Covid: What are the new Tier 4 rules for London and south east England and how will it change Christmas?

Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has announced London and vast parts of south-east England will be put in a new stricter tier - Tier 4 - amid growing concern of a new virulent strain of coronavirus. From 00.01 on Sunday, tougher restrictions equivalent to a lockdown will be introduced in an effort to drive down infections, as the government urges people to stay at home - with changes to the previously announced relaxation of rules over the Christmas period.Here are the new rules for people living in Tier 4 areas and what it means for Christmas:

Which areas of England are being placed into Tier 4?

  • All 32 London boroughs and the City of London.

  • Buckinghamshire

  • Berkshire

  • Kent

  • Surrey (excluding Waverley)

  • Gosport, Havant, Portsmouth, Rother and Hastings

  • Bedford, Central Bedfordshire, Milton Keynes, Luton, Peterborough

  • Hertfordshire

  • Essex (excluding Colchester, Uttlesford and Tendring)

What are the main rules if I'm in a Tier 4 area?

People must stay at home, similar to the March and November lockdowns, except for where you have a specific purpose, or a ‘reasonable excuse', such as buying food or medicine, or to collect any items from a click-and-collect service.You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble, or to provide childcare for children aged 13 and under as part of a childcare bubble.You can meet one other person from another household in a public, outdoor space. People can go outdoors for unlimited exercise. What about Christmas?In Tier 4 areas, the five-day, three-household Christmas bubble is now cancelled.

People in Tier 4 should not mix with anyone outside their own household on Christmas Day, except support and childcare bubbles.

In Tier 1, 2 and 3 areas, the Christmas bubble period has now been reduced to just Christmas Day.

Chief Medical Officer for England Chris Whitty said in a news conference on Saturday that people in Tier 4 areas planning on leaving where they live before the rules change should "unpack your bags" and that they should stay on home.What can stay open in a Tier 4 area?The following must close from midnight on Sunday:

  • Non-essential retail

  • Indoor leisure, including gyms

  • Indoor entertainment, including cinemas

  • Personal care, including hairdressers and nail bars

Essential retail including supermarkets can stay open.

What about work and education?

People should work from home if they can, but can still travel to work if home working is not an option, for example on a construction site. Travelling for education is permitted.

I live in a Tier 1, 2 or 3 area - can I travel to a Tier 4 area?

People outside of Tier 4 areas are advised not to enter Tier 4, except for work, education and visiting a support or childcare bubble.

Can I travel out of a Tier 4 area?

People in Tier 4 must stay in their area, except for work, education or visiting a support or childcare bubble. Residents in Tier 4 must not stay overnight away from home.

In addition, people living in Tier 4 areas are advised not to travel internationally unless permitted.

How long will the Tier 4 restrictions be in place?

The rules be reviewed on 30 December.

The full list of Tier 4 rules are on the UK Government website.

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