MORE than 23 million people are living under Tier 3 rules – and they won't be allowed to travel abroad for Christmas, new guidance has said.
Fresh rules have told people in the toughest Tier not to travel overseas – ruining hopes of some winter sun over the Christmas break, but people won't be fined if they do.
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During the national measures in England, people in all areas are banned from international travel, except for work, school or other essential reasons.
From Wednesday, the rules will be relaxed allowing people to head off on overseas holidays again.
But people living in Tier 3 rules have been told not to leave their local area – to avoid spreading coronavirus to places with lower infection rates.
Crucially, the guidance is just advice and the rules won't be written into law, meaning people can't be fined if they break them.
The guidance says: "From 2 December you may travel abroad, including to visit friends and family, subject to any restrictions in place at your destination.
"However, those in Tier 3 should avoid leaving their tier, including for international travel, other than for work, education or caring responsibilities."
It comes as a new scheme will let people cut travel quarantine time down from 14 days to five – as long as they get swabbed and test negative after the five days of self-isolation.
The advice not to leave Tier 3 areas will be relaxed from December 23 to December 27 so that families can reunite over the festive season.
People can meet up in "Christmas bubbles" made up of three households.
But the guidance against international travel for those in the highest risk areas will remain in place.
People travelling from and to Tier 3 areas will be allowed to stay in hotels – provided it is only with members of your own household.
There are hopes less areas will be in Tier 3 by the time Christmas comes around, with the next review of areas' tiers on December 16.
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