Ministers are considering a Level 4 move after Christmas of shutting down the commuting of prohibited, non-essential businesses and closing schools for an extra week as officials look for new plans to keep Covid cases under control.
When Boris Johnson gave the go-ahead last night to plunging large swaths of England's home countries into Tier 3 – bringing the number of people living under the toughest restrictions to 38 million – government officials said even stricter measures could be on the way .
The areas in the south of England will come to London in the highest tier tomorrow, while Manchester and the North East have been told they could not move a tier down despite fewer cases.
Rob Butler, MP for Tory, said yesterday's move heralded "the most bleak winter, especially for the hospitality industry."
Amid growing talk of a post-Christmas lockdown, the Prime Minister also warned last night that a no-deal Brexit was "very likely" unless the EU gave the trade talks the reason.
Despite yesterday's announcement of increasing restrictions on large parts of the country, experts fear the decisions will not be enough to avert more draconian measures as Covid is on the rise nationally.
A Whitehall official told the Times last night, “There are reasons to go further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.
& # 39; (That could mean) closure of non-essential retail orders that are staying at home. This would have to be actively taken into account when talking to the local authority. "
The Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (SAGE) previously approved a "Tier 4" to tighten restrictions on fighting the virus.
Meanwhile, Wales will be under lockdown again on December 28th and Northern Ireland backed plans for a six-week shutdown from Boxing Day last night.
Scottish leaders said tighter virus restrictions after Christmas – including a lockdown – were a "possibility".
Teachers were told last night to help with the mass exam of millions of secondary school students – while on other developments:
- Rishi Sunak extended the £ 5 billion-a-month vacation program to May amid fears that strict virus restrictions could extend beyond Easter.
- Fears of a third wave, which increased as daily Covid cases, rose again to 35,383, despite 11,000 from Wales who were not recorded earlier this month due to a computer glitch.
- London became the new Covid hotspot with 319.3 cases per 100,000 population in the week ending December 13, an increase of more than 50 percent from 199.9 the previous week.
- Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer, warned that the combined effects of Covid and Lockdowns would have "significant" effects on health, education and poverty for years.
- Mr Johnson warned that the Brexit talks were now in a "serious situation" after a phone call with the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen – although fishing rights now seem to be the only major sticking point;
- Priti Patel urged families to cancel long haul Christmas plans as Labor called for the five-day festive amnesty to be canceled altogether.
- Matt Hancock said the situation in Kent had gotten so bad that everyone in the county should now "act like they have the virus and are trying not to pass it on to others".
- Former Secretary Tobias Ellwood apologized after Downing Street criticized him for violating Covid restrictions by speaking to 27 attendees at a Christmas dinner.
The third stage restrictions were extended yesterday so that two-thirds of homes in England – and 38 million people – can now expect to face the toughest of conditions into the New Year. Pictured: Boris Johnson spoke to Ursula von der Leyen yesterday
Swathes of the Home Counties will come to London tomorrow in the highest tier, while Manchester and the North East have been told they could not go down a class despite fewer cases. Pictured: a map of the plains of England
More positive news came when Boris Johnson said no deal Brexit was likely unless the EU gave the trade talks the reason. In the picture: EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen
A Downing Street spokesman refused to rule out a third lockdown, simply saying, "We will of course keep the latest data and trends posted." Pictured: trucks in Dover harbor
Only 3 cases – but hit by the hardest curbs
A rural pub had to cancel hundreds of bookings – despite only a handful of Covid-19 cases in the region.
Aldbury, Hertfordshire landlord The Greyhound is set to lose up to £ 11,000 tomorrow with Tier 3 restrictions on one of the busiest weekends of the year.
Tim O & # 39; Gorman, 59, said he had to throw away groceries bought in preparation again – despite having spent hundreds of pounds to make the pub Covid-safe.
Aldbury, Hertfordshire landlord The Greyhound is set to lose up to £ 11,000 tomorrow with Tier 3 restrictions on one of the busiest weekends of the year
He said he knew of only two residents of the chocolate box village in the middle of the National Trust's 5,000-acre Ashridge Estate who tested positive for Covid-19, even though it draws hundreds of visitors on weekends.
In the seven days leading up to December 11, only three cases were recorded in Tring East, Wiggington and Aldbury.
Anthony Kent, 51, said it was "absolutely insane" that the village went into Stage Three for a few days over the weekend and then went straight to the Christmas break.
He said there would now be more incentives for a "big breakout" over Christmas.
A Downing Street spokesman refused to rule out a third lockdown, simply saying, "We will of course keep the latest data and trends posted."
However, a government source admitted that the rising cases in the run-up to Christmas meant the situation was likely to remain "bleak" through February. Union leader Keir Starmer said he was concerned that the Tier system "just isn't strong enough to control the virus".
Boris Johnson reassured Tory MPs last month that ministers would take a "more granular" approach to Covid levels in the future after anger that many low-case rural areas were being jumbled with nearby urban hotspots.
However, when the animal assignments were first reviewed yesterday, only a tiny number of areas were moved down while many more were moved to the top tier.
Mr Hancock told MPs that he regretted having to impose the curbs but said there was "a strong view across government that these measures are necessary". Under tier 3, pubs and restaurants can only offer snack or delivery and indoor entertainment options such as cinemas, bowling alleys and soft play centers, which have to be closed.
