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Coronavirus UK: 30,000 hospitality businesses face ruin before end of year 

Revellers in York hit the streets of the Tier 2 city centre last night amid warnings that more than 30,000 hospitality businesses are at high risk of permanently closing before the end of the year.

Small groups of young people wearing face masks flocked to pubs and bars in the two northern town for a Christmas booze-up as police enforced tough curbs, while drinking holes in Tier 2 Liverpool stood empty.

York and Liverpool have steered clear of Tier 3 restrictions being slapped on large swathes of England’s Home Counties, while Matt Hancock refused to move Manchester and the North East down a grade into Tier 2 despite recording fewer Covid-19 cases. 

Though pub landlords have described trading in Tier 2 as ‘unviable’, those who are being moved up into Tier 3 this week are incensed that they have to close again and lose their source of income.

Fears that coronavirus curbs will remain longer than promised were fuelled by Rishi Sunak after he dramatically extended the furlough scheme for another month, at an estimated cost of another £5billion.   

With ministers threatening to impose a Tier 4 crackdown after Christmas which would ban commuting, close non-essential shops and close schools an extra week, hospitality chiefs are warning that the hospitality sector is teetering on the brink of ruin.

UKHospitality today warned that one in three hospitality firms in the UK are at risk of closing its doors for good before the end of the year – which they estimated to be 30,000 predominantly-small businesses.

It comes as Wagamama and Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group revealed the second national lockdown cost the company £15million as it was forced to shut the doors of its sites. 

And the restaurant owner behind Franco Manca and The Real Greek revealed they had slipped into the red during the pandemic, with sales falling nearly 50 per cent to £19.9million with a pre-tax loss of £4.3million in the six months to September 27. 

Police detain a reveller in York as the city remains in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Police on horseback patrol the streets of Liverpool, which are deserted despite being in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Police on horseback patrol the streets of Liverpool, which are deserted despite being in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

A female revellers in York sits on the ground after going out drinking ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A female revellers in York sits on the ground after going out drinking ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A small group of students in York head into town to enjoy drinks ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A small group of students in York head into town to enjoy drinks ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty 

Revellers in York pose for photos as they enjoy a drink in the Tier 2 city amid a coronavirus clampdown

Revellers in York pose for photos as they enjoy a drink in the Tier 2 city amid a coronavirus clampdown

Bars in Liverpool stood empty despite the city being in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Bars in Liverpool stood empty despite the city being in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Swathes of the Home Counties will join London in the highest tier tomorrow while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases. Pictured: A map of England’s tiers

Nearly 38million people are set to be under the highest tier of restrictions in England by the weekend

Nearly 38million people are set to be under the highest tier of restrictions in England by the weekend

Ministers mull ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week – after Boris Johnson plunged 38 million into Tier 3 AND warned No Deal is ‘very likely’ 

Ministers are mulling over a ‘Tier 4’ crackdown after Christmas, with commuting banned, non-essential shops shut and schools closed an extra week, as officials search for new plans to keep Covid case numbers under control.

As Boris Johnson last night gave the green light to plunge large swathes of England’s Home Counties into Tier 3 – bringing the number of people living under the toughest restrictions to 38million – Government officials revealed even tougher measures could be on the way. 

The areas of southern England will join London in the highest tier tomorrow, while Manchester and the North East were told they could not move down a grade despite recording fewer cases. 

Tory MP Rob Butler said yesterday’s tier moves heralded ‘the bleakest of midwinters, especially for hospitality businesses’.

His comments came as Prime Minister last night warned a No Deal Brexit is ‘very likely’ unless the EU gives ground on trade talks. 

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 because Covid is surging nationally.   

A Whitehall official told the Times: ‘There is a case for going further than Tier 3 and it is getting stronger.

‘[That could mean] closure of non-essential retail, stay-at-home orders. That would have to be actively considered in conversation with the local authority.’

The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has previously endorsed a ‘Tier 4’ as a way of tightening restrictions in order to control the virus.

Wales meanwhile is going into another lockdown on December 28 and Northern Ireland last night backed plans for a six-week shutdown starting on Boxing Day.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said it is ‘helpful’ to know that furlough will not change in January, when it was previously subject to review. 

But she warned that the extensions showed that the virus and the restrictions ‘are likely to be around for a lot longer’ at a significant cost to the hospitality sector. 

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: ‘We are beyond the point of saving jobs, we are now needing to look at how we can save businesses, and there’s a real fear that businesses in hospitality won’t survive over the Christmas period with the restrictions we’ve got in place.’

