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Government extends Tier 3 restrictions to much of the South East

Lauretta Roberts
17 December 2020

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that Tier 3 COVID-19 restrictions will be extended to much of the South East from one minute past midnight on Saturday.

The move means that hospitality will only be able to offer take-away services in the lead-up to Christmas, while non-essential retail and close contact beauty and hair services will still be able to operate with the appropriate health and safety measures in place.

Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, the whole of Hertfordshire, Surrey, with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire will all move up from Tier 2 to Tier 3 as virus cases continue to rise. London, along with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire were added to Tier 3 earlier this week.

Bristol and North Somerset, which had previously been in Tier 3, may now move to Tier 2, while Herefordshire can go down from Tier 2 into Tier 1.

"As we enter the coldest months we must be vigilant and keep this virus under control. Yesterday 25,161 cases were reported and there are 18,038 people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK. We must keep supressing this virus.

"And this isn’t just a matter for government or for this House, it is a matter for every single person and these are always the most difficult months for people’s health and for the NHS.

"And especially with the vaccine already here, we must be cautious as we accelerate the vaccine deployment as per the winter plan. We’ve come so far, we mustn’t blow it now," Hancock told the House of Commons.

Yesterday Prime Minister Boris Johnson declined to impose stricter regulations on Christmas, which allows up to three households to mix for up to five days. Johnson advised against meeting with families and friends who are elderly or in vulnerable groups and said overnight stays should only take place if absolutely necessary.

People are advised not to travel around the country if they can and not to move between the Tiers. However Johnson said he would not criminalise people who chose to take advantage of the regulations as they stand.

This latest move means that roughly 38m people in the UK (around two thirds of the population) are now living in Tier 3 with most of the rest in Tier 2. Just 1.6% are living in Tier 1.

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