Being together with other households indoors is forbidden on the two upper levels, which now cover 98 percent of England.
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Surrey (excluding Waverley), Hastings and Rother (on the border with Kent in East Sussex) and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire were catapulted into the third stage yesterday.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he was "not surprised but very disappointed" to stay in Tier Three, even though he now has a lower fall rate than London when it was placed in Tier Two.
He added, “It feels like the north has rising falls, the north is restricted; If cases increase in London and the South East, everyone will be constrained. & # 39;
The long-term effects of the pandemic will be felt across the country for many years, Professor Whitty said last night.
In the Chief Medical Officer's Annual Report on National Health Trends, he wrote, "The combined economic impact of Covid and countermeasures to reduce the size of the Covid waves are likely to be significant."
It came when Boris Johnson warned that a no-deal Brexit was "very likely" unless Brussels gives in to its "unreasonable" demands for fishing rights.
At the mercy of our neighbors
Once likened to a "village in heaven" by former resident and artist Sir Stanley Spencer, Cookham locals pride themselves on their numerous top restaurants and pubs.
However, entrepreneurs face an uncertain future after being exposed to the restrictions of the third stage – versus the second stage – from Saturday.
The Crown Inn, The Moor, Cookham
This is despite only three people who tested positive in the Berkshire community in the week ending December 12.
Cookham's rolling infection rate of 78 cases per 100,000 is far lower at 140.7 than in its larger area – Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.
Serena Burns, 31, owner of The Crown Pub, said in the picture, "If there are lowercase letters in a certain part, they need to speak to the local authority and not put the entire area on the same level."
Maidenhead is the constituency of former Prime Minister Theresa May who campaigned against the second national lockdown.
In a brief telephone conversation with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at 7 p.m., the Prime Minister warned the negotiations in a "serious situation" yesterday evening.
And he said it was now "very likely" that an agreement would not be reached "if the EU's position did not change significantly".
Fisheries is the key area where the EU's position "needs to change significantly," said Johnson.
He added that if a deal failed to go through, the UK would leave the EU "as friends" but act on Australian terms.
Meanwhile, Ms. von der Leyen said yesterday evening that "significant progress" had been made on a Brexit deal.
However, the EU leader also warned that "big differences" will remain, which will be "very difficult to bridge" as both sides are now ready to get to the heart of the negotiations.
In a statement posted on Twitter following the call to Mr Johnson, Ms. von der Leyen said: “We have welcomed significant progress on many issues.
“However, there are still big differences to be bridged, particularly in relation to fisheries. Bridging them will be a great challenge. & # 39;
Meanwhile, a Downing Street spokesman said in a lecture on Crunch Call: “The Prime Minister spoke to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen this evening about the state of the negotiations in the UK and the EU.
The Prime Minister stressed that the negotiations were now in a serious situation.
“The time was very short and it now looked very likely that no agreement would be reached unless the EU's position changed significantly.
The Prime Minister reiterated that there was little time left.
& # 39; He said if an agreement could not be reached, the UK and the EU would split up as friends, with the UK trading with the EU on Australian terms.
"The leaders agreed to keep in close contact."
The spokesman that Mr Johnson said fishing remains a key concern.
He warned the UK "could not accept a situation in which it was the only sovereign country in the world that could not control access to its own waters for an extended period of time".
Mr Johnson said the EU's position was "just not sensible" and would have to be "postponed significantly" if an agreement is to be reached.
Michael Gove had previously told MPs that the chances of the UK and the EU reaching a trade deal by Sunday are "less than 50 percent".
Michel Barnier said today that "good progress" has been made in the UK-EU trade talks after Brexit
He said the UK was trying to comply with EU demands on the other key issue in the negotiations – a level playing field. EU leaders want assurances that the UK won't undercut businesses on the continent by introducing lower environmental standards and regulations.
Britain's chief negotiator for Brexit, David Frost, also sounded the alarm. In a tweet he said: “The situation in our talks with the EU this evening is very serious. Progress seems blocked and time is running out.
"Prime Minister Boris Johnson this evening expressed his concerns about the state of affairs to Commission President Ursual von der Leyen."
What are the sticking points in the Brexit talks?
The UK has insisted that it regain control of its coastal waters from the end of the transition period.
However, the EU called for its fleets to maintain their previous access levels – with Emmanuel Macron under particular pressure from the French fishing industry.
First, the UK said it would reclaim 80 percent of EU quotas from January 1.
However, Brussels suggested restoring just 18 percent.
The two sides are believed to be near a "landing zone" that has a transition period of perhaps five or seven years. However, there is still no agreement.
LEVEL PLAY FIELD
The EU has insisted that the UK commit to a level playing field to ensure that businesses on the continent are not undercut by introducing lower environmental standards and regulations.
State aid has emerged as a particular problem, especially as the coronavirus is making parts of the economy unprofitable.
However, the UK says it needs to regain sovereign powers to make rules, even though it has no plans to lower standards or distort competition by subsidizing the private sector.
It seemed that this area was on the verge of being resolved before France reportedly set a number of additional conditions, including huge penalties in the form of tariffs for breaking the rules.
While the UK is happy with the "non-regression" – which means that current standards are accepted as a basis – it has rejected calls for future compliance with the bloc's rules.
Michel Barnier told EU ambassadors this week that the UK is now ready to accept the need for a "compensation mechanism" for rules that could resolve the dispute.