Ms Nicholls revealed 25,000 sites have already been ‘lost’ during the pandemic, and warned that ‘we are at high risk of losing one in three of our hospitality businesses unless we can get extra support before the end of the year’ – which she estimated to be 30,000 ‘predominantly small businesses’. 

The hospitality leader said that 80 per cent of businesses are closed in the UK and unable to trade, while those open are earning just ’10 to 20 per cent of their normal revenue levels’ and face ‘insolvency, administration and failure over the next two to three months’.

‘We now have a perfect storm where business rates relief ends on March 31, the rent protections that have saved many businesses from having to pay rent liabilities over this period ends art the same time, as does the reduced rate of VAT,’ she said.

‘So we go into our Easter trading period on April 1 with significant increase in business rates, in the VAT that we have to charge. 

‘Furlough is now extended, but this is why we are now facing the prospect of business failure, and currently we have eight out of 10 of our hospitality businesses closed in the UK and unable to trade.

‘Those who are open are earning just 10 to 20 per cent of their normal revenue levels, that’s why so many businesses are facing insolvency, administration and failure over the next two to three months, and it’s why many of them won’t get to survive long enough to enjoy that extended furlough period.

‘There’s no point at all in protecting jobs at all if we lost the businesses underneath them which are so viable to the economy’. 

The Restaurant Group, which owns Frankie & Benny’s and Wagama, said it expects the first quarter of 2021 to be ‘extremely challenging’ amid current tiered restrictions, adding the latest restrictions mean it will have 145 sites where customers can dine in across the UK, 142 sites which will provide delivery and takeaway services only, with another 103 restaurants closed. 

The restaurant owner behind Franco Manca and The Real Greek today revealed the devastating toll of coronavirus restrictions, but bosses said they remain hopeful for the future and have started looking at new sites where rents are far cheaper due to the economic collapse facing the industry.

Chairman David Page said: ‘The ongoing damage to the property and restaurant sectors will allow us to prospect for new sites at much reduced rents and with lower capital costs per site. The two restaurants we have recently opened cost us less than half of the typical outlay of a year ago.

‘We are close to agreeing terms on further sites due to open in calendar year 2021 in London and around the UK for both of our businesses, and look forward to welcoming new customers through our doors when we are able to do so.’

The company now has 72 restaurants, including 49 Franco Mancas and 19 Real Greek sites. Seven locations in central London remain closed but bosses hope to reopen once more people start heading into the city and Tier 3 restrictions end.

After the second national lockdown in England, restaurants were forced to close again, although takeaways and deliveries remained available.

Bosses added: ‘Most of our restaurants were then permitted to reopen on 2 December 2020 to dine-in customers, with certain restrictions.

‘However, as at the date of this report and from 16 December 2020, the majority of our estate is once again closed to dine-in customers as London entered Tier 3 restrictions, while Surrey and Berkshire will enter Tier 3 restrictions from 19 December 2020. The situation is fluid and changes frequently and with little notice.’  

The Campaign for Pubs said the move of much of southern England into Tier 3 is a ‘further hammer blow to pubs and other hospitality businesses that are on their knees’.

Chairman of the campaign Paul Crossman warned that stress levels within the sector have already reached ‘intolerable levels with many families fearing for their livelihoods and their futures as their ability to trade this Christmas has been wiped out’. 

Female revellers head into York city centre to enjoy drinks in the Tier 2 town ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

Female revellers head into York city centre to enjoy drinks in the Tier 2 town ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A man and woman head into York city centre for a drink ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A man and woman head into York city centre for a drink ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty 

A group of young women dance in the rain in York city centre amid a coronavirus clampdown

A group of young women dance in the rain in York city centre amid a coronavirus clampdown

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

What will Santa deliver-oo? Xmas shoppers can gift friends a Deliveroo e-card amid tier curbs on outdoor dining

Deliveroo today launched its first ever gift card to meet the demand for Secret Santa and stocking fillers tis Christmas.

Demand for takeaway options has surged dramatically during the pandemic, with most of the country now in tiers which prevent guests from dining in restaurants with friends and family. 

Today, Deliveroo’s gift card can be bought online or via the app, and can be gifted instantly to the recipient in denominations of £10.

The delivery service calls the card ‘an ideal present for food and drink lovers’ and has a number of  designs from Christmas, Congratulations and Happy Birthday through to a simple thank you or A Gift from Me to You message. 

Deliveroo spokewoman Arabella Jenkins said: ‘For many people the food they consume at Christmas is one of the main things they look forward to – and this year there are so many festive favourites from Pret’s legendary Christmas sandwich to Burger King’s Festive BBQ King and Pizza Hut’s Christmas Pizza. 

