The BMA has also said it was "inconsistent" in the way it was applied, and that it must be "urgently revised" before the country exits its second lockdown on 2 December.
In a blueprint for exiting the strict measures, leading medics have suggested a new system should have "triggers" whereby different areas would move up and down different tiers - and that non-essential travel between tiers in higher and lower prevalence areas should be "restricted".
On clearer guidance being needed for the hospitality industry, the report adds: "Crowded restaurants and pubs with little social distancing, as seen after the first lockdown, encouraged by the Eat Out to Help Out initiative, represents a danger to public health."
Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: "We must not squander the efforts of the many people who have followed the law, stayed at home, sacrificed freedoms and incurred financial loss in order to contain the virus.
"When the first lockdown ended, there was no coherent plan for keeping COVID-19 at bay, no clear and simple public messaging; this was followed by spiralling infection rates, more businesses failing, new 'local' lockdowns, and now we have a death toll at more than 52,000.
"As England prepares to exit its second lockdown, it is unthinkable that we make the same mistakes again because this time, the impact will be far worse."
Ministers have implied that England will return to a tiered approach when its lockdown ends next month.
The BMA blueprint has made several suggestions, including:
Dr Nagpaul continued: "It's reasonable to conclude, that without these measures, the NHS will not be able to cope with caring for even the most critically ill patients.
"This report demonstrates a sustainable plan for reducing the level of infections from COVID-19 until a vaccine programme is under way."
The BMA also said that before lockdown ends, the government should ensure that the Test and Trace programme is fit for purpose.