Local Restrictions FAQ's


From Wednesday 14th October , new 'Very High' alert level regulations came into effect in Sefton and the Liverpool City Region.

You can find details of how they affect Sefton here.

The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary and are based on discussions between central and local government on the package of measures required to drive down transmission.

You can use this postcode check to find out the specific rules in any area. 

The whole of Sefton, Knowsley, Halton, Warrington, Liverpool, St Helens and Wirral, otherwise known as the Liverpool City Region.

From Wednesday October 14. These measures will be reviewed by Central Government every four weeks.

The Government took the decision to impose Tier 3 Covid-19 restriction on Liverpool City Region.

This was because at that time we had more Covid-19 cases than other areas of the North West, including Lancashire and Greater Manchester.

We had no choice.

Not only did we have more cases of Covid-19 than other areas, we also had higher numbers of people affected who were over 60 years of age.

That group is more likely to end up seriously ill and in need of urgent hospital care.

We knew that further restrictions were needed to stop the spread of Covid-19 in our communities and to prevent our hospitals being overwhelmed.

Government drew up a list with the aim of reducing the amount of interaction people have with each other, reducing the potential for transmission between people.

We have always been clear that we were given no choice about the specific package of restrictions that would be applied to our region.

We have continued to demand the scientific evidence to support these measures.


It started from 00:01 hours on Wednesday October 14, 2020 and will be monitored closely and reviewed every four weeks. 

The Government has announced that most of the national measures will be in place until March 2021.

We won’t get out of Tier 3 until we can bring the virus under control.  We must lower the rate of infection – wash our hands, wear a face covering in confined spaces and socially distance.

We will work with Government to identify what the clear exit strategy for Tier 3 looks like.  Until then, we must all work together. 

Follow the rules - if you have symptoms (a cough, fever or lose your sense of taste or smell), get a test and self-isolate.  The quicker we do this, the quicker we can get back to normal.

You must not meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless they are part of your household or support bubble. This includes private homes and indoors in hospitality venues, such as pubs. You must also not meet with people outside of your household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household. Households in that support bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight, and visit public places together.

Informal childcare can also be provided via childcare bubbles. Find out more about childcare bubbles in the ‘Childcare’ section below.

You may continue to see friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) in groups of 6 or less in certain outdoor public spaces, such as:

•parks, beaches, countryside, forests

•public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them), allotments

•outdoor sports courts and facilities, and playgrounds

When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than 6. In England, this limit of 6 includes children of any age.

Can my kids’ friends come to our house?

Put simply, no. It doesn’t matter if it’s their birthday, holy communion, if it’s for dinner or to sleepover, no one should be in your house who doesn’t live there, except for someone in your bubble.

Can I car share with people who are not in my bubble?

People are advised not to car share with people not in their household or bubble.

Care Homes

Residential homes across Sefton are now closed to visitors, except in exceptional circumstances.

Staff in homes are working with residents and their families on ways that they can keep in touch.

No-one, including staff, can enter care homes if they have any symptoms that are suspected to be Covid-19.

Day Care services

The Council is reviewing its approach to day services and how it can support people following the impact of social distancing measures, in line with other local authorities.

The Council will continue to meet people’s statutory need for support under the Care Act, but the type of service they receive may differ. This is because there may be fewer places available in building-based day services.

Spaces will be prioritised for those who require a building-based service because of family carer needs, personal care or support and supervision which may not be available in other types of social care services.

The Council’s Social Workers are currently contacting people who attended day services or their families prior to lock-down to look at how their needs can be met.

Bus transport will also be affected as social distancing measures are put in place.

Respite care will also be affected by the safety measure required to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The Council is working with New Directions at this time to identify how and when these services may be safely delivered while these measures are in place and that once we are able to resume delivery, people who attend and their families are aware of the changes and risks before returning.

Where a group includes someone covered by an exemption such as, someone who is working, they are not generally counted as part of the gatherings limit. This means, for example, a tradesperson can go into a household without breaching the limit, if they are there for work.


You can still move home if you’re in a very high alert level area.

