A year of strife ends in tiers for UK museums

Museums, galleries and heritage sites across the UK are waiting anxiously to discover which Covid alert level they will be placed in next month. Below is a breakdown of what each of the three tiers mean for visitor attractions.

When the nation emerges from the second countrywide lockdown on Wednesday 2nd December, a revised three tier system of restrictions will come into force. Measures will be subject to revision every 14 days from then onwards.

In its simplest form, only venues in tier 3 areas will definitely have to close. There are, however, some exemptions for outdoor sites.

Tier 1 – Medium alert

Visitor attractions of all kinds can reopen, provided they close by 11pm and operate in a “Covid secure manner”.

The ‘rule of six’ applies, meaning the public must not socialise in groups larger than six people – applicable both indoors or outdoors.

Public attendance at outdoor and indoor events is permitted but limited to whichever is lower; 50% capacity, or 4,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors.

Tier 2 – High alert

Museums, galleries and heritage attractions can open but must ensure they are “Covid secure” and be closed by 11pm.

The public must not socialise with anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble in “any indoor setting”. The ‘rule of six’ applies to outdoor venues.

Public attendance at events is capped at the lowest of either 50% full capacity or 2,000 people outdoors and 1,000 people indoors.

People can travel to any venue which is open but should “aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible”.

Tier 3 – Very High alert

Indoor museums and heritage attractions must close. Indoor attractions situated within “mostly outdoor entertainment venues” must also close, but indoor shops and public toilets at such attractions can remain open.

Rules dictate the public must not meet socially “indoors or in most outdoor places” with anybody outside of their household or support bubble.

People can socialise in outdoor public spaces – including the grounds of a heritage site or castle – provided they adhere to the ‘rule of six’.

The public are permitted to travel to any venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to “reduce the number of journeys you make where possible”.

An announcement will be made by the prime minister on Thursday regarding the tiers all areas will be placed into for the first half of December.