Tier 3 in London: What are the restaurant rules around eating out?

Looks like it could be another while yet before we're all free to enjoy a meal in a restaurant again

Updated on 14 December 2020 • Written By Rosie Conroy

Tier 3 in London: What are the restaurant rules around eating out?

Following the easing of the second lockdown London’s restaurant scene enjoyed a brief reprieve which saw hungry diners return to the hospitality sector in droves. Unfortunately, just two short weeks later it has been announced that London will move into a Tier 3 bracket from this Wednesday, the 16th December.

The move comes after there has been a sharp rise in cases across the capital, while hospitals across the country have expressed concerns over the lack of bed space should the situation continue to worsen.


London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been vocal about his disagreement with the suggested move, urging ministers to act with “open eyes” when it comes to the damage the heightened restrictions will inflict across the hospitality sector. Instead, the Mayor has asked that schools be shut early and given an extended break to try to temper the spread of the virus in an alternative way.

Are restaurants open in Tier 3?

Restaurant rules in Tier 3 are much stricter than the Tier 2 regulations which have been in place since the last lockdown. The guidelines state that you cannot mix indoors at all, except with your own household or bubble. Additionally, all bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants must close for any sit-in services they offer meaning beer gardens and al fresco terraces will no longer be the havens they once were for people wishing to meet friends or family.

This means that if you have a restaurant booking planned in the next couple of weeks it will probably be automatically cancelled, and you should receive confirmation of that in the coming days. Where possible it's likely that restaurants will offer you alternative dates over Christas or into the new year, restrictions allowing. 

Those looking to still enjoy restaurant food during Tier 3 restrictions will be able to order takeaway, and any restaurants which are setup to do so may have customers collect and offer delivery services.

Understandably London's restauranteurs are against the latest changes from The Government. Rik Campbell, Co-Founder of Kricket says the regulations are little more than "a lockdown in disguise", while Patrick Powell of restaurant Allegra feels as though not has been done to support the industry, saying: “The restaurants in the UK are not being consulted at all. The government’s handling of the hospitality sector has been a disgrace and shows a complete lack of understanding on their part.”

Along with restaurants other venues such as bowling alleys and cinemas must remain closed, while shops, gyms and hairdressers are permitted to stay open. Despite the alleged changes the government have stated that they do not intent to alter the plan for mixed households to enjoy Christmas together.

Looking to support your favourite restaurant during Tier 3 restrictions? Here are some of the best takeaways in the capital