Restrictions tighten as parts of the South move into tiers 3 and 4

Video report by ITV News Meridian's Mary Stanley


Thousands of people across the South are now under the toughest coronavirus restrictions following the government's announcement on Wednesday (30 December).

Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole are now under Tier 4 rules, along with the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and Swindon.

Meanwhile the rest of Dorset and Wiltshire enter Tier 3 restrictions.

Under Tier 4 rules, non-essential retail, personal services and leisure facilities must all close.



  • Isle of Wight: From Tier 1 to Tier 4 within a week

The movement of the Isle of Wight into Tier 4 closes a difficult week for the Island.

On Boxing Day the region was moved into Tier 3, and Tier 4 restrictions coming into force on New Year's Eve.

Isle of Wight Council leader Dave Stewart said that “all of the good work we have been doing to protect our island community from this virus seems to have been undone in a very short space of time”.

Rates of Covid-19 infection on the island have risen dramatically during December.


31

cases per 100,00 on the Isle of Wight in week ending 28 November

212.3

cases per 100,000 on Isle of Wight in week ending 25 December


Mr Stewart said: “We cannot let our guard down for a moment.

“Sadly it seems that some in our community have forgotten this, but I hope that this change of tiers will serve as a reminder to them not to act selfishly and follow the guidance.

“You may gamble that you might only get a mild infection, but are you willing to gamble you won’t pass it on to the person you are sitting beside, and that they will not get the infection in a far more serious way?

“We all have high hopes for 2021, with the vaccine being rolled out and the promise of some normality returning; let’s bring the New Year in sensibly and positively, by doing the right thing, protecting our community, friends, families, neighbours and most vulnerable people on the island by staying at home one more time.”

The island’s MP Bob Seely said: “Clearly, moving to Tier 4 is disappointing, but due to the new and more infectious strain of Covid, there is little alternative, especially with pressures on St Mary’s increasing.

“The likelihood is that the island will be under heavy restrictions until at least the end of February.



  • Measures in Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole "difficult for many"

As with the rest of Dorset, the BCP council area was in Tier 2 as of Boxing Day.

But rising case numbers, particularly among the over 60s, is putting "increased pressure on already stretched NHS services, the county's public health director said.

Sam Crowe said: “It is essential, now more than ever that everyone follows the rules for Tier 4 to help drive infections down.

"Until the vaccine is rolled out wider, we must do all we can to suppress the virus by staying at home unless for essential journeys."

Cllr Nicola Greene, Portfolio Holder for COVID resilience and Public Health, said that the change in tiers would be "difficult for many", but that residents "must do their bit."

"The more we do so, the greater chance we have of reducing the R rate, meaning less people catching coronavirus, less people becoming seriously ill, and fewer people dying from its effects."

Cllr Greene added that support remained available for businesses affected by the movement.


Meanwhile a shop owner in Henley says moving to Tier 4 has been a disappointing time as she has pre-ordered summer stock ready to go, but that having an online presence has helped the businesses during tougher coronavirus rules.

  • Sandie Harrow, owner of Stocks