What's the difference between Tier 4 and lockdown? Not much

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a press conference, at 10 Downing Street, in London, on t

Prime Minister Boris Johnson should bring the world's leaders to Norfolk and Suffolk, says David Powles - Credit: PA

As you woke up this morning you will have found yourself in a new national lockdown, effective immediately.

But what has actually changed from Tier 4, under which more than 75pc of England's population were living anyway?

Note: These rules apply to people who are not shielding/ clinically vulnerable.

Schools, college and university 

Tier 4: Early years settings, schools, colleges and universities must open during term time.

National lockdown: Primary and secondary schools to only open for vulnerable and keyworker children. All other children will learn remotely until February half term, but early years settings remain open. Higher education and university students should stay where they are and revert to online learning, except for those enrolled on a handful of future critical worker courses.

Leaving home

Tier 4: You must stay at home and only leave to buy goods or necessities, for exercise or outdoor recreation, visiting a place of worship, moving house or viewing properties, to work or access critical services, a death bed visit, respite and childcare and to attend funerals, marriages and civil partnerships. 

National lockdown: No change, except you can no longer travel for "outdoor recreation", such as for a picnic outdoors. It should be exercise only.

Great Yarmouth town centre during the last day of lockdown 2.0. Picture: Victoria Pertusa

Great Yarmouth town centre during the last day of lockdown 2.0 - Credit: Victoria Pertusa

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Meeting others

Tier 4: There is no household mixing aside from support bubbles and two people meeting outdoors in public. The same exemptions apply as in the "leaving home" category.

National lockdown: No change.


Tier 4:  You must stay at home and only travel for work, education or other legally permitted reasons. If you have to travel, stay local. You must not leave a Tier 4 area or stay overnight away from home.

National lockdown: No change, except that you should "look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall".


Tier 4: You can exercise by yourself, with your household or support bubble, or with one person from another household. Outdoor sport is allowed but a gatherings limit applies except for youth and disabled sport.

National lockdown: Not that much has changed, but outdoor sport areas such as tennis courts and golf courses are closed. When you do exercise, it should be limited to once a day.

Staying away from home overnight

Tier 4: You must stay at home and should only travel locally where necessary. You should not leave a Tier 4 area or stay overnight away from home. Residents in Tiers 1-3 should not enter Tier 4 areas. You shouldn't go abroad if you live in Tier 4.

National lockdown: The same again - you should only travel if necessary. The exception to "local travel" is where someone may have to travel a short distance to access an open space for exercise. 

Gentleman's Walk, Norwich on the first day of the Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions. Picture: JACK MAC

Gentleman's Walk, Norwich on the last day of the Tier 2 coronavirus restrictions - Credit: JACK MACLEAN


Tier 4: Everyone must work from home unless they are unable to do so.

National lockdown: No real change. You can work in other people's homes if crucial, such as if you're a cleaner, but social distancing must be observed. If you're shielding, you shouldn't leave your home to work for any reason.


Tier 4: Parents are able to form a childcare bubble with one other household where the child is under 14. Children can move freely between parents' households. 

National lockdown: No change.

Care home visits

Tier 4: You can visit relatives in care homes with Covid-secure arrangements, but close-contact indoor visits are not allowed. No visits permitted in the event of an outbreak. Residents cannot meet people indoors on a visit out.

National lockdown: No change.

Weddings, religious services and funerals

Tier 4: Funerals of up to 30 people permitted. Wakes can continue in a group of up to 6. Weddings of up to 6 can continue in exceptional circumstances. Places of worship open, but attendees cannot interact with other households.

National lockdown: No change.

Moving home

Tier 4: You can still move home, but people outside your household or support bubble should not help with moving house unless  necessary. Removals firms and estate agents can continue to work, and you can go to property viewings. 

National lockdown: No change.


Tier 4: Essential shops can open. Non-essential retail must close and can only open for click-and-collect and delivery. Hospitality closed except for takeaway, drive-through or delivery. Indoor leisure closed.

National lockdown: No change.

Christmas shoppers in face masks out in Norwich. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Shoppers in face masks out in Norwich in the run up to Christmas - Credit: Denise Bradley

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