COVID-19 high alert level (tier 2)

From 31 October Oxford will be a COVID-19 high alert level area with new restrictions.

Oxford in high alert level from 31 October

As of Saturday 31 October, Oxford City will move to a high alert level area and new restrictions will be in place. If you live in Oxford this means you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place.

The government has introduced a COVID-19 local alert system in response to rising cases across the country. This classifies areas as medium, high or very high based on their numbers of infection and the overall risk level.

The rest of Oxfordshire remains at medium level – although cases across the whole county continue to rise, including in Cherwell, South Oxfordshire, the Vale of White Horse and West Oxfordshire. If you live in one of these areas, remain alert and follow the rules to help us stop the spread of the virus across the county. 

Meeting family and friends

Can I still meet with friends or family?

If you live in Oxford you must not meet socially with friends and family in any indoor 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. You should follow these rules all the time, even if you are seeing friends or family who live in a medium alert level area.

You can continue to see friends and family in an outdoor space. When you do so, you must not meet in a group of more than six. This limit of six includes children of any age. You should also follow social distancing rules and limit how many different people you see socially over a short period of time. Meeting in larger groups is against the law.

What would happen if I break 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.

If you live in a high alert level area, you also cannot meet indoors with people outside of the area, unless exceptions apply.

Can I meet a friend in a pub or restaurant in another area of Oxfordshire or anywhere else that is in the medium alert level?

No. If you live in Oxford, you must not socialise indoors with people from other households, including in pubs and restaurants. This applies whether you are meeting in Oxford, in Oxfordshire as a whole or in another area at a different alert level.

You can, however, still visit pubs and restaurants indoors with up to six members of your own household or support bubble. You can also go to an outdoor pub or restaurant with up to six people from different households. At least one person in your group should give their contact details to the venue or check-in using the official NHS COVID-19 app so NHS Test and Trace can contact you if needed.

My friend lives in a lower level area and can still meet people indoors. Can they visit me at home or can we meet in the pub?

No. If you live in Oxford, you must not socialise indoors with people from other households, including at home, in pubs and restaurants. This applies whether you are meeting in Oxford, in Oxfordshire as a whole or in another area at a different alert level. If people are travelling to areas that are under a higher restriction level to where they live, they have to abide by the higher level rules during their visit. If you are unsure what level an area is in, use the postcode checker on the government’s website.