Getting a deal done and who decides whether to break rules has been a focus from the start.
The exemption from the European Court of Justice was one of the greatest demands made by Brexiter in the EU referendum.
But Brussels has insisted on maintaining control of governance and insisting on harsh fines and punitive tariffs for violations.
The governance problem is closely related to that of "a level playing field", with a breakthrough in the latter likely to pave the way for a breakthrough in the former.
Michael Gove had previously warned that the chances of the UK and the EU reaching a trade deal by Sunday – the deadline the EU has set for reaching an agreement – are "less than 50 percent".
The Minister for the Cabinet Office told Brexit Select Committee MPs that at this point, "the chances are more likely that we won't reach an agreement".
In the meantime, the heads of the European Parliament today set a deadline for this weekend for an agreement to be reached.
They warned that concluding an agreement after that date would not give MPs enough time to properly examine and then vote in favor of it before the end of the transition period “deadlock” on December 31st.
Demanding a deal by the end of Sunday will put pressure on the negotiators trying to break the impasse on crisis issues.
Michel Barnier, the EU's chief negotiator, expressed hope that an agreement was in sight this morning when he said "good progress" had been made as the talks entered the "final phase".
But he also warned that "the last stumbling blocks will remain" and that Brussels "will only sign an agreement to protect the interests and principles of the EU".
It came as Rishi Sunak feared the coronavirus curbs would drag on longer when he dramatically extended the vacation program for another month.
The Chancellor said the big bailout will now last until the end of April to give companies "security", while companies will have access to emergency loans until the end of March.
He also confirmed the budget will take place on March 3 as he outlines the "next phase" of the government's Covid-19 recovery plan.
The vacation – which is likely to add another £ 5 billion to the government's mountain of debt – is a ominous sign that restrictions may last longer than hoped, with Boris Johnson previously hinting that life could normalize by next spring.
The announcement came amid growing anger after Matt Hancock announced the results of the government's first formal review of the restriction system.
The health minister plunged another portion of the heartland of the Tory homelands into the toughest curb and denied being downgraded to Manchester.
Meanwhile, Downing Street today refused to rule out a third blanket lockdown and Mr Sunak's vacation announcement is likely to fuel fears that England could be heading for another national lockdown.
The Chancellor had already postponed the end of the October vacation, which is expected to add another £ 30 billion to the government's costs.
His decision to extend the holiday from the end of March to the end of April again prompted the Chancellor to give more support to the self-employed.
The Chancellor said: “We know that premium companies rely on security. It is therefore right that you can plan ahead regardless of which route the virus is taking. So we're providing security and clarity by expanding this support as well as implementing our plan for jobs. & # 39;
As part of the vacation program, the government continues to pay 80 percent of workers' wages for hours worked until the end of April.
Employers only have to pay wages, social security contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked. and NICS and pensions for hours not worked.
Mr Hancock was furious today when he pushed numerous more counties to the top tier of draconian coronavirus restrictions starting this weekend and refused to budge on Manchester.
The Minister of Health was deemed "ridiculous" when he broke the grim news for England amid growing fears of an increase in cases.
Announcing the review of the levels in the House of Commons, he said large swaths of the Southeast will fall in Tier 3 including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, all of Hertfordshire, Surrey except Waverley, Hastings and Rother on Kent -Border of East Sussex and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the huge coronavirus vacation program will now last until the end of April, while businesses will have access to credit until the end of March
As this OBR chart shows, government borrowing could reach nearly £ 400 billion this year and is expected to remain at staggering levels through the mid-2020s
What does the vacation program cost?
The Treasury Department estimates the cost at £ 1 billion per month for every million workers on the vacation program.
The Bank of England has announced that 5.5 million people will be on vacation, suggesting a bill of roughly £ 5.5 billion a month.
The Resolution Foundation think tank says the monthly cost could be even higher at £ 6.2 billion per month.
It also shattered hope that restrictions on Manchester, the Tees Valley and parts of the Midlands could be relaxed in what local leaders called a "kick in the teeth".
Mr Hancock announced that Bristol and North Somerset will be moved to Tier 2 in rare good news.
Herefordshire will switch to Tier 1 from midnight on Saturday morning.
The new measures mean that roughly 38 million people, or 68 percent of the population in England, will now be in the top tier – including the Queen at Windsor Castle.
In the meantime, a six-week lock-up period from Boxing Day was agreed by the Northern Irish executive on Thursday evening.
Ministers met several hours in the evening as the region struggled to quell the virus.
The announced measures are expected to include the closure of all non-essential retail and contact services, while the hospitality sector is limited to take-away services only.
It is assumed that no changes will be made to the Christmas arrangements.
In more bad news, the government has announced that millions of secondary school students in England will delay their return to classrooms for up to a week in the New Year. Online classes are scheduled to resume to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.
Mr Hancock told MPs, "We need to be vigilant and keep this virus under control … we have come this far, we must not blow it up now."
He added, "This is a moment when we are acting with caution."
Mr Hancock said case rates in southern England rose 46 percent in the past week, while hospital admissions rose by more than a third. In the east of England, cases increased by two-thirds and hospital admissions increased by nearly half last week.
