Many Swanage residents split between tiers as stricter Covid restrictions announced

For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the county of Dorset is being subjected to different coronavirus restrictions, with Dorset Council area moving to tier three and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council area with its higher number of cases, moving to tier four.

This means that the lives of residents in Swanage who work or go to school in Poole or Bournemouth will be split between tiers. While people moving from tier three and tier four areas is restricted, they are allowed to do so for education and work. 


Comes into force from the start of Thursday 31st December 2020

The change from tier two to the new higher tiers comes into force from the start of Thursday 31st December 2020. 

In Swanage and the rest of the Dorset Council area, the new tier three restrictions mean people must not mix indoors or outdoors in hospitality venues or private gardens, however up to six people can meet in outdoor public spaces. 

Restaurants, cafes and bars must also close and can only provide a take-away service. Entertainment centres must not open, so that means that The Mowlem must close. Hairdressers and beauty salons can remain open.

However, BCP Council will be going into the toughest tier four restrictions, so despite being just across the water from Swanage, residents in this area must stay at home as much as possible. All non-essential shops will close. 

Tier three rules

  • In tier three, you must not meet indoors socially with anyone you do not live with or with whom you share a support bubble.
  • You also may not meet members of other households or bubbles outdoors in areas such as private gardens and many outdoor public venues. However, you can meet up to a group of six (including any children) in spacious areas including parks, beaches and the countryside.
  • Hospitality venues, including pubs, clubs and restaurants all must close – except to offer takeaway. Cinemas, bowling alleys, bingo halls and other entertainment venues must also shut.
  • Weddings, civil partnerships and wakes can still take place with up to 15 guests, and funerals with 30 attendees. Wedding receptions may not go ahead.
  • Residents are advised to not travel outside Tier 3 areas. You should work at home if you can.
Tier 3 poster

Tier four rules

  • Under tier four, all of the above restrictions apply – and some are even more stringent.
  • Anyone living in a tier four area is expected to stay at home with few exceptions. Unlike in tier three, personal care shops such as hairdressers must close.
  • The rule of six is also constricted – only one person may meet one other person outside. Indoor mixing is not allowed.
  • Funerals may still take place with up to 30 people, but weddings can only go ahead in exceptional circumstances and with just six guests.
Tier 4 poster

“Until the vaccine is rolled out wider, we must do all we can to suppress the virus”

Sam Crowe, Director of Public Health for Dorset and BCP Councils said:

“The number of positive cases of Covid-19 across the Dorset Council area has risen rapidly over the last week. Tier two measures are not enough to stop the virus spreading.

“Our infection rates have risen in people over the age of 60 which is putting increased pressure on already stretched NHS services. Making sacrifices now means we could prevent an even larger spike in January.

“It is essential, now more than ever that everyone follows the rules for tier three to help drive infections down. Until the vaccine is rolled out wider, we must do all we can to suppress the virus by staying at home as much as possible. Remember; hands, face, space and ventilating your home are simple measures we can all do that will make a difference.”

There is “no room for complacency”

Councillor Spencer Flower, Leader of Dorset Council recognised the necessity for these measures, while also acknowledging the difficulty they would bring for businesses.

He said:

“With case numbers rising rapidly, further action now will help to contain the spread of the virus here in Dorset. I’m afraid there’s no room for complacency here, we all need to continue to play our part to protect people’s lives and our NHS.

“As ever, I’d like to thank people for all they are doing as a very difficult and unprecedented year draws to a close. I know moving into tier three will be hard for many residents and local businesses but, with the vaccine now being rolled out, I sincerely hope it won’t be too long before we can return to some form of normality.”

South Dorset MP Richard Drax said:

“This is especially bad news for the hospitality sector, which has already suffered for these lockdowns. I am relieved a second vaccine is now ready and hope both are rolled out as fast as possible.”

Further information 

Full government announcement about the new tiers is available on its website.

The full details of what you can and cannot do can be found here:

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