Local COVID Alert Levels

Last updated: 00:01 Friday 23 October 2020 

The government has introduced a new 3-tier system called ‘local COVID alert levels‘. This provides a new set of coronavirus rules for England. There are three tiers to the alert system – tier 1 (medium), tier 2 (high) and tier 3 (very high).

  • COVID Alert Level Very High applies to Bury and the whole of Greater Manchester, Lancashire and some other areas in the North West.

Tier 3 ‘very high’ is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place.

The government and relevant authorities are acting together to control the spread of the virus but we all need to play our part to bring the number of infections down.

These are the rules for the Borough of Bury that you must follow.

Meeting family and friends

You must not:

  • meet socially with friends and family indoors in any setting unless you live with them or have formed a support bubble with them. This includes private homes, and any other indoor venues such as pubs and restaurants.
  • meet with people outside of your household or support bubble in a private garden or in most outdoor public venues.

You can:

  • see friends and family you do not live with (or have not 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

You must not meet in a group of more than 6. This limit of 6 includes children of any age. Meeting in larger groups is against the law and the police can take action and issue fines.

When meeting friends and family you should:

  • follow social distancing rules when you meet up
  • limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time.

Everyone should remember ‘Hands. Face. Space’:

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. You can form a support bubble with another household of any size that is not part of a support bubble with anyone else if you:

  • live by yourself – even if carers visit you to provide support
  • are a single parent living with children who were under 18 on 12 June 2020

Informal childcare can also be provided via a 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. For any given childcare bubble, this must always be between the same 2 households.

Going to work

Office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter. Anyone else who cannot work from home should go to their place of work.

People living inside and outside of the very high alert level area can continue to travel in and out of the areas for work.

Employers and businesses can substantially reduce transmission risks if COVID-secure guidelines are followed closely. Extra consideration should be given to those people at higher risk. Those classed as clinically extremely vulnerable can go to work as long as the workplace is COVID-secure, but should work from home whenever possible.


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.

You should aim to:

  • reduce the number of journeys you make and walk or cycle where possible
  • plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport (this will allow you to keep your distance from others when you are travelling)

You are advised not to:

  • travel into or out of an area if it has been categorised as a very high alert level area (you can continue to do so if you need to for work, education, to access youth services or because of caring responsibilities)


For more advice about travelling when you live in a very high alert level area:

Protecting people more at risk from coronavirus

If you were shielding earlier this year you can still go outside as much as you like but you should take extra care and keep your overall social interactions low.

COVID alert level very high in more detail

Outbreak management

Our Outbreak Control Plan sets out ways in which Bury Council, the local NHS and other partner organisations aim to manage local outbreaks.

Local outbreaks are identified and managed through continuous monitoring of the available data.

Bury Council – 23rd October 2020