A comprehensive guide to tier three lockdown rules

An explanation of all the new restrictions


Confused about what tier three actually means? Us too. So we made this guide full of FAQs, based on the new Government guidelines, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions that students have.

Hopefully this will clear things up.

Will in-person teaching continue?

In short: Yes (we think).

Universities are exempt from the six person indoor rule, meaning they can stay open. Whether a university decides to stay open is technically down to them, and as far as we are aware, both UoN and Trent are keeping their doors open.

Can I meet up with people I don’t live with?

In short: Yes, but only in specific outdoor locations.

When indoors, you can only mix with people you live with – unless you have a support-bubble. (A support bubble is when an adult who lives alone or an adult living with children joins up with another household.)

However, you can continue to see people you don’t live with in specific outdoor locations.

You can mingle (socially distanced, of course) in groups of six at places such as: parks, forests, public gardens, allotments, outdoor sports courts/facilities, and playgrounds.

But you cannot go to pub gardens or outdoor eating areas with people who are not in your household.

Rules on masks remain the same; they are not required outdoors, though two metres distance must be maintained at all times from those you do not live with. You should also limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time, the Gov says.

Wollaton Park, a location you should be able to meet your friends.

Do I need to socially distance from my boyfriend/girlfriend/significant other?

In short: Frankly, we aren’t completely sure. (But probably yes?)

Although, the tier three rules on the Gov website say nothing about this at all, we presume that if you do not live with or are not in a support bubble with your significant other, you can only meet up in one of the specific outdoor spaces listed above.

On October 15th, however,  the BBC said you don’t have to socially distance from your partner. Yet, as reported on October 16th by The Independent, and re-affirmed last week, even in tier two, it’s illegal to have sex with your partner (because you have to socially distance). So maybe you’ve already broken the rules.

FullFact is vague, too, concluding, “If you are in an area with a higher alert level [tier two/three], you may not be able to meet with someone you’re in a relationship with unless you live together or have formed a support bubble.”

Before the tier system was announced in September, couples who were in an “established relationship” did not have to socially distance. It is now seems that this is not the case.

Comments from sources around Government tend to suggest this conclusion. The Prime Minister’s spokesperson previously stated: “The rules on household mixing in tier two [and three], I think, set out that you should mix with your own household only unless you’ve formed a support bubble, and that obviously does apply to some couples.” But even he’s not sure, so who knows.

In conclusion, we think the answer is yes. If you want to see your girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other, you have to meet up at one of the permitted outdoor spaces and socially distance. (Sorry.)

Will pubs and bars stay open?

In short: It depends.

If a pub or bar serves a “substantial meal” (which the Government describes as “a main lunchtime or evening meal”) and functions as a restaurant, they can stay open. But, it is unclear whether you will be allowed to continue drinking once you have finished your meal or if you will have to leave? Your guess is as good as ours.

Events such as Crisis are (probably) off.

But, good news, Spoons will be staying open! (Although you’ll still have to keep to groups of six or less and everyone you go with must be from your household.)

Bottomless brunch might(?) be allowed to continue.

Can I travel out of Notts?

In short: No (in most circumstances).

The Gov website states that “people are not to travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area [AKA tier three].” However, you can leave if you are traveling to work or for education. So, if you’re a student who lives outside of Notts and usually commutes in, or if you have a job outside of the city, you are allowed in and out.

Can I go home?

In short: No.

Students are not allowed to go between permanent home and their university home. In other words, unless you’re moving out of uni to go live back home, you’ve got to stay in Notts.

Can I go view houses for next year?

In short: Yes.

“People looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings,” the Gov website says.

We aren’t sure if current tenants can object to viewings due to fears of Covid-19. So if you’re concerned about that, we’d recommend reaching out to your landlord to discuss or ask your SU for advice.

UoN is expected to remain open.

Can I go to the gym?

In short: We have no idea.

Whether or not gyms are allowed to stay open is down to the local authorities. So we presume that this will be announced along with the new restrictions later this week.

In Liverpool and Lancashire, where tier three was previously implemented, they were initially shut before being re-opened due to public pressure.

Can I go still play sport?

In short: If it’s outdoors, definitely. If it’s indoors, maybe?

Organised sport and exercise classes are permitted to take place outdoors, in any number.

For indoor sports, it gets a bit more complicated.

If you play an indoor sport where “it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with)” then it is definitely permitted.

Seeing as universities are exempt from the six person indoor rule, they might be able to continue indoor sports as usual—although it is unclear if this exception will continue to apply to sports as well as teaching (as it did before). The government website says there is an exemption for “sport for educational purposes and physical activity for under-18s”. So make what you will of that.

For all the rules on the Government website, click here.