Covid tiers come into effect in South East as lockdown lifts

Winchester shoppers on 2 December Credit: ITV News Meridian

Many shops, restaurants, gyms and pubs across the South East have reopened as the country comes out of a second national lockdown, and into a Tier system.

The majority of the Thames Valley and South East is now living under Tier 2 restrictions, while the Isle of Wight is in Tier 1.

However Kent, which was under Tier 1 restrictions before the month-long England lockdown, is in Tier 3 following a spike in coronavirus infections.

MPs voted on Tuesday to approve Boris Johnson's plan for regional measures. despite the prime minister facing furious opposition from Tories to the restrictions that put 99% of England under strict regulations.

Watch: Yesterday vs today shots of Winchester, Reading, Brighton and Southampton

In Winchester, shoppers were out in their droves on Wednesday morning.

One trader there, Peter Horne, says it is vital that businesses reopened in the run up to Christmas.

He says: "November and December is when we make all our money for the next year really, so it is vital that we get back and salvage something this year - because the next few weeks are vital."

ITV News Meridian's Kit Bradshaw reports from Kent as it enters the toughest restrictions under Tier 3

In Kent, the Ashford Designer Outlet car park was full as its many shops look to generate some much needed income. The outlet says it has done a lot to make shopping as safe as possible.

Ashford Designer Outlet Credit: ITV News Meridian

Center Manager Peter Corr says: "I'm hoping to see people interact with each other and interact with the stores and brands; the brands have put in a lot of effort to extra sanitizers. We have masks available for people who forget them. We have clean touch points. I think we've got a real opportunity to reassure people that it's safe to get back out and safe to get shopping again."

ITV News Meridian's Cary Johnston reports on the end of lockdown in the Thames Valley

What can you do in each tier from December 2? The new rules in England at a glance:

  • Tier 1: Up to six people can meet indoors or outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm.

  • Tier 2: No mixing indoors, apart from support bubbles. Up to six people can meet outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm - but alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal.

  • Tier 3: No mixing indoors. People can only meet outdoors in limited places such as parks and public gardens. Pubs and restaurants must close, with the exception of takeaway sales.

Watch: An explainer on what each tier means

In all tiers, non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers and personal care services can open. People in all tiers to work from home where they can do so. Full details on what you can do in each tier here.