Tier system announced for local restrictions in England - Museums Association

Tier system announced for local restrictions in England

Museums in Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle among those that will have to remain closed
Profile image for Rebecca Atkinson
Rebecca Atkinson
The Museum of Liverpool, in Tier 2, will be able to reopen its doors next week
The Museum of Liverpool, in Tier 2, will be able to reopen its doors next week

The government has published a full list of which restrictions will apply to areas throughout England under its new three-tier system, effective from next Wednesday 2 December.

In Tier 3 areas where there is a “very high alert” for Covid infections, indoor entertainment venues including museums and galleries must remain closed.

A full list of areas is reproduced below, but includes Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham, as well as Leeds and Bradford, Nottingham and Bristol.

In Tier 2 (high alert) areas, museums may reopen but household mixing indoors is not allowed, except among those in support bubbles.

Liverpool is among those areas in Tier 2 and is able to reopen its museums.

Laura Pye, director of National Museums Liverpool, said: “We’d like to thank the people of Liverpool for supporting the mass testing pilot, which has helped to drive down the number of Covid cases in the city, enabling us to reopen our museums and galleries in the run up to Christmas. We must however remain vigilant so this achievement doesn’t go to waste.”

Museums and galleries in Tier 1 (“medium alert”) areas will be allowed to reopen in a Covid-secure manner. A maximum of six people from different households are allowed to meet indoors or outdoors.

Tier 3 areas

North East

  • Hartlepool
  • Middlesbrough
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Darlington
  • Sunderland
  • South Tyneside
  • Gateshead
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • North Tyneside
  • County Durham
  • Northumberland

North West

  • Greater Manchester
  • Lancashire
  • Blackpool
  • Blackburn with Darwen

Yorkshire and The Humber

  • The Humber
  • West Yorkshire
  • South Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Birmingham and Black Country
  • Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent
  • Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull

East Midlands

  • Derby and Derbyshire
  • Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
  • Leicester and Leicestershire
  • Lincolnshire

South East

  • Slough
  • Kent and Medway

South West

  • Bristol
  • South Gloucestershire
  • North Somerset

Tier 2 areas

North West

  • Cumbria
  • Liverpool City Region
  • Warrington and Cheshire


  • York
  • North Yorkshire

West Midlands

  • Worcestershire
  • Herefordshire
  • Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin

East Midlands

  • Rutland
  • Northamptonshire

Tier 1 areas

South East

  • Isle of Wight

South West

  • Cornwall
  • Isles of Scilly


Comments (2)

  1. Martin Sach says:

    If you are nerdy enough (as I am) to read the PHE weekly surveillance reports you will know that museums and similar venues are a negligible environment for the transmission of the virus. There appear to be hardly any cases in which the disease has been passed on in museums. The enforced closure of museums in Tier 3 is just another unjustifiable measure that causes damage without benefit.

  2. Jonathan Gammond says:

    It is a miserable time for museums and loads of other organizations and businesses at the moment. I know it is crass to make historical comparisons but here goes: working with volunteers we have been looking at how civil defence was organized at a local level between 1937 and 1939 and it has certainly provided some food for thought in how central governments across the UK have organized our ‘defences’ against covid-19 in 2020.

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