How do the new local tiers affect hill walking, climbing and mountaineering?

Posted by Catherine Flitcroft on 29/10/2020
Photo: Shutterstock

In response to the new ‘Local COVID alert levels’ announced by Government on Monday 12 October, our access team has summarised the most recent guidance relevant for climbers, hill walkers and mountaineers.

We will try to keep this updated as soon as new information or changes are made available.

Local COVID Alert Level – Medium (Tier 1)

Covering most of England - this will consist of the current national measures, which came into force on 25 September. For areas where national restrictions continue to be in place, this means:

  • People must not meet in groups larger than six, indoors or outdoors.
  • Organised indoor sport and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided the Rule of Six is followed.
  • Climbing walls remain open
  • 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.  These activities need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and take all reasonable steps to limit transmission of the coronavirus by reference to that risk assessment and all relevant COVID-19 Secure guidance. 
  • All of Wales will once again be subject to full lockdown rules over two weeks, from Friday October 23rd until Monday November 9th. These new rules apply to everyone in Wales (and anyone visiting Wales) and effectively prohibit all travel for recreational purposes to or from Wales and prohibit exercising with anyone from outside your household. For more information click here.
  • As virus cases increase, the Scottish Government is set to publish proposals for a tiered system of alerts in the coming days and these will be publicised here.  This would trigger different levels of restrictions in different parts of Scotland depending on local virus levels.

Local COVID alert level - High (Tier 2)

  • Cheshire: Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East, Warrington,
  • Greater Manchester: Manchester, Bolton, Bury, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham
  • Derbyshire: High Peak ‒ the wards of: Tintwistle, Padfield, Dinting, St John’s, Old Glossop, Whitfield, Simmondley, Gamesley, Howard Town, Hadfield South, Hadfield North
  • Lancashire: Blackpool, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre
  • West Yorkshire: Leeds, Bradford, Kirklees, Calderdale, Wakefield
  • South Yorkshire: Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, Sheffield
  • Durham: Durham
  • Northumberland: Northumberland
  • Tyne and Wear: Newcastle, South Tyneside, North Tyneside, Gateshead, Sunderland, Tees Valley, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees, Darlington, Hartlepool
  • West Midlands: Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Wolverhampton, Walsall
  • Leicestershire: Leicester, Oadby and Wigston
  • London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London)
  • Elmbridge
  • Essex (area covered by Essex County Council only)
  • Barrow-in-Furness
  • York
  • North East Derbyshire
  • Erewash
  • Chesterfield
  • Stoke on Trent
  • Coventry
  • Slough

This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.
  • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside. You can meet in outdoor spaces including parks, beaches, forests, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities.
  • 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.  Local restrictions however, may apply so please check.
  • Outdoor organised activities need to be arranged by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and take all reasonable steps to limit transmission of the coronavirus by reference to that risk assessment and all relevant COVID-19 Secure guidance. 
  • People should aim to reduce the number of journeys they make where possible. If they need to travel, they should walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport.
  • Exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • Climbing walls remain open
  • All of Wales will once again be subject to full lockdown rules over two weeks, from Friday October 23rd until Monday November 9th. These new rules apply to everyone in Wales (and anyone visiting Wales) and effectively prohibit all travel for recreational purposes to or from Wales and prohibit exercising with anyone from outside your household. For more information click here.
  • As virus cases increase, the Scottish Government is set to publish proposals for a tiered system of alerts in the coming days and these will be publicised here.  This would trigger different levels of restrictions in different parts of Scotland depending on local virus levels.

Local COVID Alert Level - Very High (Tier 3)

  • Liverpool City region
  • Lancashire
  • Greater Manchester
  • South Yorkshire (including Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and the City of Sheffield)
  • Warrington
  • Nottingham
  • Broxtowe
  • Gedling & Rushcliffe council
     
  • This is for areas with a very high level of infections. The Government will set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with local authorities will determine additional measures.

The baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. 
  • People must not meet in a group of more than six outside. You can meet in outdoor spaces including parks, beaches, forests, playgrounds and outdoor sports facilities.
  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.
  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.
  • 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.  Local restrictions however, may apply so please check.
  • Organised outdoor activities need to be arranged by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and take all reasonable steps to limit transmission of the coronavirus by reference to that risk assessment and all relevant COVID-19 Secure guidance. 
  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant 
  • Climbing walls may be closed – please check before you go.  Indoor sports facilities in a Tier 3 area (Very High) of the Local COVID-19 Alert Levels will not be automatically required to close by law but a decision will be made between the local authority and central government as to whether these facilities may remain open or not.
  • Liverpool Walls (open)
  • Lancashire Walls (open)
  • All of Wales will once again be subject to full lockdown rules over two weeks, from Friday October 23rd until Monday November 9th. These new rules apply to everyone in Wales (and anyone visiting Wales) and effectively prohibit all travel for recreational purposes to or from Wales and prohibit exercising with anyone from outside your household. For more information click here.
  • As virus cases increase, the Scottish Government is set to publish proposals for a tiered system of alerts in the coming days and these will be publicised here.  This would trigger different levels of restrictions in different parts of Scotland depending on local virus levels.

LOCAL LOCKDOWN RULES: What Covid tier is my area in?

Please keep up to date with the changing picture by checking the Government website


More FAQs about the BMC and Covid-19

🌳 Can I climbing / hillwalking? Here's what you can and can't do in the 2nd English Lockdown (November 2020)

🌳 What's the situation in Wales? Read the full November update here

😷 When and how will the walls reopen?  In England they're now closed for the November Lockdown. Read our November Walls article

✈️ Can I now travel abroad again? Get the latest answers to going abroad with travel restrictions now easing

🛒 Is the BMC shop open? Yes - we officially reopened at the start of July!

🏡 Do you have any advice for clubs and huts? The latest club huts update and all you need to know

📜 Will the BMC keep running smoothly? Read more or watch our weekly live updates from our CEO

🚗 What have the BMC access team been doing during this time? Read on

As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.

From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.

If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join


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