Local Restrictions FAQ's


From Saturday 3 October, new regulations will come into place in Sefton.

If you live in the affected local areas, including Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region, it will be against the law to:

  1. host people you do not live with in your home or garden 
  2. meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside the affected local areas
  3. socialise with people who you do not live with in any indoor settings, whether inside or outside of the affected local areas

Please note: Members of your support or childcare bubble are exempt from the above restrictions.

In the affected local areas, including Wirral and the wider Liverpool City Region, it is also advised that people should:

  1. not meet with people they do not live with, unless they’re in their support bubble, in any outdoor public venues. This includes outdoor areas of venues (such as a beer garden) and areas directly outside of settings or venues, such as the pavement or road and parks. This applies to inside and outside of the affected local areas
  2. not visit friends or family in care homes, other than in exceptional circumstances. Care homes should restrict visits to these circumstances
  3. only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work
  4. only take holidays within your household group or support bubble
  5. avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators


  1. hospitality venues (food and drink) will be restricted to table service only
  2. leisure and entertainment venues required to close between 10pm to 5am

The new measures will be kept under constant review to reduce the spread of the virus and save lives.

The whole of St Helens, Knowsley, Halton, Warrington, Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral.

From Saturday 3 October 2020

These measures will help to address the significant rise in coronavirus cases in the region in recent weeks.

There is an increased risk of transmission the more people who gather together. Our data shows an increased rate of transmission in homes, hospitality venues and through grassroot sports. 

We are doing everything we can to protect our most vulnerable, keep businesses open and children in school, which these measures will help with. 

It started from 00:01 hours on Saturday 3 October 2020 and will be monitored closely and reviewed regularly. 

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

You must not mix with people who do not live with you or are not part of your support bubble, indoors or in private gardens.

People should only come inside your home for specific purposes:

  1. where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  2. to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  3. to visit a person who is dying (the visitor can be someone the dying person lives with, a close family member, friend or, if none of those is visiting, anyone else)
  4. to fulfil a legal obligation
  5. for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  6. for the purposes of education or training
  7. for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  8. for the purposes of childcare for children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, when it is necessary for caring purposes
  9. to provide emergency assistance
  10. to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  11. to facilitate a house move
  12. to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  13. to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents

Official/registered tradespeople can go to other people’s homes for work purposes as long as you follow national guidance on how to work safely there.

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 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.

Once the legislation is in place, the police or the local authority will be able to take action against those who break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

Fines will be:

• £100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days

• £200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200

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

Do these measures affect childcare?

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before or after school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies, including those living outside of the region.

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

People looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes and is a regular arrangement. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

Does my child need to wear a face covering at school?

Unless exempt, in education settings where students in Year 7 and above are educated, including middle schools, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and students when moving around in corridors and communal areas.

Parents must wear a face covering when dropping off and picking up children at school, and socially distance from others.

Can my family, friends and guardians assist with childcare?

People looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes and is a regular arrangement. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

The only other people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble, or registered childcare providers including nannies.

Outside of these measures, friends or family who do not live with you must not visit your home to help with childcare.

Can my child stay in both households of parents who are separated?

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

Can a family member who is not in my bubble collect my child from school? 

We advise that you should not meet with people you do not live with. However, people looking after children under the age of 14 or vulnerable adults, can continue to do so when it is necessary for caring purposes. This covers formal and informal arrangements for childcare - but not playdates or parties.

If you are walking outside, try to maintain social distance and everyone must wash their hands for 20 seconds afterwards. If you are car sharing, please follow our car sharing advice in the Travel section. 

If you are travelling on public transport, wear a face covering, maintain a 2m distance where possible, and wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds when you get home. 

Can I travel outside the area for work or school?

Yes, people living inside and outside of these areas can continue to travel for work or school. Workplaces and schools themselves should also be implementing covid-secure measures. 

Can I go to someone’s house in an area not subject to the restrictions?

You should not visit anyone’s home inside or outside of the restricted area (except for your support bubble). 

What about public transport?

Residents are advised to only use public transport for essential purposes, such as travelling to school or work. Examples of essential travel include: travelling to work, getting essential food or medical supplies, supporting someone who is vulnerable, travelling to and from the homes of others in your support bubble, fulfilling legal obligations, going to an early years or educational setting, or travelling to medical care to avoid illness, injury or harm.

Buses, trains and the Mersey Ferries are still running and have key measures in place including enhanced cleaning regimes. It is important to follow key advice about how to travel safely including wearing face coverings.

Face coverings must be worn on board all public transport and at rail and bus stations, Mersey Ferries terminals and in Merseytravel Travel Centres unless you are exempt. Guidance around face covering exemptions can be found here. 

Please walk or cycle wherever you can, especially for shorter journeys.

For the latest transport information and advice visit the Re Think Travel campaign www.merseytravel.gov.uk

What about car sharing?