‘In a time where many people are unable to see their families and in what has been a catastrophic year for businesses in the hospitality industry, we want to encourage people to give the gift of food and drink. 

‘It’s a special treat for those receiving the gift, but also helps to continue to support our incredible restaurant partners across the festive period and beyond, because remember, a gift card isn’t just for Christmas! It’s the tastiest gift at any time of year.’ 

He added: ‘There is much evidence that pubs and hospitality should be treated as part of the solution to the pandemic, but instead the Government continues to target community pubs in particular with uniquely tough measures, and to portray them as a risk and a problem. 

‘This deliberate policy choice carries with it a responsibility to properly compensate those businesses that have been closed or restricted.

‘Current levels of support fall well short of what is needed to cover basic costs for most pubs, meaning that it is unlikely that those businesses will survive much longer. 

‘The potential fallout will include mass unemployment, widespread hardship, loss of community facilities and a huge loss of revenue for the Exchequer. 

‘It is a nonsensical false economy for the Government to scrimp on support at this stage as we approach the time when these viable and hugely valuable businesses should be able move back towards making a full contribution to our culture and economy’. 

It comes as the Chancellor extended the costly furlough scheme, promising that the huge bailout will now continue until the end of April to give businesses ‘certainty’, while firms will be able to access emergency loans until the end of March. 

He also confirmed that the Budget will take place on March 3 as he sets out out the ‘next phase’ of the Government’s Covid-19 recovery plan.

The move on furlough – likely to add another £5billion to the Government’s debt mountain – is an ominous sign that restrictions could be kept in place for longer than had been hoped, with Boris Johnson previously suggesting that life could be approaching normal by next Spring. 

The announcement came amid mounting fury after Matt Hancock announced the results of the Government’s first formal review of its tier system of restrictions.

The Health Secretary plunged another swathe of Tory home counties heartlands into the toughest tier of curbs and denied a downgrade to Manchester.

Meanwhile, Downing Street yesterday refused to rule out a third blanket lockdown and Mr Sunak’s furlough announcement is likely to fuel fears that England could be heading for another national shutdown. 

The Chancellor had already pushed back the close of furlough from October, which was expected to add another £30billion to the Government’s costs.

His decision to extend furlough again from the end of March to the end of April immediately prompted calls for the Chancellor to provide more support for the self-employed.  

The Chancellor said: ‘We know the premium businesses place on certainty, so it is right that we enable them to plan ahead regardless of the path the virus takes, which is why we’re providing certainty and clarity by extending this support, as well as implementing our Plan for Jobs.’ 

Under the furlough scheme the Government will continue to pay 80 per cent of the salary of employees for hours not worked until the end of April.

Employers will only be required to pay wages, National Insurance Contributions (NICS) and pensions for hours worked; and NICS and pensions for hours not worked. 

The Health Secretary was branded ‘ridiculous’ as he delivered the grim news for England amid growing fears over a surge in cases.

Announcing the review of the tiers in the House of Commons, he said large parts of the South East will go into Tier 3, including Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough, the whole of Hertfordshire, Surrey with the exception of Waverley, Hastings and Rother on the Kent border of East Sussex, and Portsmouth, Gosport and Havant in Hampshire.  

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

Police detain a reveller in York as the city remains in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Police detain a reveller in York as the city remains in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Police detain a reveller in York as the city remains in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

Police detain a reveller in York as the city remains in Tier 2 amid a coronavirus clampdown

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

A group of female students laugh and pose for photographs as they head into York city centre for a pre-Christmas drink

Female revellers head into York city centre to enjoy drinks in the Tier 2 town ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

Female revellers head into York city centre to enjoy drinks in the Tier 2 town ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A man and woman head into York city centre for a drink ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

A man and woman head into York city centre for a drink ahead of the five-day Christmas amnesty

Government borrowing could be close to £400billion this year and is set to continue at eye-watering levels into the mid-2020s, as this OBR chart shows

Government borrowing could be close to £400billion this year and is set to continue at eye-watering levels into the mid-2020s, as this OBR chart shows

He also dashed hopes that restrictions could be eased on Manchester, the Tees Valley and parts of the Midlands, in what local leaders branded a ‘kick in the teeth’.  

Mr Hancock did announce that Bristol and North Somerset will be moved down to Tier 2 in a rare piece of good news. Herefordshire is also being shifted to Tier 1 from midnight on Saturday morning. 

The new measures mean that approximately 38million people, or 68 per cent of the population in England, will now be subject to the top bracket – including the Queen at Windsor Castle. 

