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UK Travel Advisory: Police Deployed To Enforce New Movement Restrictions

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Last week, England ended its second national lockdown before moving towards a tiered system based on the impact of Covid-19 in specific regions. However, the debates surrounding the already-controversial system of coronavirus control have been reignited following the news that police forces are patrolling county borders to stop citizens moving from one tier to another. Here’s more about that, and a closer look at what Tier 3 travel restrictions are.

uk police checkpoint

Domestic Border Patrols

It emerged during the week that the North Yorkshire police force had been using license plate recognition technology in a bid to try and catch those attempting to enter North Yorkshire.

sheep north yorkshire dales

North Yorkshire is a Tier 2 area, which means those in the county are free to visit restaurants and pubs and are subject to less Covid-19 related restrictions than those in Tier 3 areas. However, North Yorkshire is surrounded by several Tier 3 areas – Lancashire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire and the North East. The police are expecting many people from these bordering areas to try and drive into North Yorkshire to take advantage of its relaxed restrictions, putting the county at further risk in the process.

The North Yorkshire police force reminded people that it is unacceptable to travel between tiers for a meal or a day out and that such restrictions are being enforced to protect the most vulnerable residents in society. Should those attempting to make the trip or breach restrictions be caught, they can expect to be fined. According to the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, the North Yorkshire police force issued 232 fines for Covid-19 related breaches in the last month alone, generating a total amount of £35,000.

york north yorkshire city uk


The deployment of police officers to patrol borders between different tiers has caused controversy in the UK. A human rights lawyers stated that there is no legal restriction on traveling from one tier to another and that the police had no power under the current Covid-19 regulations to stop cars. This was echoed further by the campaign group Big Brother Watch, who described the tactics as “totalitarian police behavior”.  

UK hotel lockdown rules

Similar tactics have been seen in France, where police forces have been patrolling the Swiss border to ensure French citizens don’t head to Switzerland to ski.

covid skiing ski mountain empty

Tier 3 Travel Rules

The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care has published very clear guidance on travel rules for those in Tier 3. Those currently in Tier 3 areas are allowed to travel within their tier:

  • to venues that are open
  • for work
  • for education
  • to access voluntary, charitable or youth services
  • because of caring responsibilities
  • for moving home
  • to visit your support bubble
  • to receive medical treatment
uk york city yorkshire shambles

Also, they are advised to reduce the number of journeys they make, avoid public transport and car-sharing if possible and stay home if experiencing any symptoms.

Those in Tier 3 are only permitted to travel outside of their tier:

  • for work
  • for education
  • to access voluntary, charitable or youth services
  • because of caring responsibilities
  • for moving home
  • to visit your support bubble
  • for a medical appointment or treatment
uk put into another lockdown in November

The placement of areas into different tier levels is to be reviewed every two weeks, with the next review on December 16th. These travel restrictions and the three-tiered system are limited to England; Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own systems in place.

london uk mask

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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling.  Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories


Sunday 6th of December 2020

I'm so glad I moved to Latin America. Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil and Mexico mostly have ended this lunacy. And most of the citizens in the region, that have experience with past dictatorships not that long ago won't allow another. And speaking of dictatorships, not even Nicaragua is taking part in this lunacy. It's just good old fashioned dictatorship, which to me, if I was still in Europe, would start to look more and more appealing - given the alternative at home.

Vinny the Adventurer

Saturday 5th of December 2020

What a shame. Totalitarianism in the west.


Saturday 5th of December 2020

Orwell is basically a turbine at this point...