The latest animal changes
Move to level 3
Surrey apart from Waverley
Hastings and Rother
Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant
MOVEMENT FROM ANIMAL 3 TO ANIMAL 2
Bristol, North Somerset
MOVEMENT FROM ANIMAL 2 TO ANIMAL 1
He also beat back complaints from low-infection areas in Kent about the county’s blanket status and urged residents to act as if they had the virus.
"It is the area of the country that has the biggest problem," said Hancock.
London, along with parts of Essex and Hertfordshire, has already been expanded to the toughest curb – meaning pubs and restaurants can only be taken away – after infections soared.
Health experts had urged Boris Johnson not to lower Tier 3 areas to Tier 2 areas, but ministers were also warned of growing unrest in cities under the strictest restrictions.
While Tier 2 areas in Oxfordshire, east and west Sussex, Brighton and Hove, and Northamptonshire saw infections rise in the past seven days, rates have fallen in cities like Greater Manchester and Leeds.
Nighttime Tsar Sacha Lord of Greater Manchester said the decision to keep it at the highest level was a "kick in the teeth". Manchester Council President Richard Leese described it as "incredible".
Concerning Mr Johnson, the 1922 Conservative Committee Chairman Sir Graham Brady also slammed the decisions.
He said his headquarters in Altrincham & Sale West had a lower infection rate than Bristol, which was downgraded.
"My constituents acted responsibly," he told Mr. Hancock. "What exactly do we have to do to get out of Tier 3?"
Stevenage Conservative MP Stephen McPartland said it was "ridiculous" that his area was escalating. "Totally unacceptable and clearly shows that I was right to vote against a second Lockdown & Tier system," he said.
"The government accepted on Monday that district-based levels should be implemented in place of this unbalanced nationwide approach."
Tory MP for Northwest Leicestershire Andrew Bridgen said it was "disappointing news" that his constituency would remain in Tier 3. Mr Bridgen had asked for his area to be decoupled from Leicester, which has a much higher infection rate.
What are the Tier 3 rules?
- Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theaters and bowling alleys must be closed.
- Pubs, restaurants and cafes must be closed except for takeout.
- Shops, hairdressers and salons can remain open;
- Groups of six people are only allowed to meet outdoors.
- Crowds at live events are prohibited.
- People should avoid traveling into or out of Tier 3 areas unless it is inevitable.
- People from separate households cannot meet inside and the rule of six applies outside.
"It's disappointing news for my constituents who have worked so hard to quell the virus," he said.
The Federation of British Industries (CBI) said the expansion of the vacation program would bring "much-needed security and respite" to businesses.
Rain Newton-Smith, the organization's chief economist, said, “In the middle of a harsh winter, this will bring much-needed security and peace of mind to businesses.
“Stable employer contributions and an extension of the job retention system through the end of April means the system will continue to protect people's livelihoods.
"And with cash flow difficulties still at the fore for many business owners, continued access to government-supported credit will be a great convenience through spring."
But Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds accused Mr. Sunak of making last minute decisions.
She said: “Once again, the Chancellor has waited until the last minute to act and left companies in the dark for less than 24 hours before issuing dismissals.
"Rishi Sunak's irresponsible last-minute decision-making has left Britain with the worst recession of any major economy."
Prior to the announcement, Mr. Sunak gave another hint of impending tax hikes and warned that it would be "morally, economically and politically" wrong to take out large loans.
The Chancellor said that if Britain were not to get a grip on the structural deficit caused by the Turonavirus turmoil, Britain would face "future shocks".
In an obvious shot over the bow of Mr Johnson's instincts of free spending, he also warned that this could be disastrous for the Conservatives as there would not be "much difference between us and the Labor Party."
Almost 38 million people will be subject to the highest restrictions in England by the weekend
The government released a narrative explanation of why their decisions were made for each area of the country
Millions of high school students have late returns after Christmas
Millions of secondary school students in England will delay their return to school for up to a week after the Christmas break as a Covid crisis looms in the classroom.
Downing Street confirmed that the planned restart on January 4th and 5th will now be "staggered" through the use of online lessons. Full face-to-face learning begins on January 11th.
Figures show that more than half of schools in England had cases of coronavirus in the first two weeks after the November lockdown, and that 12-18 year olds have the highest infection rate of any age.
The move comes just days after Education Secretary Gavin Williamson took legal action against London councils wanting to close schools before Christmas.
When asked in an interview with The Spectator magazine about the massive size of government borrowing, which could reach nearly £ 400 billion this year and is expected to stay on par through the mid-2020s, Sunak said it was not enough to rely on interest rates at historically low levels.
& # 39; It is not sustainable to borrow at these levels. Morally, economically, or politically I don't think it's right, ”he said.
Mr. Sunak added, “A structural deficit in the years to come with increasing debt?
“It won't build the resilience you need to deal with future shock and someone else will be in my chair.
"We've had two of these things in a decade now: Who knows what the next shock will be?"
The Chancellor explained the political threat that arises from the fact that the Tories cannot create the impression that “debt increases are okay”.
"If we believe that borrowing is the answer to all that debt increases are okay, then there isn't much difference between us and the Labor Party," he said.
"I'm worried about what that means for us politically across the board."
Referring to former Cabinet Secretary Lord Hague, whose constituency he inherited from Richmond, Mr Sunak also suggested that action will be required in good time before the next elections.
"William Hague always tells me you can't fatten pigs on market day," he said.
