As well as Hampshire – except the New Forest – the counties of Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire all moved into tier four today. Tier four was created in response to a quicker-spreading variant of Covid-19 discovered in the UK. Essex, Surrey and London are all tier four too.
Despite the vaccination roll-out, it has been ruled too risky to allow the virus to spread as the NHS is under severe pressure.
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In Tier four, no household mixing is allowed, though one person can meet one other person outside in a public space, while all non-essential shops and businesses must close, including personal care and indoor entertainment.
Nobody can enter or leave tier four areas and residents must not stay overnight away from home.
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Meanwhile, Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset including the North Somerset council area, Swindon, the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Northamptonshire plus Cheshire and Warrington are moving up to tier three.
In the ‘very high’ alert level, no household mixing is allowed indoors or outdoors, except in parks and public gardens.
All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries, and accommodation and entertainment venues must shut.
Cornwall and Herefordshire are moving up to tier two from today, where the main restrictions are no household mixing allowed indoors, but the ‘rule of six’ applies outdoors.
Hospitality venues must close unless serving substantial meals with drinks, while large sport and entertainment events are allowed but with a very limited audience.
The Isles of Scilly, which has a population of just 2,000 people, will be the only area of England remaining in tier one.
In the lowest alert level, the ‘rule of six’ must apply indoors and outdoors, while there must be table service in hospitality venues, with last orders at 10pm and closing time at 11pm.