Last week the Government announced a new simplified system for imposing levels of lockdown regionally.

The three tier system is made up of medium (tier 1), high (tier 2) and very high (tier 3).

The rules of each tier can have a major impact on business operation, including whether or not you can open your doors to customers.

Yorkshire has been included in tier 2, although there is pressure in some quarters for the region to move into tier 3 due to recent pockets of Coronavirus outbreaks.

However, should the number of cases and the overall ‘R’ rate drop then the county could drop into tier 1.

Here we outline what each tier means for small business owners.


Tier 1

If your business operates in a region at tier 1 then you are able to remain open as long as you follow Covid guidelines.

The rules for tier 1 are in keeping with the previous nationally imposed restrictions, which limit social gatherings to no more than six people.

Businesses that sell food and drink must close at 10pm and customers should be seated while they enjoy their meals, snacks or refreshments.

Takeaways and drive-thrus can operate after 10pm on the basis that products are consumed off the premises.

Personal trainers and fitness professionals can continue to operate and run classes outdoors.

The guidance for employers across the board is that staff should be allowed the opportunity to work from home if it is effective for them to do so.


Tier 2

Under tier 2, all of the tier 1 rules apply, plus additional restrictions.

The biggest difference is that individuals are prohibited from socialising with anybody from outside their household, who isn’t in their support bubble, in an indoor setting.

This may be problematic for businesses operating in the hospitality sector, as groups made up of people from different households cannot be seated together.

Businesses are encouraged to make use of signage to remind customers of the rules.


Tier 3

This is the highest Covid-alert level, which takes in all of the restrictions of tier 1 and 2 as well as additional measures.

These additional restrictions vary depending on your individual area, but they generally prohibit mixing between households both indoors and outdoors, including in any private garden, or at most outdoor venues and ticketed events.

Pubs and bars must close, unless they operate as restaurants and serve “substantial meals”.

Those who live in a tier 3 area must not travel to other areas unless the journey is completely necessary, while overnight stays are prohibited on the same basis.

Businesses in the following sectors and categories may also be instructed to close:

  • Hospitality
  • Indoor and outdoor entertainment venues
  • Tourist attractions
  • Leisure centres and gyms
  • Personal care services (e.g. hairdressers)
  • Performing arts venues

Businesses instructed to close may receive support through the Government’s new Job Support Scheme.

The scheme will pay two thirds of an employee’s normal salary up to £2,100 a month.


Cooper Accounting works with businesses navigating the challenges of Coronavirus, helping to manage cashflow and make the most of the available financial incentives.

Get in touch for an informal chat.