In an obvious shot of Boris Johnson's instinct to spend freely, Mr Sunak warned that accepting ongoing borrowing would mean that there is no "big difference between us and the Labor Party."
Mr Sunak was also asked about the idea of a one-time fortune levy to fill the coronavirus black hole in finances.
Last week the Wealth Tax Commission introduced a five-year tax of 1 percent on individuals with personal wealth over £ 500,000 that could raise £ 260 billion.
However, Mr. Sunak sounded in agreement with critics who warned that it would punish wealthy, low-cash families and force home sales.
While admitting that he had not read the report, the Chancellor said, “I think that is correct in the sense that we are a party that believes in aspiration.
"Actually, we should celebrate the pursuit."
The anger of Tory MPs after the Home Counties were hit by the toughest rules … and only in three places are the shackles loosened
The home countries were plunged into the third tier yesterday, which means two-thirds of the country will be subject to the strictest coronavirus rules starting tomorrow.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that pubs, restaurants and cinemas will have to close after a surge in infections in much of southern England.
When the results of the first lockdown review were announced after November, a number of areas were moved up one notch, but only three down.
This means that as of tomorrow 38 million people, including the Queen, will be living in Tier Three – 68 percent of the population.
Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire all moved into the third tier.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced that pubs, restaurants and cinemas will have to close after a surge in infections in much of southern England
Bristol und North Somerset wechselten von Tier Drei zu Zwei, während Herefordshire zu Tier Eins wechselte.
Herr Hancock sagte den Commons, dass Großbritannien "so weit gekommen" sei und "es jetzt nicht sprengen darf", bevor die Maßnahmen in der Weihnachtszeit fünf Tage lang gelockert wurden.
Aber die Abgeordneten von Tory reagierten mit Wut und fragten sich, warum ihre Gebiete nicht gesunken waren, als die Raten in ihrem Gebiet fielen.
Rob Butler, der konservative Abgeordnete von Aylesbury, sagte, die Nachricht, dass Buckinghamshire in die dritte Stufe eintrete, läutete "den trostlosesten Winter" ein, insbesondere für das Gastgewerbe.
Um die strengeren Maßnahmen zu rechtfertigen, sagte Hancock, dass die Fallraten im Südosten Englands in der letzten Woche um 46 Prozent gestiegen seien, während die Krankenhauseinweisungen um mehr als ein Drittel gestiegen seien.
Im Osten Englands seien die Fälle um zwei Drittel und die Krankenhauseinweisungen in der vergangenen Woche um fast die Hälfte gestiegen, fügte er hinzu. Die formelle Überprüfung erfolgt, nachdem die Minister letzte Woche gezwungen waren, London und Teile von Hertfordshire und Essex in die höchste Stufe zu bringen, nachdem die Infektionsraten dramatisch gestiegen waren.
Herr Hancock sagte: „Ich weiß, dass Tier-Drei-Maßnahmen schwierig sind. Aber der beste Weg für alle, aus ihnen herauszukommen, besteht darin, sich zusammenzuschließen, nicht nur die Regeln zu befolgen, sondern alles zu tun, um die Ausbreitung des Virus zu stoppen. & # 39;
Aber Sir Graham Brady, Vorsitzender des einflussreichen Komitees der Tory Backbenchers von 1922 und Abgeordneter von Greater Manchester, fragte, was die Region noch tun könne, um aus Tier Drei herauszukommen.
"Die Erklärung wird in Greater Manchester, wo wir seit neun Monaten strenge Beschränkungen haben und in neun der zehn Bezirke unter dem nationalen Durchschnitt liegen, mit Bestürzung aufgenommen", sagte er.
Der Bürgermeister von Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, sagte, er sei "nicht überrascht, aber sehr enttäuscht".
Stephen McPartland, Abgeordneter von Stevenage Tory, sagte, es sei "lächerlich, dass wir in die dritte Stufe hineingezogen werden" und "völlig inakzeptabel".
Der Bürgermeister von Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, sagte, er sei "nicht überrascht, aber sehr enttäuscht". Tory-Abgeordneter Steve Baker, der stellvertretende Vorsitzende der Covid Recovery Group der Lockdown-skeptischen Konservativen, sagte, er sei "enttäuscht", dass sein Wahlkreis in Wycombe in die dritte Stufe versetzt werde
Tory-Abgeordneter Steve Baker, der stellvertretende Vorsitzende der Covid Recovery Group der Lockdown-skeptischen Konservativen, sagte, er sei "enttäuscht", dass sein Wahlkreis in Wycombe in die dritte Stufe versetzt werde.
"Die Regierung muss dringend klarstellen, nach welchen Kriterien Gebiete zwischen den Ebenen und insbesondere nach unten verschoben werden sollen", fügte er hinzu.
Jason McCartney, Tory-Abgeordneter für Colne Valley, sagte, er habe geglaubt, das Gebiet habe ein "starkes Argument" dafür, in die zweite Stufe aufgenommen zu werden. Er fragte Herrn Hancock: "Was müssen meine Wähler noch tun, um aus der dritten Stufe herauszukommen?"
Greg Smith, Abgeordneter von Buckinghamshire Tory, sagte, die Verlagerung des Gebiets in Tier Drei sei nicht „angemessen oder verhältnismäßig“ und es werde eine „hohe Belastung für Unternehmen“ geben.
