Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that regions across the south would be moving into tier four over the weekend, forcing many to change their plans for the festive period, with no ‘Christmas bubbles’ allowed for those under the strictest measures.
The rules for venues in tier four are broadly the same as in those in tier three. Hospitality businesses such as pubs, restaurants, cafés, bars and social clubs, must close with the exception of providing food and drink for takeaway (until 11pm), click and collect, drive through or delivery services.
Accommodation such as hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites - except for specific circumstances, such as where these act as someone’s main residence where the person cannot return home, for providing accommodation or support to the homeless or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes - must also remain closed.
However, in the Government guidance, it also states off-licences can remain open.
The areas that have moved from tier three to tier four are:
- Surrey (excluding Waverley)
- All 32 boroughs of London and the City of London
- Central Bedford
- Milton Keynes,
- Essex (excluluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)
Health secretary Matt Hancock then announced more areas will be placed into tier four from one minute past midnight on Boxing Day (Saturday 26 December), after another new strain of coronavirus was found. These areas are:
- Brighton and Hove
- remaining parts of East Sussex not already in tier four (Eastbourne Borough Council, Lewes District Council and Wealden District Council)
- remaining parts of Essex not already in tier four (Colchester Borough, Tendring District, and Uttlesford District Councils)
- Hampshire (Basingstoke and Deane Borough, East Hampshire District, Eastleigh Borough, Fareham Borough, Hart District, Rushmoor Borough, Test Valley Borough, Winchester City Councils)
- Waverley Borough
- West Sussex
Tiers will be reviewed on 30 December, as part of the wider review of all restrictions.
On the tier four announcement, Night-Time Industries Association chief executive Michael Kill said: “The night-time economy and hospitality sector has lost all confidence in the Government strategy against Covid-19.
"The unrelenting closing and reopening of businesses is costing owners hundreds of thousands of pounds, and coupled with the erratic decision-making around restrictions, is rapidly destroying the ability of the sector to bounce back."
Insubstantial support measures
Kill added: “Thousands of businesses and employees have supported the Government's public health campaign against Covid-19, creating safe, regulated environments for people to socialise. This financial burden and commitment has been recognised only in lip-service, with insubstantial support measures to repay confidence in the sector.”
“There is disbelief and anger amongst the sector that the Government did not foresee the impact of transmissions by keeping retail, education and other sectors open during such a delicate period within the crisis.”
“If the Prime Minister wants the hardest-hit sectors to continue to support the Government in its public health strategy against Covid-19, then he must compensate the businesses fully for their losses, and deliver a robust exit strategy to regain industry confidence.”