to the second lockdown.

As in October, the three tiers, from one to three, represent the alert levels medium, high and very high respectively.


Another government announcement on Thursday 26 November will reveal what tiers different parts of the country will fall into, with London expected to see the second tier and the Prime Minister claiming that more regions of England should expect to see higher tiers than before the current lockdown.

What the tiers will mean for businesses

While there will be changes for bars and restaurants throughout the tiers, non-essential retail shops are allowed to remain open across all three tiers.

This is provided they can “operate in a COVID-secure manner”, the government stated.

This will be welcome news to non-essential retailers that have been missing out on Christmas shoppers during most of November.

While tier three will not restrict businesses themselves, some retailers could expect to see a drop in footfall due to restrictions on meeting people from other households and also on travelling to and from tier three areas.

Commuter-heavy areas could also expect low footfall around the country as the advice for workers remains to work from home “where possible” across all three tiers.

The government has also updated its financial support for businesses, including the Job Support Scheme.

If a business closes due to the tier restrictions then employees out of work for at least a week will be due two thirds of their wage up to £2100 per month.

The Local Restrictions Support Grant means smaller businesses will now be able to claim £667 for every two-week period for which they are forced to close.