New areas of England, including the rest of the south east, large parts of the midlands, north west, north east and south west will be added to tier 4, Matt Hancock said on Wednesday.
On Boxing Day, Sussex, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire, including Portsmouth and Southampton but excluding the New Forest, and the remainder of Essex, all moved to tier 4, meaning closure of non-essential shops and no indoor mixing.
But as coronavirus cases grow across the country, and hospitals struggle to cope with demand for beds, the government has decided to make more people subject to the harshest restrictions in a bid to curb the spread.
The new areas will be moved up at 00.01 on Thursday morning, New Year’s Eve.
England returned to a three-tier system of restrictions after the national lockdown ended on 2 December, this was extended to include a fourth tier shortly before Christmas. The system is being updated on a fortnightly basis (although new rules have been introduced sooner).
People can find out which alert level their area falls under using the postcode search available on the government website. You can also refer to a full list here. The NHS Covid 19 app will also be updated and show which local alert level applies in which area
How does a four-tier lockdown work?
England has once again been divided into different tiers based on local infection rates, which will dictate the severity of restrictions in each area.
The four alert levels span from the minimum level of restrictions applicable to all of England, including the rule of six and 11pm hospitality curfews, to the most strict measures reserved for the highest level.
Medium Tier (1)– People are expected to follow basic restrictions that are in place across the country, such as the rule of six, an 11pm hospitality curfew and social distancing.
High Tier (2)– All of the rules for medium tier, plus households are banned from mixing indoors but can still mix outside as long as there are six people or fewer.
Very High Tier (3)– People must not have any social contact with anyone outside their household (unless you are a support bubble) indoors but can still meet outdoors in parks and other public spaces in groups of six or fewer. Pubs and bars will be closed unless they can operate as delivery or takeaway services.
Stay at Home Tier (4) - People must stay at home and not have any social contact with anyone outside their household (unless you are in a support bubble) but can still meet one person from another household outdoors. Non-essential retail will close.
Click here for the full list of restrictions in each tier.
How will I know what tier my local area falls under?
If you want to find out what tier your local area falls under there are a number of ways you can check.
There is a postcode search available on the government website, while the NHS Covid 19 app will show which local alert level applies in which area.
You could also refer to a full list of which areas have been allocated to which tiers here.
The government is also providing additional guidance to those who are for clinically, extremely vulnerable.
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