Er sagte gegenüber Times Radio: "Ich kann keinem meiner Wähler in die Augen sehen und sagen, dass Einschränkungen der dritten Stufe angemessen oder verhältnismäßig zu dem Ort sind, an dem wir uns mit Covid-19 befinden." Rebecca Howell-Jones, die amtierende Direktorin für öffentliche Gesundheit in Herefordshire, äußerte jedoch Bedenken hinsichtlich des Abstiegs der Grafschaft in die erste Stufe und warnte vor einem „Jo-Jo“ zwischen den Ebenen.
"Aus Sicht der öffentlichen Gesundheit muss ich nein sagen, wir sind von dieser Nachricht enttäuscht", sagte sie gegenüber BBC Radio 4's World at One.
"Die Lockerung der Regeln jetzt, kurz vor der Weihnachtsmischung und die weitere Entspannung, die unweigerlich zu mehr Infektionen führen wird … es scheint, als wäre es zu früh."
Der Gewerkschaftsführer Sir Keir Starmer sagte, er sei besorgt, dass das Tier-System "einfach nicht stark genug sei, um das Virus zu kontrollieren".
'I'm in tears, completely drained': Business owners in areas going into Tier 3 Covid lockdown are 'absolutely devastated' as pubs, restaurants, theatres and more are forced to close
Devastated business owners are up in arms over the extension of Matt Hancock's Tier 3 curbs across vast swathes of southern England amid rising coronavirus cases.
Around four million people are being moved into the toughest restrictions from Friday, with local restaurateurs, hoteliers and theatre owners forced to either remain closed or shutter their premises over the Christmas period.
Thousands of planned family festive trips to Legoland and LaplandUK in Berkshire, as well as Center Parcs in Sherwood, have now been thrown into jeopardy as cancellations loom on the horizon.
Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford has already closed in anticipation of the move to Tier restrictions and is extending its refund period to cover all visits from December 16 to January 3 inclusive.
MPs and councillors blasted the Health Secretary's 'bizarre' and 'ridiculous' clampdown, while hospitality chiefs warned Tier 3 restrictions will plunge businesses already on the brink into 'despair and heartbreak'.
Large parts of the east and south of England will go into Tier 3, including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.
'It's pretty scary': Peterborough restaurateur fears he will shut doors for good and fears toll closure will take on his family
Paul Sharma opened 2020 World Buffet in Peterborough just two days before the first lockdown in March and since then has endured a stop-start nine months.
Now, after being placed into Tier 3 today, he fears he'll have to shut his doors for good, as the financial impact begins to take its toll on his young family.
He told MailOnline: 'These are really tough times, and it's pretty scary to be honest.
'We're a buffet restaurant so it's difficult to offer a takeaway service, or if we did it would cost too much.
'It's a big place, we can get nearly 500 people inside, and over the Christmas period we had about 100 bookings a day lined up which we'll now have to cancel.
'The fixed costs and staff salaries cost about £25,000 a week and apart from during Eat Out to Help Out, which we really benefitted from, we've only made £5,000 or £6,000 a week.
'We have 27 full-time and part-time staff at the moment and luckily the furlough scheme is being extended but if we want to stay open I've still got to pay the running costs and the debt is starting to mount.
'For me personally, it's a bit scary because I've got two kids, aged eight and 11, and the family relies on me because we have no other source of income.
'We've had just £3,000 in government help since the start of the pandemic, but we need a lot more than that if we're going to survive.'
It means around 38 million people, or 68 per cent of the population, will now be subject to the top bracket – including the Queen at Windsor Castle.
A high-end steak restaurant in Berkshire is having to cancel all 80 bookings from now over Christmas until January 1 at an estimated cost of £12,000.
The Herd restaurant in Pangbourne, which is part of the Elephant hotel, opened on December 3 in line with Tier 2 restrictions after it closed its doors during the second national shutdown – at a cost of thousands of pounds in anti-Covid kit.
It now has to close its doors indefinitely, destroy festive family plans by cancelling restaurant and hotel reservations, kick guests out of the hotel from Friday, and put all its 25 restaurant staff back on furlough.
General manager Chris Lowe told MailOnline the move to Tier 3 is costing the restaurant an estimated £12,000 and the hotel around £5,000.
He called locking down 'a nightmare', adding: 'I know that the Government are probably trying to do the right thing, but closing everything again during the Christmas holiday is going to be disastrous.
'We've had to basically ruin Christmas plans for families travelling into the area to visit their friends and families. Many of them now have nowhere else to stay, so their holidays are all up in the air because of this.
'Locking down is a nightmare, local businesses – restaurants, pubs, hairdressers, corner shops – they're all losing money, and lots of it.'
Pub landlord David Cairns said he's had to cancel bookings to the Tap in Portsmouth on Christmas Day, calling it 'a bit s***'. Speaking to MailOnline, he fumed: 'If you have to save lives you have to save lives, but I'm gutted.
'It's going to have a massive effect on my business. The week from Christmas to New Year is a crucial period for us and brings a lot of revenue.'
Steve Banfield, who runs The Brown Bear pub in Hertfordshire, said he is 'resigned' to the sudden move to Tier 3, telling MailOnline: 'It's hard not to think sometimes that they're trying to decimate the pub industry.
'I really feel frustrated for the locals who like to come down to the pub at the end of the week, have a pint and chew the fat with their friends.