Estate and letting agents and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Follow the national guidance on moving home safely, which includes advice on social distancing and wearing a face covering.,/p>

A support bubble is a close support network between a household with only one adult in the home (known as a single-adult household) and one other household of any size.

Once you’re in a support bubble, you can think of yourself as being in a single household with people from the other household. It means you can have close contact with that household as if they were members of your own household.

Once you make a support bubble, you should not change who is in your bubble.

You should not have multiple bubbles.

No. Schools, colleges and universities remain open and are operating in a COVID-secure way. University students must follow the specific guidance and rules set by their university.

 You can move home and travel to go to university but there are some stricter rules in place for very high alert level areas:

•you must not move back and forward between your permanent home and student home during term time – subject to limited exemptions set out in law

•students living at their university term time address in a very high alert level area should follow the same guidance on meeting other people and travel as others in that area. Commuter students (those who live at a family home which may not be in the same area as their university and who travel to/from university each day) should be able to continue to travel to/from their university as required, this being for education purposes.

If you commute into very high alert level area to go to university you must not:

•meet people you do not live with in their home inside one of the affected areas, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

•host people you do not live with in your home, if they live in one of the affected areas, unless they’re in your household, childcare or support bubble

•meet people you do not live with in their student halls, whether inside or outside of one of the affected areas, unless they’re in your household or childcare or support bubble

If you move out of, or currently live outside of, an affected area you should not:

•host people you do not live with in your home or student halls if they live in a high or very high alert level area (unless they’re in your household, support bubble or childcare bubble).

You can find information on the Government’s website here.

If an individual is breaching restrictions, you can report it to Merseyside Police. To do so, where possible, people are asked to use the reporting tool on the force’s website www.merseyside.police.uk.  

Alternatively, you can call 101. The police will assess the circumstances to determine the appropriate action.

If you have concerns that a business or venue is not following the guidance, you can report it to the council via 0345 140 0845.

Meeting in larger groups is against the law. The police can take action against you if you meet in larger groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).

You can be fined £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.

To help contain the virus, office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Where an employer, in consultation with their employee, judges an employee can carry out their normal duties from home they should do so. Public sector employees working in essential services, including education settings, should continue to go into work where necessary.

Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work. The risk of transmission can be substantially reduced if Covid-19 secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk

The following people can provide childcare support in private homes and gardens:

  • registered childcare providers, including nannies
  • people in your support bubble
  • people in your childcare bubble

A childcare bubble is where someone in one household provides informal (unpaid and unregistered) childcare to a child aged 13 or under in another household.

This must always be between the same 2 households. Friends or family who do not live with you and are not part of a support or childcare bubble must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Childcare bubbles are to be used to provide childcare only, and not for the purposes of different households mixing where they are otherwise not allowed to do so. The tiers of restriction for education and childcare, summarised in annex 3 of the contain framework and in guidance on higher education, are separate to the local COVID alert level framework.

Decisions on any restrictions necessary in education or childcare settings are taken separately on a case-by-case basis in the light of local circumstances, including information about the incidence and transmission of COVID-19.

You may continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, for work, or to access education, within a very high alert level area, but you should and aim to reduce the number of journeys you make.

If you need to travel we encourage you to walk or cycle where possible, or to plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport. This will allow you to practise social distancing while you travel.

If you need to use public transport, you should follow the safer travel guidance. This includes the rules on wearing face masks and advice on car sharing. In addition, we are advising people not to travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area.

This is part of wider measures to help manage the risk of transmission. You can continue to travel into or out of very high alert level areas if you need to for work, education, to access youth services or because of caring responsibilities. You may also do so where necessary as part of a longer journey – such as when a journey between lower risk areas passes through a very high alert level area, or when going to an airport, port or international rail terminal to travel abroad.

Remember, you must not travel if you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms, are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms, or have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace.

If you are travelling, you must only do so with members of your household or support bubble, and should follow the safer travel guidance. If you are a resident in a very high alert level area, we ask you to avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK, except if you need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. This means we are asking you not to leave the very high alert level area to stay in a second home, if you own one. You must not stay with anyone you do not live with elsewhere in the UK or visit their home.

