What the Tier 2 status means for half-term staycations

If you live in Tier 1 or Tier 2 zones, you should still be able to go on holiday (Getty)
If you live in Tier 1 or Tier 2 zones, you should still be able to go on holiday (Getty)

With the half-term break just over a week away for most parts of England, the announcement of several locations being elevated to Tier 2 could put a spanner in staycation plans.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday 15 October that London, Essex, York and other areas will be moving into Tier 2 restrictions from midnight on Friday.

It was decided to move these areas from the ‘medium’ to ‘high’ level to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

But with more than half of England’s population now living under ‘high’ or ‘very high’ restrictions, what does this mean for our half-term staycations?

Watch: How will England's three-tier local lockdown system work?

What do each of the tiers mean?

Tier 1: the lowest tier is an indicator of where the lowest infection rates are, and those living in Tier 1 zones can travel freely to other Tier 1 zones.

This lowest tier is a ‘medium’ alert level and the rule of six still applies, which means you can holiday with other households as long as you’re staying in separate accommodation.

Tier 2: those living in Tier 2 zones (which will include London, Essex, York, Elmbridge, Barrow in Furness, Chesterfield, Erewash and North East Derbyshire from Saturday) are advised to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible.

Read more: Long COVID may be four different syndromes, report suggests

They can still take holidays outside of their local area, but must not socialise with people they don’t live with indoors or share any accommodation with people they don’t live with either.

Tier 3: the highest tier, the Liverpool region is currently the only place in England under Tier 3 restrictions.

Those in Tier 3 are advised to avoid travelling outside of their local area where possible except for education, work and caring purposes. They should also not holiday or stay overnight in any other areas of the UK.

So those who have been elevated to Tier 2 can still go on holiday, but only with other members of their household.

At the moment, only the wider Liverpool region falls under Tier 3 which means holidays there should be avoided where possible.

Watch: Can you catch the coronavirus twice?

Can I still travel to Scotland and Wales?

It’s also worth noting that Scotland and Wales have their own restrictions, too.

Last week, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced there would be a fortnight of tougher local restrictions implemented.

Sturgeon said that people in the central belt region of Scotland, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow, should not travel outside of their area where possible between October 10 and October 25.

Read more: Heart-wrenching photo of mum separated from newborn shows reality of giving birth during coronavirus pandemic

Pubs in Scotland have also been advised to shut at 6pm during this period, but hotels and private accommodation remain open and are available to be booked.

There are also a number of areas in Wales facing tougher local restrictions, where travel in and out of these areas is reserved for essential journeys only.

However, those living outside of the restricted areas in Wales can travel to other places in UK, dependent on local restrictions.

Check out local restrictions in Scotland and Wales before visiting (Getty)
Check out local restrictions in Scotland and Wales before planning a visit (Getty)

Should I cancel my half-term break?

If you are not self-isolating and you fall under the lower Tiers (1 and 2), you should still be able to go ahead with your holiday.

If you are self-isolating and need to cancel, the Association of British Travel Agents says this is not the fault of the hotel or accommodation so you may not be entitled to a refund.

Read more: Here's what you need to know about this season's flu shot

If your hotel has cancelled your booking due to local lockdown restrictions then you should be entitled to a refund.

While holidays feel like they are few and far between at the minute, most hotels are offering flexible bookings so you can always rearrange to a date better suited.

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