More areas could move up into Tier 4, minister hints

By Joe Lutrario contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants and pubs Tier 4 Coronavirus restrictions

Related tags: Coronavirus tier system, Coronavirus, Casual dining, Fine dining, Pubs

Ministers are meeting this morning to decide whether more areas of England will be placed into Tier 4.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, cabinet minister Robert Jenrick said the Government would make a judgement on whether the tiers system was strong enough but that was no “immediate plan” to change rules before Christmas.

Earlier this week, the UK’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said that measures need to increased in some places, and not reduced. 

With hospitality businesses unable to offer eat-in but able to offer takeaway in both Tier 3 and Tier 4 makes no difference to the restrictions, but it does change customer behavior and put them further away from being in Tier 2.

Jenrick did not mention whether Tier 1 or Tier 2 areas could move to higher, more restrictive Tiers but it seems likely this is a possibility. 

He said the number of cases was rising at the ‘new’ mutant variant that spreads faster is a “game changer”.

“The variant is spreading to other parts of the country, so we will see whether it’s necessary to do more and make sure that the tiered system is sufficiently robust for the new circumstances,” he said.

“The tiered system was designed before we knew the full ferocity of the new variant, and so we do have to make sure it’s sufficiently robust to be able to withstand this and to stop cases just rising at the very worrying levels they are now in parts of the country.”

Last week it was announced that London and large parts of South East England would move into Tier 4, which has meant millions of people will not be able to mix with anyone outside their household on Christmas Day.

Hospitality venues in Wales have had to close again over the weekend under the country’s ‘Level 4’ Coronavirus restrictions, with businesses in Scotland set to follow suit on Boxing Day.

Pubs and restaurants in Wales were ordered to close on Saturday (19 December) after lockdown measures initially scheduled to be implemented on Christmas Day were brought forward.

Hospitality venues in Scotland have been ordered to close from one minute past midnight on Boxing Day morning for three weeks as the country enters the highest level of its own five-tier system.

Operators in Wales were given just a few hours notice that they would have to close. 

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