It comes as Northern Ireland will be plunged into a six-week lockdown on Boxing Day as ministers warned ‘draconian’ action was required to prevent the health service being overrun amid rising coronavirus cases.

The Stormont Executive agreed to close non-essential retail and close-contact services such as hair salons, while pubs, cafes and restaurants will be restricted to takeaway services.

The first week of the shutdown, which will run until January 2, will see even tighter curbs, with essential shops forced to close each day by 8pm.

All sporting events will be banned, even at a professional level, with people being urged only to leave their home for essential reasons.

The five-day Christmas amnesty which will see rules relaxed between December 23-27 will not be affected, while travel to and from Northern Ireland will also be permitted on December 22 and 28.

People will also not be allowed to meet others in private gardens, while restrictions on indoor visits to people’s homes will remain in place.

Health and education officials have also suggested limiting the reopening of schools in January, with a package of measures due to be drawn up. Ministers will review the measures after four weeks.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she recognised the lockdown would be ‘disappointing’ for many people, but claimed that a ‘longer and deeper intervention’ was necessary.

‘The health service would be completely crushed in January if we didn’t intervene now, so while this is draconian, it’s about saving lives,’ she argued.

‘We’ve never been in such a bad position as we are now, and will be in January if this didn’t happen now.’ On Thursday, Northern Ireland recorded 656 new coronavirus cases and 12 Covid-related deaths.           

Tears and cheers from Tier-change winners and losers as ‘completely drained’ business owners put into Three say they are ‘devastated’ but Bristolians celebrate heading down to Two 

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 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. 

But people will still be able to visit LaplandUK in Ascot as ‘Santa’s grottos are able to open in all tiers’. Meanwhile people in Bristol were chuffed they were being moved from Tier 3 to Tier 2.

‘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, 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.

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

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

‘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.’

MPs and councillors blasted the Health Secretary’s ‘bizarre’ and ‘ridiculous’ clampdown on most areas, 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 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.’  

Pub landlady Lili Collier at the Broad Street Tavern in Wokingham said that hospitality venues across England are 'being punished for being open'

Pub landlady Lili Collier at the Broad Street Tavern in Wokingham said that hospitality venues across England are ‘being punished for being open’

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

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

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

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

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***'

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***’

Large parts of southern 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

Large parts of southern 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

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. ‘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.’   

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

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

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. 

‘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.’

‘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.’

Polly Little, a manager at the Red Lion in Luton town centre, said this evening: ‘A lot of people aren’t happy as you’d expect. We are going to lose a lot of Christmas trade.

‘We were due to do 43 covers here on Christmas Day for people who wanted come out and enjoy their Christmas Dinner here. Now we have got to cancel the day and get all the refunds back to them.

‘It’s so disappointing because we are doing all the right things like spacing people apart and making sure people wear face masks and yet you go into the Mall and the shops and it’s like a free for all.

‘I feel so sorry for our regulars too. They can’t just come in for a pint anymore. They’ve had to order a meal. But now they can’t come in at all and that means the social side has been taken from them.’

Cherrie Bennett landlady at The Castle pub the town centre said: ‘The week running up to Christmas would have been a busy week for us which is lost now. But we have missed out since November.

‘It’s rubbish really they way the hospitality sector had been closed-what about the shops.’ She said staff at the pub now face an uncertain future.

‘This is a night time pub so the curfew has hit us anyway, but I feel sorry for the young people that come here in the evenings. These are the university students and we provide a way for them to socialise instead of being stuck in rooms.’

She said working with MIND her pub is helping students with mental health issues by listening to them and giving them the chance to talk and socialise.

‘Youngsters need the release the pubs provide of having somewhere to socialise, to talk,’ she said.

Bilal Ahmad is the manager and a director of the popular The Italian Gelato and Dessert Co, an ice cream parlour in the centre of town.

After tomorrow he will be closing his business to the public. ‘We are going to lose a lot of money. People like to go shopping as a family and then come here afterwards and enjoy the ice cream.

‘Now that’s all been stopped and in the run up to Christmas. Christmas is a busy time here, but now it’s not going to be. We can do a delivery service but it’s not ideal because ice cream melts and packaging ends up soggy. We can do online orders but we get charged 30 per cent by the online companies.

‘It’s so disappointing because we have followed the social distancing rules.’

Collette Bird, 23, who works for McDonalds and her friend, care worker Shannon Smith, 23, said the closure of the hospitality sector meaning pubs and clubs will close, will have an affect on the town.

Collette said: ‘You just wish things could go back to normal, but I don’t think they ever will. I think what is happening is all about controlling the people, making them wear face masks, stand in queues, stand in lines. It will never go back to normal.

