Tough coronavirus restrictions to be introduced across much of England

By David Hughes, PA Political Editor
·2-min read

Much of England is facing tough coronavirus restrictions under the new post-lockdown tier arrangements , with bans on households mixing indoors and curbs on pubs and restaurants.

An online postcode checker went live before the official announcement to Parliament and indicated that Manchester, Birmingham, Hull, Newcastle, Bristol and Kent were among the places facing the toughest restrictions, while London and Liverpool are being placed in Tier 2.

The new system will apply from December 2 after England’s blanket lockdown ends and restrictions have been tightened after Government scientific advisers warned that previous measures had not been effective enough.

The website experienced “technical difficulties” as people rushed to see what curbs they would face.

Coronavirus – Thu Nov 26, 2020
Screengrab taken at 11.34am of the postcode checker on the Government website (PA)

Only a few of the least affected areas are expected to be placed in Tier 1, where restrictions are limited.

In this tier, the rule of six applies indoors and outdoors, people are urged to work from home if they can and pubs are limited to table service.

Tier 2 restrictions mean a ban on households mixing indoors and pubs, and restaurants only able to sell alcohol with a “substantial meal”.

Tier 3 measures mean a ban on households mixing, except in limited circumstances such as parks.

Bars and restaurants will be limited to takeaway or delivery services and people will be advised to avoid travelling outside their area.

Covid-19 case rates in Liverpool
(PA Graphics)

The tiers will be reviewed on December 16 but experts have warned that people must continue to face restrictions ahead of the UK-wide easing of measures over Christmas.

The Department of Health said decisions on tier levels were based on a number of factors, including case detection rates in all age groups and, in particular, amongst the over 60s.

How quickly case rates are rising or falling and the impact on local NHS services are also taken into account.

The final decisions were made by the Prime Minister at the Covid Operations Committee.

Mr Johnson, whose coronavirus self-isolation period has ended, is expected to hold a press conference later.

In Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon has said rules allowing people to meet up at Christmas are likely to be tightened when they are set out on Thursday.

The Welsh Cabinet is also expected to meet to decide whether further restrictions similar to the English tier system will be needed before Christmas, although a decision is not likely to be announced until Friday.

In Northern Ireland, tougher lockdown restrictions will be introduced from Friday with pubs, restaurants, non-essential retail and close contact services to close for a fortnight.