Buckinghamshire to move into Tier 4 – the highest level – from midnight on 20th December
- London, the South East and parts of eastern England are moving into a new tier-four level of restrictions
- From midnight, residents in tier four must stay at home, with limited exceptions. Non-essential retail, gyms and personal care centres must close. Hospitality venues are already closed under tier three rules
- Household mixing indoors is banned – people can meet one another person from another household in an outdoor space only
- Travel into and out of tier four is not allowed, unless essential
- The “support bubbles” for adults living alone will continue
- The planned relaxation of Covid rules for Christmas has been scrapped for tier four areas
- For the rest of England, the rules allowing three households to meet will be reduced to Christmas Day only
- The new rules follow evidence that a new variant of the virus is spreading fast in the areas moved into tier four
- The new variant is responsible for an increase in hospitalisations, but there is no evidence to suggest it causes a more severe disease than the old variant or will be resistant to vaccines
Boris Johnson says he made the decision with a “heavy heart” but “when the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defence”
Prof Whitty says it is important people in tier four areas don’t travel so they don’t spread the variant to other parts of the UK
Sir Patrick says that while this is a “horrible moment, it is controllable and there is light at the end of the tunnel with the vaccinations having started”
The Tier 4 rules in full:
- You should stay at home except for specific reasons including education, work (if it can’t be done from home), exercise, medical needs, food and other essential shopping and to provide care.
- You should not mix socially indoors, or in a private garden, with anyone who is not part of your household or support bubble. (A support bubble is when a person living alone or with children under 18 joins another household).
- You can meet one other person at a time from another household in an outdoor public place (such as a park, a street, the countryside, an allotment or a children’s playground).
- Children can continue to move between homes if their parents are separated.
Going to work
You should work at home if possible.
If you have to return to your workplace, your employer must make arrangements for you to work safely.
Schools and nurseries
Primary and secondary schools can open, as can nurseries and childcare.
If a school has coronavirus cases, local health protection teams will advise what to do.
All pupils and staff in secondary schools (Year 7 and above) must wear face coverings in communal areas outside the classroom.
Pubs, restaurants, bars and cafes are closed, except for takeaways.
There is no limit on the time allowed for exercise outdoors or, for example, for sitting on a park bench or eating and drinking outside.
Leisure facilities such as gyms, swimming pools, tennis and basketball courts are all closed.
Entertainment venues including theatres, concert halls, cinemas, museums and galleries, are all closed.
Hotels, hostels, guest houses and campsites are closed except in certain circumstances (such as where they are someone’s the main residence, or where it is essential to stay there for work purposes).
All non-essential shops must close.
Close contact services, such as hairdressing or beauty salons must close.
You are not allowed to stay overnight away from your home, whether on holiday, in a second home, or with anyone, you do not live with or are in a support bubble with.
You are not allowed to travel outside your tier four area.
You are not allowed to travel abroad, unless for exceptional reasons.
Places of worship remain open for communal services.
You are not allowed to form a Christmas bubble with other households. Until the situation with local shops and businesses is clearer we strongly suggest you check with the owners before even considering a visit.
For more information and to access local resources please visit Coronavirus support and information | Buckinghamshire Council