Bristol will not level down (or up) today.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced today that a number of areas across England would be moving into tiers with stricter restrictions, however Bristol will remain in the second highest level of restrictions, Tier 3.
Bristol will be joined by a number of south-west areas including Bath and North East Somerset, who will also be moving into Tier 3. The new tiering system will take effect from 00.01 GMT on Thursday 31st December. Plus, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset will also remain in Tier 3 but Gloucestershire and Somerset will move into Tier 4 from tomorrow.
Speaking in the House of Commons this afternoon, the Health Secretary said it was “absolutely necessary” that these tier changes were implemented, adding: “Today is a day really of mixed emotions. The joy of the vaccine, the sorrow of deaths and suffering this virus has caused. The determination we must stick at it.”
Attempting the soften the blow to millions this afternoon, the Health Secretary said he believes “there will be brighter future ahead”, and that the vaccine could “save us”.
The Shadow Health Secretary added that “the virus is out of control” and that “In England, there are now more patients in hospital. Hospitals are close to or at surge capacity.”
The news comes as health regulators approved the second coronavirus vaccine, produced by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, which is expected to be rolled out from next week.
Here’s a reminder of the key rules for tier 3 areas:
- No mixing with other households indoors (apart from support bubbles).
- You can meet with up to six people in some outdoor spaces, e.g. parks.
- Pubs and restaurants will be permitted to offer takeaway and delivery only.
- Outdoor grassroots sport and exercise classes are allowed.
- Gyms are allowed to reopen, regardless of tier (though indoor classes or group activities can’t go ahead).
- Salons (hairdressers, tattoo studios, etc) will be open.
- Non-essential shops will reopen all over the country.
- Weddings can go ahead with up to 15 guests, with no reception. Funerals can go ahead with up to 30 guests.
- You should avoid travelling out of the area, except for things like work, education and medical visits.