The entire country is now under a harsher three tier system, however, there is still no sign of a fourth tier in Boris Johnson’s Covid-19 winter plan. Instead, the current three-tier system which will stay in place until spring.
The new three-tier system then passed through the House of Commons on the evening of Dec 1 with 291 votes to 78. However, despite the majority swinging in favour of the Prime Minister’s plans, 55 Tory rebels voted against the measures. This was the biggest rebellion against Mr Johnson to date.
Vast swathes of the country entered Tier 3, with stricter restrictions meaning pubs and restaurants must close in these areas except for takeaways.
Even more have entered the scrictest tier following Mr Hancock’s announcement in the House of Commons today, Dec 17.
The following will move into Tier 3: Bedfordshire; Buckinghamshire; Berkshire; Peterborough; Hertfordshire; Surrey – except for Waverley; Hastings and Rother; Portsmouth; Gosport; and Havant.
During the Health Secretary’s announcement, he urged the public to be cautious, especially during the winter months.
Mr Hancock said,”We’ve come so far, we mustn’t blow it now.”
However, Bristol and North Somerset will move down a tier to Tier 2 on Saturday. Herefordshire will also move out of Tier 2 into Tier 1, in light of a case rate of 45 per 100,000.
Use our postcode tool to find out which Tier your area is in.
After Scotland introduced a fourth level across 11 of its local authority areas, there was speculation we would see a fourth tier imposed in some high-risk areas in England.
The Prime Minister’s announcement means Christmas is safe from the introduction of a new tier, but given the volatile nature of infection rates nothing is off the table, as the Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC’s Breakfast last month.
Tier allocations will be reviewed every 14 days, with the Government keeping a close eye on infection rates, particularly in the over 60’s.
Here’s what we know about ‘Tier 4’ restrictions if the measure was ever put in place after Christmas.
Why might we need a Tier 4?
In August, the Department for Education published a four-tier structure, in which all educational institutions – including primary schools and early years settings – would be shut.
On October 26, Health Secretary Matt Hancock told BBC Breakfast: “We’ve always said that we take nothing off the table. Having said that, we have seen the rise in the number of cases has slowed a bit.
“The problem is it’s still going up, and while it’s still going up we’ve got to act to get it under control. We rule nothing out, but at the moment the three-tier system is what we’re working to and it’s effective in slowing the growth of this virus but it hasn’t brought this curve to a halt.”
Government scientists including Prof Chris Whitty (see video below), the chief medical officer, warned that the “base line” Tier 3 restrictions were unlikely to be enough to bring down the R rate alone.