Guidance

West Midlands: local restrictions

Find out what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in the West Midlands.

An outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has been identified in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. The government and the relevant local authorities are working together to control the spread of the virus.

Restrictions and guidance apply to the specified areas below.

Affected local areas

  • Birmingham (city council area)
  • Sandwell (metropolitan borough council area)
  • Solihull (metropolitan borough council area)
  • Wolverhampton (city council area), from Tuesday 22 September

Local restrictions

Business and venue closures and restrictions

The following businesses and venues must remain closed nationally, including in the affected local areas:

  • nightclubs, dance halls, and discotheques
  • sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars

Social contact restrictions

If you live in the affected local areas, you must not:

  • host people you do not live with in your home or garden, unless they’re in your support bubble
  • meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they’re in your support bubble

Your household is defined as the people you live with and any support bubble.

A support bubble is where a household with one adult joins with another household (on an exclusive basis).

Households within a bubble can still visit each other, stay overnight and visit public places together.

People must only come inside your home or garden for specific purposes set out in law:

  • where everyone in the gathering lives together or is in the same support bubble
  • to attend a birth at the mother’s request
  • to visit a person who is dying (the visitor can be someone the dying person lives with, a close family member, friend or, if none of those is visiting, anyone else)
  • to fulfil a legal obligation
  • for work purposes (see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes), or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services
  • for the purposes of education or training
  • for the purposes of childcare provided by a registered provider
  • to provide emergency assistance
  • to enable one or more persons in the gathering to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm
  • to facilitate a house move
  • to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person
  • to continue existing arrangements for access to, and contact between, parents and children where the children do not live in the same household as their parents, or one of their parents

The police will be able to take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

People aged 18 or over will be able to be fined:

  • £100 for the first offence, lowered to £50 if paid within 14 days
  • £200 for the second offence, then doubling for each further offence up to a maximum of £3,200

The government has already introduced fines for those who hold illegal gatherings of over 30 people. Holding or being involved in the holding of an illegal gathering of more than 30 people is an offence, and police may issue fines of £10,000 to those who break the law.

When meeting friends and family you do not live with (or have formed a support bubble with) you must not meet in a group of more than 6. Further detail can be found in the guidance for meeting others safely including associated exemptions.

If you live in the affected local areas, you must not meet or host people you do not live with in private homes or gardens unless they are in your support bubble.

Travel restrictions

You should follow all relevant transport guidance when making a journey into, within or out of the affected areas.

You must wear a face covering on public transport and in substantially enclosed areas of transport hubs in England (as well as in a range of other indoor premises). You will be breaking the law if you fail to do so and could be fined. Some people don’t have to wear a face covering, including for age, health, or disability reasons.

You should try not to share a car with those outside your household or support bubble. If you need to, try to:

  • share the car with the same people each time
  • keep to small groups of people at any one time
  • open windows for ventilation
  • travel side by side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements allow
  • consider seating arrangements to maximise distance between people in the vehicle
  • clean your car between journeys using standard cleaning products – make sure you clean door handles and other areas that people may touch
  • ask the driver and passengers to wear a face covering

See more guidance on car sharing and travelling with people outside your household group.

If you live in one of the affected areas, you can travel outside them. However, you must not meet people you do not live with in their home or garden, whether inside or outside of the affected areas, unless they’re in your support bubble.

You can still go on holiday outside of the affected areas, but you should only do this with people you live with (or have formed a support bubble with).

There is separate guidance on what to do if you have booked holiday accommodation in an area with local restrictions.

Shielding

If you’re clinically extremely vulnerable we are not currently advising that you need to shield. However, it’s important that you continue to take precautions. Find out more from the general guidance for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

Team sport and physical activity

You can continue to take part in organised sporting or licensed physical activity in groups of more than 6. This can be in any public place – indoors or outdoors – but not in a private outdoor space like a garden or inside a private home.

These activities either need to be organised by a national governing body, club, registered instructor/coach, business or charity, and/or involve someone who has received an official licence to use equipment relevant to the activity. In all cases, the organiser must conduct a risk assessment and ensure compliance with COVID-19 secure guidance.

You should only be playing team sports where the relevant governing body has published guidance on how to do so safely. See a list of team sports governing bodies which have developed guidance. For all other sports, guidance is available from your governing body and details on how to safely undertake this activity within an organised environment.

Organised dance and exercise classes can take place in groups of more than 6, where a risk assessment has been carried out, but you should limit your social interaction with other participants. The relevant indoor sport facilities guidance or outdoor guidance must be followed for these activities. Organised sport and physical activity events are allowed provided they follow guidance for the public on the phased return of outdoor sport and recreation in England.

Weddings and funerals

From Monday 14 September, in line with the new rules across the whole of England, you must not meet in a group of more than 6 people in any location. Weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions, funerals (including ceremonies at crematoria) and other religious or belief-based life-cycle ceremonies are exempt. Up to 30 people are allowed to attend these events, including in the affected areas.

Anyone working at these ceremonies or events is not included as part of the 30-person limit.

These events should comply with the COVID-19 secure guidance and venue capacity. See detailed guidance for small marriages and civil partnerships.

People living outside of the affected areas can travel to those areas in order to attend a wedding, civil partnership ceremony or funeral, but must not meet with another household in a private home or garden.

Religious ceremonies and places of worship

You may attend a mosque, church, synagogue, temple or other place or worship, but you should socially distance from people outside of your household. This means maintaining a distance of 2 metres, or 1 metre with extra precautions (such as wearing face coverings).

If possible, prayer or religious services should take place outdoors.

Going to work

People living inside and outside of the affected areas can continue to travel in and out for work. Workplaces should implement COVID-19 secure guidance.

Childcare

You can continue to use early years and childcare settings, including childminders and providers offering before- or after-school clubs or other out-of-school settings for children. You can also continue to employ nannies – see guidance on working safely in other people’s homes.

Friends or family who you do not live with should not visit your home to help with childcare unless they are part of your support bubble. The only people who should help you with childcare in your home are people you live with, people in your support bubble or registered childcare providers, including nannies.

Children of parents who are separated can continue to move between households.

Schools and colleges (face coverings)

In education settings where pupils and students in year 7 and above are educated, face coverings should be worn by staff, visitors and pupils/students when moving around in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain. It is not necessary to wear face coverings in the classroom, where protective measures already mean the risks are lower and they may inhibit teaching and learning.

Moving home

People can move home. Estate and letting agents, and removals firms can continue to work and people looking to move home can continue to undertake viewings.

Published 11 September 2020
Last updated 19 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated to add Wolverhampton to the areas covered by these restrictions. The guidance on this page has been updated in line with guidance for other areas on England that have local restrictions, for example on team sport, shielding, childcare, and face coverings in schools and colleges. Clarified guidance on some of the restrictions, for example that staff working at religious ceremonies are not included as part of the 30-person limit.

  2. Updated page to reflect that the rules have become law. Police can take action against those that break these rules, including asking people to disperse and issuing fixed penalty notices starting at £100 for those who participate in illegal gatherings.

  3. First published.