BORIS Johnson introduced a new, tougher fourth tier of coronavirus restrictions for England on December 20.
On December 30, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told millions more Brits they must go into the toughest lockdown in response to a new Covid strain.
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What is Tier 4?
With coronavirus cases continuing to rise, Tier 4 was introduced to help curb this growing rate across certain areas of the country.
At first, the south-east and London were put into the toughest tier – but now three-quarters of the country have found themselves in this bracket.
Tier 4 is, in essence, a lockdown.
What are the Tier 4 rules?
You must stay at home and only leave for a specific purpose or if you have a "reasonable excuse".
This includes going to work if it cannot be done from home, shopping for essentials such as food and medicine, attending education or training, using registered childcare, outdoor exercise and for medical reasons.
The rules are strict: you cannot meet other people indoors unless you live with them or they are part of your existing support bubble.
Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household in a public place.
Support and childcare bubbles can continue in Tier 4 areas.
Early years settings and childminders can remain open as normal, while nannies are also allowed to carry on providing services, including in the home.
You are allowed to take unlimited exercise alone, or in a public outdoor place with your household, support bubble, or one other person.
But indoor leisure and sports facilities, including gyms, must close.
Non-essential retail must close, including clothing and homeware stores, betting shops, tailors, tobacco and vape shops, electronic goods and mobile phone shops.
But, these stores can continue to operate click-and-collect systems, if goods are pre-ordered and collected off the premises, and delivery services.
Cafes, restaurants, pubs, bars and social clubs are having to stay closed under Tier 4.
They can, however, provide food and drink through takeaways until 11pm, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery.
Elsewhere, entertainment venues such as theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums, galleries and casinos also must shut their doors.
What areas are in Tier 4?
London and the South East are among those to be affected by the Tier 4 restrictions as the new Covid strain decimates the country.
The mutant variant is said to be 70 per cent more contagious than the current strain.
Tier 4 lockdown rules are already in place in the following areas:
- Kent and Medway
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- The boroughs of Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings
- All 32 London boroughs and the city of London.
- Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough
- Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
On December 23, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a raft of other areas of England would also be joining Tier 4 from Boxing Day.
Tier 4 measures introduced on Boxing Day in the following areas:
- Those parts of Essex not yet in Tier 4
- Waverley in Surrey
- Hampshire (except New Forest)
And on December 30, Matt Hancock moved three-quarters of the country into Tier 4.
Tier 4 measures introduced on New Year's Eve in the following areas:
- Leicester City
- Leicestershire (Oadby and Wigston, Harborough, Hinckley and Bosworth, Blaby, Charnwood, North West Leicestershire, Melton)
- Lincolnshire (City of Lincoln, Boston, South Kesteven, West Lindsey, North Kesteven, South Holland, East Lindsey)
- Northamptonshire (Corby, Daventry, East Northamptonshire, Kettering, Northampton, South Northamptonshire, Wellingborough)
- Derby and Derbyshire (Derby, Amber Valley, South Derbyshire, Bolsover, North East Derbyshire, Chesterfield, Erewash, Derbyshire Dales, High Peak)
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (Gedling, Ashfield, Mansfield, Rushcliffe, Bassetlaw, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire, Broxtowe)
- Birmingham and Black Country (Dudley, Birmingham, Sandwell, Walsall, Wolverhampton)
- Warwickshire (Rugby, Nuneaton and Bedworth, Warwick, North Warwickshire, Stratford-upon-Avon)
- Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent (East Staffordshire, Stafford, South Staffordshire, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Staffordshire Moorlands, Newcastle under Lyme, Tamworth, Stoke-on-Trent)
- Lancashire (Burnley, Pendle, Blackburn with Darwen, Ribble Valley, Blackpool, Preston, Hyndburn, Chorley, Fylde, Lancaster, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire, Wyre)
- Cheshire and Warrington (Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington)
- Cumbria (Eden, Carlisle, South Lakeland, Barrow-in-Furness, Copeland, Allerdale)
- Greater Manchester (Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, Wigan)
- Tees Valley (Darlington, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Redcar and Cleveland, Stockton-on-Tees )
- North East (County Durham, Gateshead, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, North Tyneside, Northumberland, South Tyneside, Sunderland)
- Gloucestershire (Gloucester, Forest of Dean, Cotswolds, Tewkesbury, Stroud, Cheltenham)
- Somerset Council (Mendip, Sedgemoor, Somerset West and Taunton, South Somerset)
- Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole
- Isle of Wight
- New Forest
How rules differ between Tier 3 and 4
- In Tier 4, you must stay at home and should only leave to travel for education, childcare or exercise. You can only meet one other person outdoors.
- Brits in Tier 3 can leave the house as they choose, provided they follow social distancing guidelines. Households are banned from mixing indoors, but you can meet up to six people in public outdoor spaces such as parks.
- All shops, including non-essential retail such as toys, clothing and homeware, remain open in Tier 3 areas but are shut in Tier 4.
- Hairdressers, barbers, beauty salons and all entertainment venues are open in Tier 3, providing they operate under Covid safety guidelines.
- Gyms are open in Tier 3, but only for individual exercise with classes halted. They must remain shut in Tier 4.
- Pubs, bars and restaurants remain closed in both tiers but can offer delivery or take-out options.
- In Tier 4, travel for some reasons – including education, childcare or an emergency – will be allowed.
- People in Tier 4 and Tier 3 can still go to work – but only as a last resort if they cannot work from home.
When will Tier 4 lockdown end?
The Tier 4 measures will be reviewed on January 13.
This is two weeks after the last review on December 30.
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