You are advised not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble, and to use public transport for essential journeys instead. 

Please note that private hire taxis and hackney cabs are not classed as public transport but a face covering is still required.

Can I still go on holiday?

You can still go on holiday within the UK or abroad, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with). You need to follow any rules in the area you visit and be aware of the self-isolation rules when travelling to and from certain countries.

People can visit the region on holiday but must comply with the local restrictions.

What are the changes for the hospitality venues?

The following must close from 10pm to 5am:

• Pubs

• Bars and restaurants (including hotel dining rooms and members’ clubs)

• Cafes including workplace canteens (but not including cafes or canteens at hospitals, care homes, prisons, establishments intended for the use of naval, military or air force purposes and for providing food or drink to the homeless)

• Social clubs

• Cinemas

• Theatres

• Casinos

• Bingo halls and concert halls

• Amusement arcades or other indoor leisure centres or facilities

• Static/fixed funfairs (indoors or outdoors), theme parks, and adventure parks and activities

During opening hours (5am to 10pm), there should be table service-only, including ordering drinks and food. 

As elsewhere in the country, venues must also take details of customers for NHS Test and Trace from September 18.

Between 10pm and 5am each day hot food takeaways can only operate a delivery service.

Travelling funfairs are also prohibited.

Can I still go to a hospitality venue, like a pub or restaurant, or meet up outdoors with family and friends there who don’t live with me?

Yes, as long as the size of the group does not exceed six - BUT you need to maintain social distance with people who do not live in your household or support bubble, continue with good hand hygiene and wear a face covering where appropriate.

If this is not possible you should only visit with members of your own household or support bubble. People are advised to only visit COVID-safe premises that are visibly adhering to the guidelines

From Thursday 24th September, customers need to wear a face covering when not sat at a table for food or drink, and staff must wear one at all times.

Why can I visit the pub but not my relative’s house?

This is because the hospitality industry has enhanced measures, such as risk assessments and test and trace, which private homes don’t have.


Can I buy food or drink from takeaways and supermarkets from 10pm-5am?

No. However, takeaways can deliver to your home if you place an order by phone or online

Are rules changing for other businesses?

From Thursday 24th September, businesses will need to display the official NHS QR code posters so that customers can ‘check-in’ at different premises using this option as an alternative to providing their contact details once the app is rolled out nationally. In addition, guidance stating that face coverings and visors should be worn in close contact services will now become law. From Monday 28th September, businesses and organisations will face stricter rules to make their premises Covid-secure. These are:  A wider range of leisure and entertainment venues, services provided in community centres, and close contact services will be subject to the Covid-19 secure requirements in law and fines of up to £10,000 for repeated breaches.  Employers must not knowingly require or encourage someone who is being required to selfisolate to come to work.  Businesses must remind people to wear face coverings where mandated.

Can my wedding go ahead? 

Wedding and civil partnership ceremonies and receptions must only take place in COVID-19 Secure venues or in public outdoor spaces. From 28 September, weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and wedding receptions are restricted to 15 people. Receptions must be sit down meals. Anyone working is not counted as part of the limit. Within these larger gatherings, people do not need to limit their interaction to groups of 6, but social distancing should still be followed between people not in the same household or support bubble. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.

Can people living outside Merseyside come to my wedding?

People living outside of Merseyside can travel to these areas to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony or funeral, but they must not meet with another household in a private home or garden.

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.

What are the changes to playing sports?


Organised indoor team sport is no longer exempt from the rule of 6 (from 24 September). This means that organised indoor team sport should only take place in groups of up to 6 people (unless an exemption or easement applies). There is an exemption for indoor sport for people with disabilities, so this can continue in any number as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance.


Other organised indoor sport, including indoor exercise classes, can continue to take place with larger numbers present, provided that participants are in separate and distinct groups of up to 6 people (or larger discrete groups from the same household or support bubble) which do not mix with other groups.


Organised outdoor team sport, outdoor exercise classes and outdoor licensed physical activity are still exempt from the rule of 6, and can happen in any number as long as undertaken in line with published COVID-secure guidance.


All supervised activities for under-18s, including indoor and outdoor sports and exercise groups, are exempt (provided relevant guidance is followed and risk assessments carried out). Social interaction before and after playing any sport should be limited and only take place in separate and distinct groups consisting of up to 6 people (or larger discrete groups from the same household or support bubble).


Avoid attending amateur and semi-professional sporting events as spectators, this includes advising against staying to watch children play football on a Saturday morning for example.


Can I travel to play sport outside of the areas with restrictions?


Yes. Please wear a face covering if using public transport unless exempt.


Can I go to the gym, gym class or a swimming pool?


Yes, as long as these venues have the required COVID-secure risk assessments and guidelines in place. You should stay 2 metres away from other people and remain socially distanced.

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.

Last Updated on Wednesday, January 12, 2022

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