Muhammad Noor who runs Juliet’s Hair and Cosmetics in the town centre said he will have to close his business on Friday evening and he will be laying staff off as a result.

Bilal Ahmad is the manager and a director of the popular The Italian Gelato and Dessert Co, an ice cream parlour in the centre of town

Bilal Ahmad is the manager and a director of the popular The Italian Gelato and Dessert Co, an ice cream parlour in the centre of town

Cherrie Bennett landlady at The Castle pub the town centre said: 'The week running up to Christmas would have been a busy week for us which is lost now. But we have missed out since November

Cherrie Bennett landlady at The Castle pub the town centre said: ‘The week running up to Christmas would have been a busy week for us which is lost now. But we have missed out since November

Bethan Fraser said: 'It's not the closing down of the hospitality business that affect ps me and my family because we don't go out to the pubs. It's not being able to see friends and families that is the hard part. This time of year it's especially hard and people's mental health can suffer'

Bethan Fraser said: ‘It’s not the closing down of the hospitality business that affect ps me and my family because we don’t go out to the pubs. It’s not being able to see friends and families that is the hard part. This time of year it’s especially hard and people’s mental health can suffer’

Collette Bird, 23, who works for McDonalds and her friend, care worker Shannon Smith, 23, said the closure of the hospitality sector meaning pubs and clubs will close, will have an affect on the town

Collette Bird, 23, who works for McDonalds and her friend, care worker Shannon Smith, 23, said the closure of the hospitality sector meaning pubs and clubs will close, will have an affect on the town

He said he had followed all the advice about social distancing and keeping staff and customers safe, given to him by the council who have visited his shop.

‘I will have to close and yet stores like Wilkos around the corner can stay open.’

Bethan Fraser said: ‘It’s not the closing down of the hospitality business that affect ps me and my family because we don’t go out to the pubs. It’s not being able to see friends and families that is the hard part. This time of year it’s especially hard and people’s mental health can suffer.’

Teo Jorgji, manager of the Miller & Carter restaurant in Reading, claimed being forced to close with less than 48 hours notice would have catastrophic financial implications.

The 46-year-old said: ‘We would have liked a bit more notice because it is not just being closed down, it’s the amount of stock that we are putting in the bin. I have a delivery of £8,000 tomorrow that will all have to go in the bin. The timing is very disappointing.

‘The last time we closed was just before Mother’s Day and the loss we have had since then – and only involving stock – equates to more than £15,000. Just think about all the gallons of beer we had to put through the drains.

‘As a steak house, it is a very expensive product that we sell. We are going to donate as much as we can to food banks but as a business it’s not ideal. This is our busiest period of the year and we are having to shut.’

The manager claimed that the hospitality industry was one of the most regulated but it was the staff that would take the greatest hit this festive period.

‘The Government says that our team will be going to get 80 per cent of their wages but if you take their expected tips out, they are on minimum wage and they are actuslly down 40 per cent from last year. It is very stressful and a couple of team members have expressed anxiety about having to pay their bills.

‘At the moment we are running at half capacity. We have track and trace – which you don’t have at the supermarket – we sanitise and have everything in place. The sanitiser we use is so strong that the polish is coming off the tables.

‘We have the customers’ telephone numbers; what time they were seated; where they were sitting; what they ate; what time they ate; which team members served them and what others tables were around them.

‘We have contactless, we even have Covid questionnaires for our team and you just feel like we do so many things already to comply – and then they can close you down with no notice.’

Opposing this was 19-year-old waiter at Honest Burger, Rob Kipping who was not fussed by the announcement.

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 

The student said: ‘I love this job, but Tier 3 is not for long so hopefully we can go back – it means we get time off and free money. I was on furlough for both lockdowns.

‘I am a student so because I don’t live here permanently, it means I don’t have to travel to work and it’s less hassle. I’d happily work but happily not, either way I get paid.’

However, the manager of an independent cafe – which has been running for the last 35 years – explained that Tier 3 could spell the end for the business.

Munchies manager Shyam Lama said: ‘We can’t do takeaways and deliveries during Tier 3, we are sit-in based. Frankly we have to shut down the place, we cannot do anything.

‘There are coffee shops everywhere so there would be no point in us opening for takeaway coffee. We are a breakfast place and people are not going to enjoy a takeaway breakfast. They want to come in, sit down and enjoy it that way.

‘We just had a large delivery for the Christmas period, we were expecting to be very busy and we had been. But now all the milk and fresh food will have to be binned because we will be closed for at least two weeks.

