Christmas plans have been left in disarray today (Saturday December 19), as the government announced even tighter restrictions for London and the South East to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
From 00.01 on Sunday December 20, the capital will be plunged into a new Tier 4 level of restrictions. A new strain of the virus is said to be spreading exponentially, and there have been 27,052 new Covid cases in the country in the last 24-hour period. Prime Minister Boris Johnson explained during a press conference from Downing Street that the new variant may be up to 70 percent more transmissible and that London and the South East of England are seen as virus hotspots.
What does Tier 4 mean for London?
Tier 4 in London will drastically impact Christmas plans for many, with a ban on travel in and out of the area. The new restrictions will also see the closure of non-essential retail, hair salons and gyms, mimicking the kind of restrictions faced during the last lockdown.
People are asked, yet again, to work from home if they can, and in terms of socialising, individuals will only be able to see one other person outside their household bubble and in outdoor public settings.
Londoners are told not to leave the Tier 4 area, and all overnight stays are off.
Unlike lockdown, communal worship can continue under Tier 4.
And what about Christmas?
The new Tier 4 measures will last until reviewed again on December 30. That means that, for residents of Tier 4, Christmas must be spent solely with those in your household bubble.
The prime minster confirmed that the Christmas bubble rules previously announced were no longer a part of the plan. ‘Those living in Tier 4 should not mix with anyone outside their own household,’ he said.
But it’s not just London having to rethink party plans: outside of Tier 4, the household mixing rules will only be relaxed for Christmas Day now, despite previous plans for a five-day easing of measures.
Sadly, Christmas sounds like it’s close to cancelled this year. Pass us the mulled wine, fast.