We are asking everyone who lives elsewhere to avoid staying overnight in a very high alert level area where possible, except for those who need to for work, education or caring responsibilities. You must not stay with anyone you do not live with from a very high alert level area or visit their home.

If you are resident in a very high alert level area, you may travel to hotels and other guest accommodation within that area but you should only do this with people in your household or support bubble.

When considering travelling internationally, you should look at the rules in place at your destination, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) travel advice and the current travel corridor list.

All businesses and venues should follow COVID-secure guidelines to protect customers, visitors and workers.

Some businesses in your areas may be closed. Find out what additional measures apply in your area. Restrictions on businesses and venues in very high alert level areas include:

  • certain businesses selling food or drink on their premises are required to close between 10pm and 5am. Businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises, can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-thru.

Hospitality venues in ports, on transport services and in motorway service areas do not need to close at 10pm, but must not serve alcohol after that time

  • pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • Businesses must ensure that they operate in a COVID-secure manner, including restrictions on table service and group bookings
  • Certain businesses and venues are required to collect customer, visitor and staff data to support NHS Test and Trace
  • The wearing of face coverings for customers and staff in certain indoor settings.

Businesses must ensure that if their workers are required to self-isolate, they do not work outside their designated place of self-isolation

  • businesses and venues must ensure people do not meet in their premises with people from outside of their household or support bubble.

Businesses and venues that fail to comply with these restrictions may face fines of up to £10,000, prosecution, or in some cases closure This is the baseline in very high alert level areas.

In addition, the government will seek to agree additional measures in consultation with local authorities in order to drive down transmission of the virus.

These could include the following options:

  • restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (takeaway and delivery permitted)
  • closing indoor and outdoor entertainment and tourist attractions and venues
  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
  • closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth clubs and childcare activity and support groups)
  • closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
  • closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies must only take place in COVID-secure venues or in public outdoor spaces unless in exceptional circumstances. Weddings and civil partnership ceremonies are restricted to 15 people. Receptions must not take place in a very high alert level area.

Anyone working at a wedding, civil partnership ceremony, wake or funeral is not generally counted as part of the limit. Within these larger gatherings, people do not need to limit their interaction to groups of 6 or their own household, but social distancing should still be followed between people who do not live together or share a support bubble.

People living outside of a very high alert level area can travel to this area to attend an event, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden and we are asking them not to stay overnight.

Funerals (including ceremonies at crematoria) are limited to 30 people

All other religious or belief-based standalone life cycle ceremonies or celebrations are limited to 6 people if outdoors, and only one household and support bubble indoors

Anyone working at these ceremonies or events is not included as part of the person limit.

These events should comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance and venue capacity. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.

In line with the new Government guidance announced on 12 October that Liverpool City Region has been placed in tier 3 of COVID restrictions. 

In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

  • For junior matches, 1 parent/guardian is allowed to attend a match with their child for duration of the fixture, they must stay apart from other households
  • No spectators are allowed to attend any adult amateur football matches

Indoor Gyms are now open, please see 24. Gym Closures for more information. 

The safety and wellbeing of our community and staff is our utmost priority and we are continuing to follow official guidance from Government, Public Health England, and relevant National Governing Bodies.

For any Active Sefton related queries please contact Retention@sefton.gov.uk.

Support groups

From Thursday 24th September, support groups such as therapy groups (not to be confused with a support bubble) are limited to a maximum of 15 people

Support for people on low incomes who are self-isolating from 28th September 2020

From Monday 28th September, people with Covid-19 symptoms will be required to self-isolate by law. To help those who on low incomes who are unable to work from home, the government has announced it will be providing the £500 ‘Test and Trace Support’ payment. Additionally, people in short term crisis may be eligible for our ELAS scheme, details of which can be found here

What about people who were previously shielding?

People with health conditions and those who were asked to shield are still particularly vulnerable and need to take special care during this worrying period and to be extra cautious and follow the new guidance.

What support is available for medically vulnerable residents?

