Nearly four million people in Anglia region now under Tier 3 restrictions

  • You can watch Graham Stothard's report on the region preparing to enter Tier 3 here

A total of 3.75 million people in the Anglia region are in the tightest coronavirus restrictions from this weekend.

PeterboroughMilton KeynesBedfordshire and Hertfordshire will join Essex in Tier 3. Essex and South Hertfordshire started in Tier 3 restrictions on Wednesday.

The move comes as coronavirus cases continue to soar in many parts of the Anglia region with more than 17,000 new positive tests recorded in the area last week.

Under Tier 3 conditions pubs and restaurants can only offer takeaway or delivery services and indoor entertainment venues are shut.

For staff at places like Go Bowling in Dunstable it means they have no idea when they'll be able to open again.

We've invested close to £30,000 to make this place Covid-secure. We haven't had a single issue with covid as far as we know, not with any of our staff or any of our customers, and now we're being told to close. I got two children 6 godchildren in this country, and I fear for their future. You're a young guy as as well and you guys will have to pick up the tab

Ollie Sahlgren Owner, Go Bowling

Wyboston lakes is further north but still in Bedfordshire. Or most of it is at least. Part of their land actually sits in tier 2 Cambridgeshire. 

We anticipated this was going to happen so we took steps in advance of the announcement. We've already closed the hotel and spa into the new year on the basis that trade was going to be suppressed in the winter and with the restrictions in the other counties that was going to reduce what was coming into the resort as a whole.

Steven Jones Managing Director, Wyboston Lakes Resort

It's not just commercial interests affected. While most of Cambridgeshire is in tier two, Peterborough is being was put into the toughest restrictions. Difficult for the cathedral at a time of year when for many, faith is so important 

We're going to have to cancel some of the events that we had planned to have, but we can still go ahead with worship so we are looking forward to celebrating Christmas, having some of our main services all be it with all the restrictions and so on that we need to have to keep people safe

The Very Rev Christopher Dalliston, Dean of Peterborough

There'll be some praying too around the corner at Coyotes Bar and Grill. The owners took a leap of faith when they decided to open in October. It means at the moment they aren't entitled to any financial help, including the furlough scheme. It was a tough job telling his employees.

But there's good reason for caution. Across the East there are now more people hospitalised with Covid-19 than there ever has been. Around 1700 are currently receiving treatment.

In Milton Keynes hospital a quarter of the beds are given over to caring for Covid patients. Vicky Head's the area's director of public health. 

Vicky Head, Director of Public Health, Milton Keynes Credit: ITV News Anglia

We have seen a really really steep rise in infections over the last few weeks. it started going up around the time we came out of the recent lockdown, so across all three local authorities we had around 2200 cases in the week 13th December and that shows how fast things are changing 

VIcky Head, Director of Public Health, MK

And even once this torrid year is over, businesses are struggling to plan for the new one. Not knowing whether new restrictions will strike, or not.

MPs from the Anglia region have expressed their unease on the Tory benches about the Government's response to the pandemic.

Tory MP Stephen McPartland said it was "ridiculous" and "totally unacceptable" that his Stevenage seat was "being dragged into Tier 3".

The latest areas to join Tier 3 come after London and parts of Hertfordshire and Essex were placed under the top level of restrictions earlier this week.

Covid-19 case rates are rising in all but one region of England, according to the latest weekly surveillance report from Public Health England.

In eastern England the rate has risen from 152.9 to 249.1 per 100,000.