All parts of East of England to be in tier two when lockdown ends

  • Video report by ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray (from the East of the Anglia region)

All parts of the East of England will be in tier two when the national lockdown ends on December 2.

It means that household mixing will still be banned indoors, but people can meet outdoors - providing they stick to the rule of six.

The news will come as a relief for places like Luton which currently has the highest infection rate in the Anglia region at 284.9 cases per 100,000.

However, parts of Suffolk, where the infection rate is much lower, were hoping that they were going to be placed in the medium tier which would have enabled people to mix indoors and pubs could have stayed open without having to also serve food.

Setting out the new tier arrangements in the Commons on Thursday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock referenced the fact his constituency of West Suffolk has the lowest rate of infection amongst over 60s in the entire country, but said it was still necessary to put the county in tier two to "get the virus further under control."

"Despite the fact that Suffolk overall has the lowest case rate outside of Cornwall and the Isle of Wight, our judgement, looking at all of the indicators and based on the public health advice, is that Suffolk needs to be in tier two to get the virus further under control," he said.

What you can and can't do in each tier

  • Medium: In the lowest level of restrictions, the rule of six will apply indoors and outdoors. Pubs, restaurants, hospitality and entertainment venues must close at 11pm - but last orders in pubs is at 10pm. Spectators will be able to attend sports events and live performances, but capacities will be capped at 4,000 people outdoors and 1,000 indoors.

  • High: In tier two you cannot socialise indoors with anyone not in your household or support bubble - but the rule of six applies outdoors. Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants, and hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with a substantial meal. Public events can still take place at this level - but the numbers outdoors will be restricted to 2,000 people. Like the medium tier, indoor performances will be restricted to 1,000 spectators.

  • Very High: In the areas with the tightest restrictions, you cannot meet socially indoors or outdoors with anyone not in your household or support bubble. Pubs, cafes and restaurants must close unless they have a takeaway service and all indoor hospitality venues must also close. Sports matches will continue to be staged behind closed doors.

  • All tiers: Shops, gyms and personal care services, like hairdressers, can all open - regardless of what tier an area is in. Communal worship, weddings and outdoor grassroots sports will resume. The rule of six will apply in outdoor public spaces like parks, beaches or public gardens.

Infection rates are also falling in South Cambridgeshire, and the MP for that constituency, Anthony Browne, tweeted that he was "disappointed" with the call to put the area in the high risk tier.

Most of the Anglia region was in the 'medium' tier before the start of the second lockdown, but the government warned earlier this week that most places would face tougher restrictions in the lead up to Christmas.

In fact, nationally, only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have remained in tier one.

Giving her reaction to Thursday's announcement, The MP for Luton North, Sarah Owen, admitted she was relieved the town had escaped being put into tier three but added that "the hard work isn't over for us yet."

  • Video report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper (from the West of the Anglia region)

I know people in Luton will be relieved that we haven't been moved up to tier three, but tier two means that things will still be tough for families and businesses as we head towards Christmas.

Sarah Owen, Luton North MP

"Life is still far from normal, so I will continue fighting for all the support I can get for Luton's workers, businesses and for people to live safely," she said.

"We need a fair deal to save aviation jobs, certainty for businesses to help them avoid laying off staff, and the proper financial support that was promised to councils to protect local services at the start of the pandemic.

"The hard work isn't over for us yet. We've seen in Liverpool that rapid, efficient mass testing on a local level - with proper buy-in from local decision makers - has dragged cases down and they've gone from tier three to tier two. We've seen that it works."

Lucy Hubber, Luton's Director for Public Health, added: “The new tier two restrictions and the number of rising cases in Luton mean we cannot relax for a moment. While there has been a levelling off in the infection rates over the last week due to the sacrifices people are making, our rates are still too high with large numbers of new positive cases being reported each day. This means we cannot relax for a moment. We need to continue to do all we can to get them lower."

With towns and cities across the East having now been put into tier two, it means that sports clubs will be able to start welcoming back a limited number of supporters to stadiums from the start of next month.

However, crowds will be limited to a maximum of 2,000 people for outdoor venues like Carrow Road, Portman Road and Franklin's Gardens.

The restrictions mean police forces will be able to take action if people meet indoors with others not from their household, and Norfolk Chief Constable Simon Bailey has called for everyone in the county to follow the rules:

He said: “As police, we don’t make the rules, we enforce them and I would urge each and every one of you to do the right thing and play your part in being risk aware, protecting yourselves, your loved ones and the county as a whole by sticking to the regulations.”

Meanwhile, Center Parcs has confirmed that its villages in Elveden Forest and Woburn Forest will be able to reopen from December 4.