'We've had a few cases down here, and it's probably because when people have alcohol they don't follow social distancing. But what fun's a pub if you can't relax with your mates and suspend reality for a moment?'
An incensed pub landlord in Peterborough said that Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions 'effectively cease all trade' as he believes that people will not order takeaway pints from his venue over the Christmas holiday.
Andrew Ruddy of the Ruddy Duck Peakirk said that constantly reopening and closing this year is a 'huge waste of money', and admitted that his biggest worry was rent.
'I think hospitality is being blamed for the spread despite the fact there's no evidence that it spreads in pubs,' he told MailOnline.
'In a way, going into Tier 3 is a relief for us because trying to operate in Tier 2 was just not viable. We don't benefit from grants in the same way, and we chalked out thousands of pounds to make the place safe.
'It's all been a huge waste of money, and now we have literally no income coming in – we're having to use grants to cover our bills and our rent.'
The Herd restaurant in Pangbourne is having to cancel all 80 bookings from now over Christmas until January 1 at an estimated cost of £12,000
David Cairns, 35, landlord of The Tap in Portsmouth, told MailOnline: 'I've got a lot of people booked for Christmas Day and now I've got to tell them they can't come – and that's a bit s***'
The Kings Theatre in Portsmouth announced that it was postponing all performances of its Dick Whittington pantomime from Friday into the New Year. Above, cast members perform Jack and the Beanstalk at York Theatre Royal on December 2 in York
Tearful and devastated small business owners are up in arms over the extension of Matt Hancock's draconian Tier 3 curbs across vast swathes of southern England
'I've got to get rid of 400 potatoes!': Southsea landlady has to bin stock as area is plunged into Tier 3
Ally Vernon, who has been landlord of the award-winning Lawrence Arms in Southsea for 10 years, expected to be fully booked for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, serving a total 60 customers at a time.
But since the region was ratcheted up to Tier 3, she is now looking to offload 400 potatoes that will otherwise go to waste.
She told MailOnline: 'We did plan stuff inside the restrictions to give people that little bit of Christmas, especially for lonely people who may not have someone to spend it with.'
Luckily the forced cancellations will not leave Ms Vernon incredibly out of pocket as she has not bulk bought large amounts of stock.
'Businesses since the last lockdown don't hold as much stock,' she said, adding that people are 'more aware' that the situation could suddenly change as it has today.
'But I do have an abundance of potatoes and cheese, and will be making a call to the local food bank as I don't think the customers over the next two days will be able to manage all that.'
At the Lawrence Arms she employs a total six staff, but only two have returned to work while the rest remain on furlough.
'The staff have been really keen to continue working,' she said. 'The pub is a very sociable place and a good place to work.'
However the constant changes to the rules have forced her to completely overhaul the pub this past year.
She told MailOnline: 'I've found myself changing the business over a cup of tea in my pyjamas. In March we were a wet-led pub that showed Sky Sports to Pompey fans on a Saturday to serving evening meals.'
Since Portsmouth's Tier 3 fate was announced for Saturday earlier today, she said: 'My phone hasn't stopped ringing since midday. People want their last pint of 2020.'
Pub landlady Lili Collier at the Broad Street Tavern in Wokingham said that hospitality venues across England are 'being punished for being open'.
She told MailOnline the pub, which reopened on July 30 to ensure it was fully Covid-compliant and closed for the second national shutdown, paid close to £10,000 for an outdoor marquee – only to be forced to close a third time.
The landlady of seven years said: 'It would be nice if we had a bit of notice. We spend all this money on food and drinks and we have to throw it away, it's such a waste – especially as there are people going down to their food banks just to find something for that night.
'We want to know what the right thing is to do here. We haven't ever complained, we have followed all the rules, all the Government's requirements, and now we are being punished for being open. We don't understand if the Christmas bubbles apply anymore, it's all a mess.'
Simon Dennis, who works at a family-owned restaurant in Luton, revealed that his manager rang him in floods of tears with frustration at the move to Tier 3.
'Just had my restaurant manager on the phone in tears. Open, close, open, close. Make your minds up,' he tweeted.
'No business can operate like this. And £2,000 for being closed in November! Didn't even cover half my rent. Going to be nothing left for 2021. Do more'.
A mother in Peterborough who models for Buzz Talent agency said she is 'absolutely devastated' by the move. & # 39;Peterborough is moving into Tier 3 meaning I have to close my business again and I've had no financial support at all,' she tweeted.
'We only opened in September and we've spent most of the time closed'.
The owner of a mobile bar called Webster's Bar Box in the south east of England said she is 'gutted, heartbroken and had enough now'.
'Tier 3 means my little pub business has to close again tomorrow,' she tweeted, adding: 'I'm in tears, completely drained.'
The Kings Theatre in Portsmouth announced that it was postponing all performances of its Dick Whittington pantomime from Friday into the New Year.
'Sadly, Friday 18 December at 7pm will be our final performance until Portsmouth comes back out of Tier 3,' a statement said.
'We're so proud of what we have achieved staging our first Pompey Panto and are devastated that the show must be closed over Christmas while we're in Tier 3.'
The luxury four-star Gibbon Bridge Hotel in the Forest of Bowland, Lancashire, announced that it would have to remain closed as the region is not being brought out of the Tier 3 restrictions.
It added that it is 'disappointed' that it is not be able to 'honour' Christmas reservations, tweeting: 'Our region is remaining in Tier 3.
'While this is entirely out of our hands we can't tell you how disappointed and sorry we are not to be able to honour your Christmas reservations or be part of making the festive season a bit more special for you. Take care and see you soon.'
UKHospitality warned that placing more areas into Tier 3 will 'ruin Christmas for those businesses entering and continued despair and heartbreak for those hard-pressed businesses that had hoped they might move into Tier 2'.
Its chief executive Kate Nicholls told MailOnline 'what was already looking like a bleak Christmas is now looking like a total write-off'.
Tearful and devastated small business owners are up in arms over the extension of Matt Hancock's draconian Tier 3 curbs across vast swathes of southern England
How many people will be in each tier when new allocations take effect?
Tier 1 – 906,374
Tier 2 – 17,488,082
Tier 3 – 37,892,505
What criteria do the government use to allocate tiers?
- Case detection rates in all age groups
- Case detection rates in the over 60s
- The rate at which cases are rising or falling
- Positivity rate (the number of positive cases detected as a percentage of tests taken)
- Pressure on the NHS
'Businesses will have bought stock which will now go to waste and more people will lose work at a stressful time,' she claimed.
'Hotels are now facing a deluge of short-notice cancellations because of the tightening of restrictions. What was already looking like a bleak Christmas is now looking like a total write-off.
'This will be a bitter blow for businesses that would have been hoping to make the best of a difficult Christmas period.
'The increased restrictions, effectively a total shutdown for most, will make it even more difficult for businesses to salvage what little they can from what should be a busy period.
'More financial support most be forthcoming if we are to have any hope that these businesses will survive. They can trade their way out of danger next year only if they are still around to do so.'
The Campaign for Pubs warned of 'a widespread fear and anger shared by publicans who now find themselves in uncharted territory'.
Its spokesman Alastair Kerr told MailOnline that 'for the many publicans who were in Tier 2, who now find themselves in Tier 3, it is devastating news – especially a week before Christmas, whch should be a busy trading time'.
'It is clear that the hospitality sector cannot keep on opening up only to be told to close down again with none or very little economic support from the Government,' he added.
The British Beer & Pub Association said that 'permanent closures, lost livelihoods and the destruction of valued community locals is sadly inevitable' with the move to Tier 3.
Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: 'The update on tier restrictions announced today is not the shift in the right direction that our sector desperately needed and hoped for.
'More regions being placed under Tier 3 restrictions means more closed businesses, leaving the future of Britain's pubs truly hanging by a thread this Christmas.
'It is clear that it is going to be longer than we thought until our pubs can open properly and be viable businesses again.
'The UK Government can and should follow the lead of Wales, which is providing pubs facing similar restrictions and closure with four times more financial support than those in England. Some pubs in Wales will receive even more than that.
'The Prime Minister and Chancellor have no excuses. They must now secure pubs and jobs by giving locals in England the same support as those in Wales. Without such support, a wave of pub closures is guaranteed at a time when they should be leading the economic recovery.'
The number of deaths from Covid-19 has increased by 14 percent compared to the previous week. 612 new victims were reported today, compared to 533 a week ago. It is the second day in a row that daily infections rose by more than 50 per cent after 18,450 positive tests were announced on Tuesday
Tory MP for Stevenage Stephen McPartland said that it is 'ridiculous that we are being dragged into Tier 3'.
He tweeted that the move is 'totally unacceptable' and 'clearly shows I was right to vote against a second lockdown and tier system'.
'Government accepted on Monday that tiers should be imposed on a district basis instead of this unbalanced county-wide approach,' he added.
Gerald Vernon-Jackson, the Liberal Democrat leader of Portsmouth City Council, said the decision to put the Hampshire city into Tier 3 was 'bizarre' when other authorities that required care provided by the city's Queen Alexandra Hospital had not been moved up.
He said other local authorities such as Fareham and Winchester City were within a mile-and-a-half of the hospital.
'It's not unexpected but I am slightly surprised as we have been told the problem is the Queen Alexandra Hospital, which doesn't just serve Portsmouth, just a third of its intake is from Portsmouth and two-thirds from others around including areas which are within a mile,' he said.
'The Government's ability to get things right seems to be not great but the Government has made a number of bizarre decisions, so it's no surprise they have made another one.'
The leader of Surrey County Council has said residents and businesses will find most of the county moving into Tier 3 'very disappointing news' at the end of an 'exceptionally difficult year'. The area of Waverley will remain in Tier 2.
Tim Oliver said: 'We need to take swift action to save lives and stop our crucial NHS services from being put under even more pressure.
'We all need to be extremely vigilant, including residents in Waverley, as the situation can change quickly and we want to prevent them going into Tier 3 in the new year.'
He urged people to follow the bubbles guidance over Christmas and added: 'There is hope on the horizon with the rollout of the vaccine across the county, starting with the over-80s.
'But it will take time and we cannot let our guard down. The coming weeks will be a challenge to us all, but it is crucial that we reduce the spread of this virus and get through the winter as safely as possible.'
Cllr Peter Marland of Milton Keynes Council claimed the local authority had no prior notification of moving into Tier 3.
'We were missed off the statement in Parliament. Utter shambles,' he tweeted. 'For clarity on Covid-19 matters we are in NHS England East and grouped with Bedfordshire (we think)'.