Today sees Boris Johnson's three-tier lockdown system rolled out for the first time.
A spike in coronavirus cases has seen firm action taken – and it's not good news for millions across the UK.
Officials are splitting every area of England into Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 under the Covid Local Alert Levels. The worst-hit areas will face a torrent of new restrictions.
But there is some confusion about Tier Two, and what you can and cannot do if you live in one of those places.
The areas include Manchester, Bolton, Cheshire West and Cheshire East, Wigan, Oldham, Warrington, Leeds, Preston and Blackpool.
Different households won't be allowed to meet at pubs, restaurants, hotels or cafes in the city from tomorrow.
But there are 18 reasons people can gather indoors from today onwards.
You may not be aware of all of them – and it's crucial to know you are sticking to the rules.
Thankfully, BirminghamLive have produced a helpful guide to what you can and can't do from today.
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For anyone living in a Tier 2 area, you'll be safe in the knowledge that you aren't breaking the law if you follow these rules.
You can gather indoors with another household for the following reasons.
- For work or for volunteering to provide charitable services
- For registered childcare, education or training
- For arrangements where children do not live in the same household as both their parents or guardians
- For prospective adopting parents to meet a child or children who may be placed with them
- For supervised activities provided for children, including before and after school childcare, youth groups and activities, and children’s playgroups
- For birth partners
- To see someone who is dying
- To provide emergency assistance, and to avoid injury or illness, or to escape a risk of harm
- To fulfil a legal obligation, such as attending court or jury service
- To provide care or assistance to someone vulnerable
- To facilitate a house move
- For a wedding or equivalent ceremony and wedding receptions where the organiser has carried out a risk assessment and taken all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus – up to a maximum of 15 people (not to take place in private dwellings)
- For funerals – up to a maximum of 30 people. Wakes and other commemorative events are permitted with up to 15 people present (not to take place in private dwellings)
- For elite sportspeople and their coaches if necessary for competition and training, as well as parents or guardians if they are a child
- For outdoor exercise and dance classes, organised outdoor sport, and licensed outdoor physical activity
- Indoor organised team sports for disabled people, and youth sport
- Support groups of up to 15 participants – formally organised groups to provide mutual aid, therapy or any other form of support (not to take place in private dwellings)
- Protests – if organised in compliance with Covid-secure guidance
Three-tier UK coronavirus system: check the latest rules in your area
To help people understand what the restrictions are in their area, the Government will make a postcode checker available.
If a Tier 2 area is moved down into Tier 1, the restrictions will be loosened to match the current national rules.
But they can still meet outdoors as long as it's within the 'rule of six' – including in private gardens, which under local lockdowns is currently banned.
Announcing the measures in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister said he understood those "chafing" against the restrictions and "fatigued" about rules.
But he said "the bleak mathematics" means letting the virus rip would lead to an "intolerable death toll".
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