London, Essex and Hertfordshire are to move up into Tier 3, after new data revealed that cases are increasing in every borough.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed the move in the Commons this afternoon.
The move comes after London recorded almost 24,000 Covid-19 cases in a week, triggering a new second wave infection peak.
The Health Secretary described the new move as “absolutely essential, not just to keep people safe but because we’ve seen that early action can help prevent more damaging and longer-lasting problems later”.
Public Health England’s weekly surveillance report suggests there were 191 new cases per 100,000 Londoners in the week to 6 December, up from 158 in the week prior. Rates are also rising in East England and the South East.
The three tier system is currently being updated on a fortnightly basis, with the next announcement about which regions will fall under which tier, due to take place on Wednesday 16 December.
In Tier 3:
- people must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
- people must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’
- hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.
- accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training
- indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said if the capital is moved from Tier 2 into Tier 3 the Government must provide extra support.
He said enforcing the toughest tier across the capital would be a “blunt instrument”, arguing that the rise in cases was not linked to hospitality venues but instead due to a significant increase in schools and colleges.
The Mayor said should the capital be moved into Tier 3 then it would be “catastrophic” for the hospitality sector .
Urging the Government to provide “additional financial support,” the Mayor said it would help businesses avoid “going bust.”
He said not only had they had “an awful nine months,” they had also “spent a fortune” ensuring their premises were Covid-safe, adding that without support these businesses could close permanently without support.
The Mayor branded these industries “crucial for our economic recovery.”
Nick Mackenzie, CEO at Greene King, said: “Once again the government has acknowledged hospitality is bearing the brunt of new restrictions to help control the virus but with no extra support to help businesses survive.
“Whilst we understand the need to manage the rate of infections, there is no getting away from the fact that moving London and other areas into Tier 3 the week before Christmas will further cripple the pub sector, which is already on its knees and impact on the livelihoods of our team members and tenants.
“Pubs in London have had an incredibly difficult time this year. Without workers and tourists, footfall has been exceptionally low, even when restrictions were lifted. Two lockdowns and a long list of restrictive policies have left the hospitality sector in dire straits. This week would normally be a bumper week for pubs in the capital, instead, many will have to close their doors yet again, despite a significant amount of investment to ensure safe socialising. What we need from the government now is further support to help hospitality businesses get through to the spring, so that can come out the other side of this crisis and play an important role in helping the economy to bounce back.”