Tier 4 bites as Coronavirus rules tightened before Christmas

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor

Many parts of the south east of england, including London, are feeling the squeeze as they were placed in a newly-created tier 4 over the weekend.

Days after hospitality settings were forced to close, having been placed in tier 3, the Prime Minister delivered a sobering speech on Saturday announcing new restrictions for the whole of England - including guidance to Stay At Home in novel Tier 4 areas and a reduced Christmas bubble period, from five days to just one on December 25th.

In an address to the nation Boris Johnson explained that the National Health Service was dealing with a new strain of the coronavirus that is proving to be much more infectious than Covid-19.

"The spread is being driven by the new variant of the virus," Johnson said in a hastily called press conference. "It appears to spread more easily and may be up to 70% more transmissable than the earlier strain."

Reactions from within hospitality were largely of disbelief, as the change occurred just days after the government's review of the tier system, which kept most regions under the same restrictions as they have been for the past month, and placed London and the South East into Tier 3 from Tier 2.

Leader of the opposition, Keir Starmer, has been highly critical of the change of position, saying: "Many people will be heartbroken by the news that their Christmas plans are being ripped up, and adding that he was "really frustrated" by the decision to make a U-Turn.

In an interview with Sky News, he said: "I raised this with the Prime Minister on Wednesday, and he dismissed that. He went on to tell people to have a 'merry little Christmas,' only three days later, to rip up their plans."

Meanwhile, an ever growing list of countries including Germany, France, Italy and Canada have banned all travel to and from the UK to avoid spreading the new strain of Covid.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon asked people to keep Christmas celebrations to a minimum, and tightened the Tier system so that most of the country will exist under Tier 4 from Boxing Day.


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Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Tanwen Dawn-Hiscox

Deputy Editor 21st December 2020

Tier 4 bites as Coronavirus rules tightened before Christmas