People in the southeast are already threatening to break new Tier 4 rules after areas in the southeast were told they couldn't see their families at Christmas.
At an emergency press conference, Boris Johnson announced that a third of England, including London and parts of the home countries, would be moved to the brutal new level from midnight.
And social media users reacted indignantly. Some say they refuse to obey the rules.
Others have questioned the enforceability of a “stay at home” message on Christmas Day, especially after people were reassured that they would be able to see their family members during the period.
Boris Johnson speaks at a press conference today announcing a new Tier 4 in the Southeast to address a new "highly contagious" variant of coronavirus
Chloe Goodwin said, “Good luck trying to get this through. That will not happen! I will still enjoy my five days of Christmas. & # 39;
Twitter user Patriot Zoe said: & # 39; He can go himself, I won't cancel Christmas for him or any of them !!
"My family and our well-being are more important than the nonsense he and his pals try to force on us … WAKE UP PEOPLE FFS."
Another said, “Whatever they try to get my plans will not change.
"My Christmas party will be the same as every other year before 2020. No half-poor rich boy who plays power games will change that."
And another wrote, "There is literally no way to get this through. People are not going to see family at Christmas."
David Whig wrote, “Do you think anyone will pay attention to this? Who will enforce the restrictions? This is just your excuse first.
“The cases go on – you didn't do what you were told, it's all your fault. Cases are falling – the cancellation of Christmas worked, we were right. & # 39;
One wrote: “Isn't Boris so stupid as to make level four instead of just telling everyone to stay home? like level four folks obeying the rules. & # 39;
What are the new Tier 4 rules?
The Tier 4 rules are essentially the same as the blanket bans England was under in November.
Unnecessary retail stores will have to close, as will leisure facilities and personal care products such as hairdressers.
However, places of worship can remain open.
People on other levels are advised not to go into the areas with the highest brace, while level 4 residents are not allowed to stay in lower infection sites.
Another said: "There is no way Boris can brighten my Christmas party."
And another wrote, "It's impossible to get this through. Trust me, the majority will be with their families this Christmas."
When asked about anyone who may be breaking the rules at the press conference this afternoon, Johnson said, "Obviously, people should be obeying the rules."
When asked how the police are supposed to enforce the rules on Christmas Day, he said, “I think the police have done an amazing job of enforcing light touches.
& # 39; They have filed many solid criminal charges for breaking the rules.
"I really thank the cops across the country for what they have done during this time."
But he believed people would want to obey the rules themselves.
He said, "Most of the population is taking this very seriously and doing it right and will continue to do it."
The draconian new Tier 4 means non-essential stores will have to close and travel restrictions, including ordering for Christmas Day itself, will remain at home.
Mr Johnson only insisted a few days ago that it was "inhuman" to remove five-day festive "bubbles".
The rest of England will not go unharmed. Up to three households are only allowed to mingle on Christmas Day and no longer between December 23 and 27.
The extraordinary turnaround caused anger among families who had already made plans, booked trips, and bought groceries for reunions.
But a clearly uncomfortable Mr Johnson told the nation tonight that he had "no alternative" but to act after further evidence of the devastating spread of the new strain emerged.
While it doesn't seem more deadly, it's believed to be far more contagious, causing a staggering 60 percent of new cases in London over the past week.
Mr Johnson said it could increase the crucial R-rate by 0.4 and be 70 percent more portable than previous versions.
"We have to act now," said Prime Minister Johnson. “We cannot continue Christmas as planned.
“I know how important people are at this time of year and how important it is for grandparents that their grandchildren and families are together …
"But through this pandemic I said that we must and will be guided by science."
He added, "I have no alternative."
The London Metropolitan Police has been asked for a comment.