‘We are independent and we are trying to survive. We came through the first lockdown but we will not be able to pay the rent without business and the Government is not helping us. We are self-made, we are not a chain and it is going to be extremely difficult,’ the 33-year-old added.

But Bristolians tonight welcomed news they were at last escaping the toughest Covid-restrictions and being moved into Tier 2.

John and Imelda Ray were wrapped up warm this evening as they headed into the city centre.

Warehouse worker John, 56, said: ‘I am pleased we are moving into Tier 2 as local businesses have been hit hard and for young people especially it’s been socially restrictive.

‘But for me personally, I haven’t had much of an issue with being in Tier 3, I’ve accepted that we’ve had to curb our behaviour for a relatively short amount of time to combat a nasty virus.

‘To be honest I wouldn’t say that my life will change too much come Saturday. We don’t go out much and do all our shopping on the internet.

Imelda, 53, added: ‘We would’ve loved to have a bit more freedom but we’ve had to abide by the laws for the greater good.

‘Will we be in rush to go to a restaurant or to the shops next week? No, I don’t think we will. Such is the nature of Christmas shopping now, it’s all done online anyway.’

Students Annabel Hendy and Ella Buckingham, both 19, were heading back home after shopping in Bristol. Annabel said: 'Bristol has a lot of great bars and restaurants and hopefully it'll be a great festive atmosphere in town'

Students Annabel Hendy and Ella Buckingham, both 19, were heading back home after shopping in Bristol. Annabel said: ‘Bristol has a lot of great bars and restaurants and hopefully it’ll be a great festive atmosphere in town’

Friends Ben Eastwood, 21 and James Holland, 22, were back in Bristol for Christmas. Ben is a maths student at the University of Manchester while James is also studying maths but at the University of London

Friends Ben Eastwood, 21 and James Holland, 22, were back in Bristol for Christmas. Ben is a maths student at the University of Manchester while James is also studying maths but at the University of London

John and Imelda Ray were wrapped up warm this evening as they headed into the city centre

Mother-of-three Pamela Bennett, 39, an HR assistant from the Brislington area of the city said: 'I think it's positive news but I fear that we are all going to abandon social distancing as a result of the bars and restaurants re-opening and we'll be plunged back into another lockdown in the New Year'

John and Imelda Ray (left) were wrapped up warm this evening as they headed into the city centre. Mother-of-three Pamela Bennett (right), 39, an HR assistant from the Brislington area of the city said: ‘I think it’s positive news but I fear that we are all going to abandon social distancing as a result of the bars and restaurants re-opening and we’ll be plunged back into another lockdown in the New Year’

Mother-of-three Pamela Bennett, 39, an HR assistant from the Brislington area of the city said: ‘I think it’s positive news but I fear that we are all going to abandon social distancing as a result of the bars and restaurants re-opening and we’ll be plunged back into another lockdown in the New Year.

‘Having said that, it will be nice to be able to eat somewhere again in town. I’ve come into the Cabot Circus shopping centre this evening with my youngest daughter and there is not many places to go, even for takeaway. We ended up sitting on a bench eating sushi.

‘My brother is Stephen Entwistle, founder of the Turtle Bay restaurant chain. I’m happy for him that the restaurant in Bristol will be back open again when so many are still closed in other parts of the country.’

Friends Ben Eastwood, 21 and James Holland, 22, were back in Bristol for Christmas.

Ben is a maths student at the University of Manchester while James is also studying maths but at the University of London.

Ben, who lives in Redland, Bristol said: ‘I’ve been locked down for weeks up in a city which has the toughest restrictions so this news today is very welcome.

‘I’m looking forward to going back into a pub and ordering a pint – albeit with a Scotch egg!

‘It’s been quite tough not being able to go out for so long. It’ll be good to catch-up with friends again.’

James, who lives in Sneyd Park in Bristol, added: ‘The timing is good, changing to Tier 2 just in time for the festive party season.

‘I’ve been in London which has gone into Tier 3 this week and so now restrictions in Bristol are easing slightly, I’m going to enjoy strolling into a pub for Christmas. It’s something that I didn’t think I was going to be able to do this year.’

Students Annabel Hendy and Ella Buckingham, both 19, were heading back home after shopping in Bristol.

Annabel said: ‘Bristol has a lot of great bars and restaurants and hopefully it’ll be a great festive atmosphere in town.

‘The only problem is – we live in South Gloucestershire, which is still going to be in Tier 3. We just miss out.’

Ella joked: ‘It’s a bit annoying really, we have a Bristol postcode and so were put in Tier 3 because infections in the city were so high. Now they are coming out but we are still in!’

