London will move into Tier 3 from midnight on Wednesday, 16 December, health secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed.
Parts of Essex and Hertfordshire will also enter England’s highest tier.
The change in tier is due to a sharp rise in cases across parts of the South East and East of England, meaning that the health secretary says he was unable to wait until the next scheduled review of England’s tier system.
This means that event venues within the Greater London Area, as well as in parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, will only be able to accommodate business events for up to 30, so long as they are reasonably necessary.
Greater London includes 32 boroughs, as well as the City of London district.
Tier 1 (Medium) areas sees business meetings and events permitted at a cap of 50% of the venue’s capacity or 4,000 people outdoors or 1,000 people indoors, whichever is lowest. This capacity refers to the total number of people per event and does not include venue staff. Similar rules apply in Tier 2 (High) areas, with the key difference being a reduction to 2,000 people permitted in outdoor settings.
Events taking place in Tier 1 and 2 areas will need to follow the All Secure Standard, which can be read here. Large events may only operate over a single day.
Events are not permitted in Tier 3 (Very High) areas. However, while smaller business meetings are advised against, they may take place with up to a total of 30 people if reasonably necessary, such as for the purposes of work that cannot be done at home. In such cases, social distancing must be maintained, and the venue must be able to demonstrate it has followed the Meetings Industry Association’s Covid-19 guidance, which can be read here.
Unconfirmed reports suggest this latest change will be reviewed on 23 December.