Non-essential shops in all parts of England will be allowed to reopen when lockdown ends next month, the prime minister has announced.
Speaking in the Commons Boris Johnson revealed that the three-tiered regional measures will return from 2 December, but he warned that each tier will be toughened.
Announcing his 56 page Covid Winter Plan the Prime Minister said the Tier allocations will be reviewed every 14 days, and the regional approach will last until March next year.
However, regions will not find out which tier they are in until Thursday.
The allocation of tiers will be dependent on a number of factors, including each area’s case numbers, the R number – and the current and projected pressure on the local NHS.
New measures across the UK will include:
The rule of six is back in all tiers, but in tiers 2 and 3 cross household indoor mixing will still be banned.
Tier one will now mean that people should continue to work from home where possible
Tier two will now mean only pubs serving meals can open
The previous 10pm curfew for pubs, bars, and restaurants will be extended to 11pm, with last orders at 10pm.
Tier three will now mean hospitality will close except for delivery and takeaway and indoor entertainment venues must also close
The prime minister says he is “very sorry” for the “hardship” caused to business owners.
He says the tiers will now be a “uniform set of measures” with no local negotiations.
The Prime Minister warned that more areas of the country will fall into higher levels of restrictions than they were in previously, at least temporarily. But said that “by abiding to the tougher tier restrictions and the use of rapid turnaround tests, areas should also be able to move down the scale”
Commenting on holiday plans, the prime minister said: “I can’t say that Christmas will be normal this year but in a period of adversity time spent with loved ones is even more precious for people of all faiths and none.
“We all want some kind of Christmas, we need it, we certainly feel we deserve it.”
This has led to anger among the community with the ignorance of the Prime Minister who said we deserve Christmas. Did those who celebrated Eid or Diwali not deserve to observe those celebrations, or is just those celebrating Christmas deserve a bit of good news.
Boris Johnson went on to praise advances in testing, treatment, and vaccines and said the “scientific cavalry is in sight”, adding
“We know in our hearts that next year we will succeed.
“By the spring these advances should reduce the need for the restrictions we have endured in 2020 and make the whole
“For the first time since this wretched virus took hold, we can see a route out of the pandemic,”
He added, however, that “we are not there yet” and warned against “squandering our hard-won gains”.
Reviewing the plans for the tiered system the Labour Sir Kier Starmer said the PM’s proposals to return to the three-tier system is “risky” as it ended up in a national lockdown.
“The previous three-tier system did not work,” he says, adding, “to impose it runs the risk of not getting buy-in from local leaders and local communities, which is incredibly important”.
The Labour leader also urges Boris Johnson to make a decision on tiers as soon as possible.
Sir Keir Starmer tells the Commons: “I just can’t emphasise how important it is that these decisions are taken very quickly and very clearly so everybody can plan.
Reacting to the announcement by the Prime Minister Bradford Council Leader, Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe, said: “The Government has at least announced the next set of restrictions in advance. We wait to hear from Government which tier West Yorkshire will be in. Today Bradford district has the 15th highest infection rate in the country. We are working hard with residents and businesses to get these down as quickly as possible. Government will make the ultimate decision on which tier they consider the region should be in. We don’t expect to be in tier 1, and we don’t yet know the details of the parameters for tier 2 and tier 3.
“It is a relief that all retail will be allowed to open from the end of national restrictions, as long as they operate COVID safely, in what is the busiest trading month of the year for many of them. But I am very conscious that if the Bradford District is placed in Tier 3 next month the restriction on the hospitality industry that only allows a delivery or takeaway service could be devastating for the future prospects of many businesses and the supply chains that rely on them. We await full details from the Government about funding and support for our businesses and their employees.
“I’m pleased that we are seeing a reduction in infection rates locally and would like to thank everyone in the Bradford District for their efforts to observe the recent weeks of national restrictions. However, we know our hospitals are still under immense pressure, so we know we are not out of the woods yet and that there will be a need for sustained vigilance. Let’s keep going and make sure the infection rate keeps going down.”