We are advising all residents to limit your social contacts; follow the two-metre rule; wash your hands with soap and water often; wear a face covering; avoid crowds; do not go to places that are not COVID-secure. If you need further advice or support visit /covid19 or call 0345 140 0845.

Merseyside (including Sefton) have had local restrictions imposed but Shielding has NOT been reintroduced across the Merseyside region. Residents with underlying health conditions should follow the advice above and check with their GP or Consultant if they have any specific concerns relating to their medical needs. 

Can I go to a care home?

Sefton Council, along with authorities across Merseyside, is asking care homes to limit interactions with people from outside who may be carrying coronavirus owing to the significant increases in COVID-19 confirmed cases across the region.

Protecting the Borough’s most vulnerable residents has been a priority for Sefton Council since the start of the pandemic, which is why it has written to care home managers and owners instructing them to limit visits.

The following visits can continue but will be review on a weekly basis.

Essential visits by health professionals

Visits from families and relatives to those residents who are receiving end of life care may continue subject to robust risk assessments.

Garden visits subject to risk assessments.

All other non-essential visits and visits by family members into care homes are suspended until further notice.

To maintain contact with family members the Council is encouraging people to keep in touch with their loved one through digital channels such as Zoom or WhatsApp and we will support care home staff to facilitate safe contact in this way.

If you are planning to visit relatives in care homes outside the affected areas (see question 2), then check with the care home prior to travelling to ensure that they are still open to visits from family members.

You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with mitigations (such as wearing face coverings).

If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.

What about the impact on jobs and businesses?

We knew that Tier 3 restrictions – without a financial compensation package - would strike a hammer blow to our economy, in particular to our vital hospitality and leisure sector, which supports over 50,000 jobs across our region.

Our political leaders negotiated with Government for a package of economic support to help all the affected workers and businesses.


What is the Tier 3 financial deal secured for Liverpool City Region?

As a direct result of our pressure on the Government, Liverpool City Region secured a £44 million support package.

This works out at £28 per head of population for all 1.6 million residents.

£30 million is for Covid-19 business support and £14m to help support the local Test, Trace and Isolate system and enforcement efforts.

By way of comparison, Lancashire is receiving £42 million, which also works out at £28 per head for their 1.4 million population.

Greater Manchester’s compensation package has – at time of writing - not yet been agreed.


Is the financial package good enough?

Here in the Liverpool City Region we are continuing to make the case for a national 80 per cent furlough scheme and business support package in line with what was made available for the full lockdown.

If it was right then, it’s right now.

Gyms across the Liverpool City Region are expected to re-open from 00:01 on Saturday, October 24 after Sefton Council Leader Ian Maher, The Metro Mayor, City Mayor and other Liverpool City Region Council leaders asked the Government to conduct an ‘immediate review’ and asked ministers to provide the scientific evidence for shutting them-down.

Following further clarification from national government all Active Sefton Leisure centres will now reopen on Saturday 24 October. The Fitness Suites will open initially, with classes and adult swimming resuming on Monday 26 October.

Please call your chosen centre to book a session:

  • Bootle Leisure Centre - 0151 330 3301
  • Litherland sports park - 0151 288 6288
  • Netherton Activity Centre - 0151 525 5106
  • Crosby Lakeside Adventure - 0151 966 6868
  • Meadows Leisure Centre - 0151 288 6727
  • Dunes Splash World - 01704 537160

We would like to thank members and the public for all their continued support and patience.

Further updates on the arrangements for direct debits will follow shortly

In line with guidelines from national sporting bodies, you can continue to take part in sport and physical activity outdoors.

  • For junior matches, 1 parent/guardian is allowed to attend a match with their child for duration of the fixture, they must stay apart from other households
  • No spectators are allowed to attend any adult amateur football matches
  • Juniors are allowed to travel to participate in fixtures, but adults are not permitted to travel outside the Tier 3 area to play

The safety and wellbeing of our community and staff is our utmost priority and we are continuing to follow official guidance from Government, Public Health England, and relevant National Governing Bodies.

For any Active Sefton related queries please contact them by email 

Last Updated on 14 October 2020

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