Despite non-essential shops being allowed to open under Tier 3 guidelines, a supervisor at Thornton’s chocolates explained that the strict guidance could impact on footfall on the high street, majorly affecting their business.

AJ Ansell said: ‘We only heard about Tier 3 today (Thurs) and it looks like we are staying open but my first worry was footfall. I think people might be worried to come in and won’t want to risk coming out into town.

‘Hopefully we can power through but I think a lot of the high street will suffer with a lack of footfall, it’s just something we are going to have to take as it comes. We only opened at the start of December,’ the 27-year-old added.

Similarly, team leader of the shoe brand Clark’s expressed her concern that footfall would drastically fall but that the company was prepared.

Cath Hegarty said: ‘Our customer base is mostly older and children for the fitting service we provide, we have found people are still searching for normality. However, we do expect sales to fall again during the Tier 3 restrictions.’

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

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

‘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.

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

‘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.’

Covid-19 deaths have also risen 14 per cent week-on-week, with 612 new victims reported 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

Covid-19 deaths have also risen 14 per cent week-on-week, with 612 new victims reported 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)’. 

Can I still visit my parents in Tier 3? Will the pub be open on Christmas Eve? As four million MORE people are plunged into toughest tier – how will new rules change YOUR festive plans?

Large areas of southern England will be put in tier three this Saturday amid rising coronavirus levels, meaning millions more people will have to adapt to new rules.

Matt Hancock set out the findings today of the first full review of England’s tier allocations, with very little good news for areas already under tough restrictions.

Instead the Health Secretary was forced to place more areas, mostly in the South East, under the toughest measures – closing pubs, restaurants and cinemas.

The extra four million people mean a total of 38million will be living in tier three from Saturday, which represents 68 per cent of the population of England. 

Areas moving into tier three include Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Peterborough and parts of Surrey and Hampshire including Portsmouth.  

The rules mean people cannot meet in private gardens, but can see people from other households in public open spaces such as parks – following the ‘rule of six’.

Regulations also state the majority of entertainment and tourist venues must close, along with accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs and guest houses.

Here are what the rules mean for people living – or about to live in – tier three: 

Will the tier rules in England be lifted for the five days of Christmas bubbles?

No, the restrictions will still apply over the Christmas period. 

Will my pub be open on Christmas Eve in tier three?

No. Pubs, bars and restaurants will still have to be closed in tier three areas. They can open in tier two and one areas, with restrictions. 

Can Christmas bubbles still take place?

Yes. Whatever tier your area is in, regulations currently allow for three households to form an exclusive ‘Christmas bubble’ for the five days between December 23 and 27 across the UK.

However, yesterday the Welsh government said it will do things differently and legislate to cap bubbles at two households.

Politicians in England and Scotland have said while the rules will remain the same, they have changed their advice to recommend limiting social contacts as much as possible.

The tiers system only applies in England. 

Can I stay in a hotel?

No. Accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close, even during the Christmas bubble period. 

There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is ‘reasonably necessary for work or education and training’.

Where can Christmas bubbles take place?

You can only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship or public outdoor spaces 

What can I do in England within any tier?

Today’s Tier changes  

MOVING TO TIER 3 ON SATURDAY 

Bedfordshire 

Buckinghamshire

Berkshire

Peterborough

Hertfordshire 

Surrey, apart from Waverley 

Hastings and Rother

Portsmouth, Gosport, Havant

MOVING FROM TIER 3 TO TIER 2 

Bristol, North Somerset

The Prime Minister has told people to ‘have a merry little Christmas – and I’m afraid this year I really do mean little’.

While Mr Johnson said ‘we don’t want to criminalise people’s long-made plans’, he warned people should be ‘extremely cautious’ when mixing next week and should minimise contacts in the days leading up to Christmas.

Updated guidance issued yesterday asks people to think carefully about whether they need to see elderly friends or family, or people who are ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’. But the advice did not go as far as other nations such as Wales.

Is my area currently in tier three?

The areas currently in tier three are Derbyshire, north-east England, most of Essex, Greater Manchester, the rest of Hertfordshire, the Humber, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, London, Nottinghamshire, South Gloucestershire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

Bristol and North Somerset are also currently in tier three, but will be moving down to tier two from 0.01am this Saturday.

Will my area be joining tier three? 

