The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has placed much of London and the South East into Tier 4 lockdown from 00:00 GMT on Sunday, December 20.
Under the Tier 4 restrictions, travel and mixing between different households will be banned. The “stay at home” order dramatically impacts plans for Christmas mixing, in response to a new fast-spreading strain of the coronavirus.
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The areas under Tier 4 restrictions cover all 32 London boroughs and the city of London, Kent, most of Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring), most of Surrey (excluding Waverley), Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, parts of Bedfordshire, Gosport, Portsmouth and Peterborough.
Tier 4 rules include:
- No Christmas bubbles
- Travel ban enforced by law
- No entry/exit from Tier 4 area
- No overnight stays outside the home
- Non-essential shops and hairdressers are closed
- One person can meet one other person outdoors
- International travel banned (unless for work)
Only households living outside Tier 4 in England will be allowed to mix at Christmas, on December 25 only. Long-distance travel has been discouraged. This comes just days after ministers reaffirmed the festive bubble plan for Christmas.
“It is with a very heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned” said Boris Johnson.
Nicola Sturgeon has introduced a travel ban in Scotland to other parts of the UK and announced a 3-week lockdown from Boxing Day.
Wales has gone into lockdown as of 00:00 GMT on Sunday, December 20 and Northern Ireland will start a 6-week lockdown from December 26.