Tougher restrictions come in for many parts of England this weekend

Over two thirds of England’s population will be living under Tier 3 restrictions from Saturday (19 Dec), as concerns continue to grow around the spread of Covid-19 in the lead up to Christmas.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that he regretted having to impose these restrictions, but that “there is a strong view right across government that these actions are necessary.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer told reporters that he felt that the tier system was “just not strong enough to control the virus.”

Which areas are moving into Tier 3?

It has been announced that the following locations will move into Tier 3:

  • Bedfordshire
  • Buckinghamshire
  • Berkshire
  • Peterborough
  • Hertfordshire
  • Surrey (with the exception of Waverley)
  • Hastings and Rother (on the Kent border of East Sussex)
  • Portsmouth
  • Gosport
  • Havant

These changes mean that a total of 38 million people will be living under Tier 3 rules from Saturday. The changes will take effect from one minute past midnight on Saturday morning.

Hancock said in a statement, “I know that Tier 3 measures are tough.

“But the best way for everyone to get out of them is to pull together: not just to follow the rules, but do everything they possibly can to stop the spread of the virus.

“Where we’ve seen places get the virus under control and come out of Tier 3, it’s where everyone has taken responsibility on themselves to make that happen.”

What are the rules under Tier 3?

Tier 3 - also known as ‘Very High Alert’ - has the toughest restrictions out of the three tiers.

Under Tier 3, there is no mixing of households indoors, or in most outdoor spaces, apart from support bubbles. There is a maximum of six in some outdoor public spaces, like parks and public gardens.

Hospitality venues are closed, with the exception of sales via takeaway, drive through or delivery. Retail will remain open.

Members of the public are encouraged to work from home where they can, and the likes of early years settings, school, colleges and universities will remain open. Childcare, other supervised activity for children, and childcare bubbles are also permitted.

Indoor leisure is still allowed, however group activities and classes should not take place. Accommodation like hotels and bed and breakfasts will be closed, with limited exception.

Personal care businesses, like hairdressers, will remain open.

Overnight stays are advised against, other than with a household or support bubble.

15 guests are permitted for weddings, civil partnerships and wakes, 30 guests are permitted for funerals. Wedding receptions are not permitted.

Indoor entertainment venues, such as cinemas, are closed. Places of worship will remain open, but those using them cannot interact with anyone outside their household or support bubble.

The public is asked to avoid travelling outside of their area, other than where necessary, such as for work or education purposes. People are asked to reduce the number of journeys where possible, and to also avoid car sharing with those outside of your household or support bubble.

For a more detailed explanation of Tier 3 rules, you can read more on the government website.