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London to move into Tier 3 from Wednesday with shoppers from outside discouraged from entering the capital

Lauretta Roberts
14 December 2020

London will be placed under Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday, Matt Hancock has confirmed, with the Health Secretary adding that shoppers from outside of the Tier 3 zone should avoid travelling into London.

Parts of Essex and South Hertfordshire will also face the toughest restrictions, including Basildon, Brentwood, Harlow Epping Forest, Castle Point, Rochford, Malden, Braintree and Chelmsford, Thurrock and Southend on Sea in Essex and Broxbourne, Hertsmere, Watford and the Three Rivers local authority area in Hertfordshire.

Non-essential retail will still be permitted to open however hospitality must be open for takeaway only, which will have an impact on footfall for retail. In addition Hancock has discouraged people from outside of the Tier 3 area from travelling into London to do their Christmas shopping.

Responding to a question on the subject from Conservative chairman of the Commons Health and Social Care Select Committee, Jeremy Hunt, Hancock said: “The question he asks about Christmas shopping is important.

“It is recommended that people should minimise travel unless it is necessary in a Tier 3 area and should minimise travel where it is necessary to a Tier 3 area.

“And so we have taken this action to try to protect people and to try to slow the spread of this virus and that is absolutely the right thing to do.”

Hancock also told the House of Commons that a new strain of COVID-19 had been identified in the South East, which may explain a sharp rise in cases: "I need to tell the House that over the last week, we’ve seen very sharp, exponential rises in the virus across London, Kent, parts of Essex and Hertfordshire.

"We do not know the extent to which this is because of the new variant but no matter its cause we have to take swift and decisive action which unfortunately is absolutely essential to control this deadly disease while the vaccine is rolled out," he said.

Summing up what at the changes mean, Hancock added: "This means that people can only see friends and family they don’t live with, or aren't in a support bubble with, in outdoor public places. And of course, in line, with the rule of six, hospitality settings must close, except takeaway or delivery. And people should avoid travelling outside their area and reduce the number of journeys they make wherever possible."

Hancock said there was no evidence to suggest that the new strain of the virus would be resistant to the vaccines due to be rolled out.


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