A total of 38 million people will be living in Tier Three from 0.01am this Saturday. Around five million people will be added to it after today’s announcement, in:

  • Bedfordshire (Bedford, Central Bedfordshire and Luton)
  • Berkshire (Bracknell Forest, Reading, Slough, West Berkshire, Windsor & Maidenhead, Wokingham)
  • Buckinghamshire (including Milton Keynes)
  • Peterborough in Cambridgeshire
  • Hastings and Rother in East Sussex
  • Gosport, Havant and Portsmouth in Hampshire
  • Dacorum, East Hertfordshire, North Hertfordshire, St Albans, Stevenage and Welwyn Hatfield in Hertfordshire
  • Elmbridge, Epsom and Ewell, Guildford, Mole Valley, Reigate & Banstead, Runnymede, Spelthorne, Surrey Heath, Tandridge and Woking in Surrey

Why is my area in tier three even though case rates are low?

There have been complaints that areas with lower rates of infection have been unfairly put in high tiers.

Tiers have generally been put in place across regional or county areas with some exceptions for towns or cities which have seen a particular spike, such as Peterborough in Cambridgeshire.

The reason is that the Government believes this will make measures more effective because it means people are less likely to travel across tier boundaries.

Officials fear people in Tier 3 areas might be tempted to make the trip to a neighbouring Tier 2 town where there are less restrictions.

What are the Tier 3 rules? 

  • Indoor entertainment venues such as cinemas, theatres and bowling alleys must close;
  • Pubs, restaurants and cafes must close except for takeaway;
  • Shops and hairdressers and salons will be allowed to remain open; 
  • Groups of six will be allowed to meet outdoors only; 
  • Crowds at live events will be banned;
  • People should avoid travelling out of, or into, Tier 3 areas unless it is unavoidable;
  • People from separate households cannot meet indoors and the rule of six applies outside. 

 

What are the main restrictions in tier three? 

  • No household mixing indoors or outdoors, except in parks and public gardens
  • All hospitality is closed, except for takeaways and deliveries
  • All accommodation and entertainment venues are closed

What does tier three mean?

This is a ‘very high’ alert level – the highest of the three-tier system – for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

Can I see my friends or family indoors?

No, unless they are in the same household. The rules for this are the same in tier two.

Can I see my friends and family outdoors?

Yes, but not in private gardens. You can only socialise in groups of up to six people in other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility.

Does the ‘rule of six’ apply in tier three?

Yes. It applies to when you meet people from other households in outdoor public spaces. You cannot mix with other households indoors or in private gardens. 

Can I go the pub or restaurant?

No. These all have to shut under law, except for takeaway.

Can I get a takeaway?

Yes. Hospitality settings, such as pubs, cafes and restaurants are allowed to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

How does government decide what Tiers areas are put into? 

Boris Johnson promised to base Tier allocation on ‘common sense’, and the government’s ‘Winter Plan’ set out a series of metrics to be used. They are:

  • 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); and
  • Pressure on the NHS, including current and projected occupancy.

However, there are no specific numerical trigger points, and the document added that there will be ‘some flexibility to weight these indicators against each other as the context demands’. 

‘For example, hospital capacity in a given area will need to be considered in the light of the capacity in neighbouring areas and the feasibility of moving patients,’ the document said. 

‘Case detection rates will need to be weighted against whether the spread of the virus appears to be localised to particular communities.’ 

What venues have to stay shut?

The majority of entertainment and tourist venues must close, including:

  • indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play
  • casinos
  • bingo halls
  • bowling alleys
  • skating rinks
  • amusement arcades and adult gaming centres
  • laser quests and escape rooms
  • cinemas, theatres and concert halls
  • snooker halls

Can indoor attractions at outdoor venues stay open?

No. Indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close, although indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open.

This includes indoor attractions within:

  • zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves
  • aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions
  • model villages
  • museums, galleries and sculpture parks
  • botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses
  • theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs
  • visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes
  • landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

Can leisure and sports facilities stay open?

Yes, with restrictions. Group exercise classes including fitness and dance should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should also close.

Can I attend a live sports event?

No. There should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. However, elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators.

Can large outdoor events take place?

No. The likes of performances and shows should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events.

Can I still go to church?

Yes. Places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies

Can a wedding take place?

Yes. weddings can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend the ceremonies, and receptions are not allowed.

Can I go to a funeral?

Yes. Thirty people can attend funeral ceremonies, and 15 people can attend linked commemorative events

Can organised outdoor sport take place?

Yes. Organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however ‘higher-risk contact activity should not take place’.

Can indoor sport take place?

No. Organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors.

There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s.

Can I still travel to places?

Yes. You can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should ‘aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible’.

Can I go on holiday to other parts of Britain?

No. You should ‘avoid travelling to other parts of the UK’, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. However, you can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey.

Can I go abroad?

Yes, with restrictions. For international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list. 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk