Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced today (December 19) that places under Tier 3 in the South East would enter much tougher Tier 4 restrictions.
Mr Johnson said in the Downing Street conference people living in Tier 4, which includes Peterborough, will be under a “stay at home” order and would not be able to form a Christmas bubble.
The major announcement came as scientists concluded that the mutant strain identified by Public Health England – known as VUI2020/01 – was spreading more quickly.
Mr Johnson explained that research from the advisory group on New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats suggests “the new variant could increase the R by 0.4 or more.”
In a huge policy u-turn, the prime minister overhauled the Christmas bubble rules he has staunchly defended. Originally three households would be allowed to form a bubble for five days but now only those outside Tier 4 can form a bubble and only on Christmas Day.
Mr Johnson said he was making the changes with a “very heavy heart”.
Full list of places entering Tier 4
Peterborough is the only city in Cambridgeshire that will enter Tier 4. All other places in Cambridgeshire are under Tier 2 restrictions.
The new Tier 4 restrictions will apply in all Tier 3 areas in the South East – covering Kent, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings.
It will also apply in London (all 32 boroughs and the City of London) and the East of England – Bedford, Central Bedford, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough, Hertfordshire and Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring).
When does the Tier 4 lockdown start?
The “stay at home” order starts 00:01 tomorrow, Sunday December 20.
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What are the Tier 4 rules?
People in Tier 4 should not stay overnight anywhere and should “stay at home”. You can only go abroad for essential business if you are in Tier 4.
People living in Tier 4 cannot form a Christmas bubble.
Non-essential shops, gyms, cinemas, hairdressers and bowling alleys will close for two weeks – while people will be restricted to meeting one other person from another household in an outdoor public space.
Exemptions to the rules which were applied in the November lockdown, will also apply in the new Tier 4 – including support bubbles, childcare bubbles and children whose parents are separated.
People will be allowed to travel for education, childcare and to go to work if they cannot work from home and they will be permitted unlimited outdoor exercise.